Badlands are typical erosional landforms of the Apennines (Northern Italy) that form on Plio-Pleistocene clayey bedrock and rapidly evolve. The present study aimed at identification and assessment of the areal and temporal changes of badlands within a pilot area of the Modena Province (Emilia Apennines), where no previous detailed investigation has been carried out. For this purpose, a diachronic investigation was carried out to map the drainage basin and the drainage networks of the linear erosion features in the study area during the last 40 years, and to evaluate changes in badlands drainage basins morphometry and surface, land use and pluviometry. The investigation carried out indicated a general stabilisation trend of the badlands in the study area. In fact, a reduction in the bare surface area from 6187.1 m2
in 1973 to 4214.1 m2
in 2014 (31%), due to an intensified revegetation process around the badland areas, has been recorded. This trend, in line with the results of research carried out in other sector of the Northern Apennines, is mainly due to intensive land use changes, mostly the increase in forest cover and the reduction of agricultural land, that occurred in the study area from the 1970s onwards.
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