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Open AccessArticle

Towards Economic Land Evaluation at the Farm Scale Based on Soil Physical-Hydrological Features and Ecosystem Services

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CREA Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment, via di Lanciola 12/a, Cascine del Riccio, 50125 Firenze, Italy
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SO.IN.G Strutture & Ambiente s.r.l, via Aurelio Nicolodi 48, 57121 Livorno, Italy
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Confagricoltura Mantova, via Luca Francelli 4, 46100 Mantova, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(8), 1527; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081527
Received: 27 May 2019 / Revised: 17 July 2019 / Accepted: 21 July 2019 / Published: 24 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil and Water-Related Ecosystem Services)
The economic evaluation of a land parcel is mainly based on the local economy, as well as on the topography, distance to the main streets, distance to the river, and presence of irrigation. Spatial variability of soil features and functionalities are often left behind during economic land evaluation, probably due to a scarce awareness of soil function’s economic value. The paper shows an approach for economic land evaluation of irrigated croplands in the Po River plain (Northern Italy), based on spatial variability of soil functions, namely biomass production and carbon sequestration, as well as taking into account the river flood risk. The soil spatial variability was mapped using proximal sensing technology and few calibration points (one every 5 hectares). Biomass production of the main crops of the area, namely maize, soybean, and sorghum, was monitored and mapped for three years (2016, 2017, and 2018) using precision agriculture technologies. The results showed that the available water capacity (AWC) reached the highest correlation with biomass production, additionally, soil texture and cation exchange capacity were significantly correlated. Economic evaluation of the land parcels was computed considering the mean land market value of the area, the site-specific deviations due to the spatial variability of the biomass production by capitalization rate, and carbon sequestration soil functions, applying a natural capital approach by the mean annual value of the carbon market. This site-specific methodology could be applied to many other arable lands. View Full-Text
Keywords: proximal soil sensing; water retention; yield mapping; precision agriculture; economic valuations proximal soil sensing; water retention; yield mapping; precision agriculture; economic valuations
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Priori, S.; Barbetti, R.; Meini, L.; Morelli, A.; Zampolli, A.; D’Avino, L. Towards Economic Land Evaluation at the Farm Scale Based on Soil Physical-Hydrological Features and Ecosystem Services. Water 2019, 11, 1527.

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