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The Spatial and Temporal Variability of the Effects of Agricultural Practices on the Environment

Department of Economics, University of Molise, 86100 Campobasso, Italy
Environments 2020, 7(4), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7040033
Received: 5 March 2020 / Revised: 9 April 2020 / Accepted: 13 April 2020 / Published: 15 April 2020
It is widely known that agricultural practices can alter natural ecosystems, both from a qualitative and quantitative point of view. Indeed, over the years, the intensification of production through excessive or inappropriate use of pesticides and fertilisers in the agricultural sector has had a negative impact on natural resources. This negative environment impact has had both minor and major consequences for the natural resources present in the different areas of the European Union (EU). This variability depends mainly on the different agricultural training of farmers and on their ability to practise sustainable agriculture. Hence, with a specific set of agri-environmental indicators provided by the Eurostat database, this paper analyses the spatial and temporal variation of the agricultural land-use practices and the related environmental effects in EU countries. In pursuit of this aim, descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis (factor analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis) were adopted to determine the similarities/dissimilarities between the different types of agricultural production in the EU and the dominant dimensions of agricultural production and activities there in terms of their impact of natural resources in order to identify “homogeneity” among member states. The main contribution of this paper lies, above all, in the fact that the classification of these countries in four agro-ecosystems, with similar use of energy, pollution factors, and natural resources, could be useful as a tool for policymakers. Importantly, it could help them to define different incentives that could encourage farmers to adopt more sustainable agricultural production methods. View Full-Text
Keywords: agricultural activities; environment; European Union (EU) countries; Eurostat indicators; multivariate statistical analysis; sustainability agricultural activities; environment; European Union (EU) countries; Eurostat indicators; multivariate statistical analysis; sustainability
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Fanelli, R.M. The Spatial and Temporal Variability of the Effects of Agricultural Practices on the Environment. Environments 2020, 7, 33.

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