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Demographic Transitions and Socioeconomic Development in Italy, 1862–2009: A Brief Overview
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Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 388; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020388

A Long-Term Analysis of Demographic Processes, Socioeconomic ‘Modernization’ and Forest Expansion in a European Country

1
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Viale Santa Margherita 80, I-52100 Arezzo, Italy
2
Department of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences (DAFNE), Tuscia University, Via San Camillo de Lellis, I-01100 Viterbo, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 October 2018 / Revised: 26 December 2018 / Accepted: 4 January 2019 / Published: 14 January 2019
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Abstract

This article investigates long-term forest decline and expansion vis-à-vis demographic processes in Italy, evidencing changes in the underlying socioeconomic context considering the ‘modernization theory’. An exploratory data analysis of 58 indicators assessing five basic research dimensions (territory, demography, education, trade and agriculture) and evolving rapidly over the study period (1862–2009), was run to ascertain similarity patterns among indicators and to identify time intervals characterized by homogeneous conditions in different analysis’ domains. Complementing indicators of forest expansion, changes in population structure and dynamics allow an empirical investigation of temporal coherence among demographic and forest transitions in Italy. The time window encompassing the two World Wars, approximately between 1931 and 1951, was identified as a turning point in the forest-socioeconomic system, being characterized by two groups of indicators that follow diverging (linear vs. nonlinear) time trends. A secondary turning point was identified at the beginning of the 1970s. Distinct temporal trends in the studied indicators were also identified using multivariate statistics (before the 1930s, between the 1930s and the 1950s, between the 1950s and the 1970s, from the 1970s onwards) and represent conditions of dynamic equilibrium between socio-ecological contexts, highlighting latent transitions in both population and environment conditions. Our work definitely contributes to an empirical understanding of economic, political and social forces associated with forest transition and demographic transition in advanced economies. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest expansion; population dynamics; socioeconomic structure; exploratory data analysis; Italy forest expansion; population dynamics; socioeconomic structure; exploratory data analysis; Italy
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Moretti, V.; Salvati, L.; Cecchini, M.; Zambon, I. A Long-Term Analysis of Demographic Processes, Socioeconomic ‘Modernization’ and Forest Expansion in a European Country. Sustainability 2019, 11, 388.

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