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Using Historical Maps within a GIS to Analyze Two Centuries of Rural Landscape Changes in Southern Italy

SAFE School of Agricultural, Forest, Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Basilicata, Viale Ateneo Lucano, 10, 85100 Potenza, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 July 2017 / Revised: 9 September 2017 / Accepted: 11 September 2017 / Published: 19 September 2017
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The current characteristics of a rural landscape may be better understood if suitable information related to its past is available. The availability of a Geographical Information System (GIS) can enable the analysis of landscape features in relation to several aspects, e.g., the evolution and mutual inter-relation among different ecosystems, the impact and sustainability of human activities, the visual characteristics of a landscape, etc. The analysis of geographical information, derived from historical maps, within a GIS could, therefore, prove to be a very powerful tool, for a better-informed decision-making and management of a rural landscape. With the aim to identify the land use changes in a rural area located in the Basilicata Region (Southern Italy), a territorial analysis was conducted through a GIS, in which data taken from historical maps—covering a period of 184 years, from 1829 to 2013—were implemented. Three-dimensional reconstruction of the rural landscape during different periods were obtained through digital terrain models (DTM). The land cover changes were also evaluated, demonstrating how they have affected the quality of the forest ecosystem in the area. The final results that were obtained comparing historical documents and current maps enabled the evaluation of the multi-temporal, morphological, and vegetation variations in this rural landscape. The analysis that was conducted has great potential for assessing and monitoring landscape diversity and typical changes of vegetation, even in different geographical locations, where appropriate interventions in landscape structures may be so planned. View Full-Text
Keywords: geographical information system; historical maps; landscape changes; rural land geographical information system; historical maps; landscape changes; rural land

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Statuto, D.; Cillis, G.; Picuno, P. Using Historical Maps within a GIS to Analyze Two Centuries of Rural Landscape Changes in Southern Italy. Land 2017, 6, 65.

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