WIT Press

Sustainable Indicators In Desertification Phenomena: Application To Calabria, Italy


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WIT Press


G. Frega, P. Piro & R. Mangiardi


Italy is one of the Mediterranean countries that are menaced by desertification, particularly in the Southern regions: Sicily, Sardinia, Apulia, Basilicata and the Ionian areas of Calabria. In such a scenario it is evident that correct water resource planning is very important: reduced water resources, once considered meaningless, have now acquired notable importance. Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) [1] to desertification will be described in this paper, with particular reference to the Calabria region. Key indicators for the estimation of soil capacity to resist degradation processes will be found through the MEDALUS methodology (MEditerranean Desertification And Land USe: European Commission, 1999), which allows the assessment of desertification risks on a regional scale. Indicators will be grouped into four classes, on the basis of soil quality, climate quality, vegetation quality and management quality. Each index will be classified into three levels (high, moderate and low) according to the MEDALUS classification, and they will be entered into and employed by a Geographical Information System (GIS), which will define the different layers depending on the quality index considered. In this way, the contribution of each quality index will be defined and intervention and mitigation proposals will be developed through the description of the main sectors (soil protection, sustainable management of agricultural resources, decreased impact of production activities and territory re-equilibrium), allowing the definition of criteria used to limit the effects of the degradation and to allow correct land use. 1 Introduction In Italy, desertification does not mean that landscape will turn into a desert one, but that it will be characterized by aridity, erosion, salinization, depletion of