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Even though the land changes that occurred between 2000 and 2006 only affected about 1 % of the country, a comparison of Corine Land Cover (CLC) layers shows a general increase of artificial surfaces to the detriment of agricultural and forest lands. Figure 1 shows the status of land cover in Italy using the second level of the CLC 2006 analysis.

 

Comparing the data shown in Figure 2 with those for 1990-2000 (Figures 3 and 4), the change in the natural environment trend becomes evident. Although there was a general increase of forest and semi/natural areas for 1990-2000, in 2000-2006 these decreased by about 105 km2.

Land take due to the expansion of artificial areas and the related infrastructures, which can lead to the total loss of large areas of land often characterised by soils with a high agricultural value, is the biggest driver of land cover change. Land degradation occurs especially on agricultural and semi-natural areas at the urban fringe and on rural lands close to cities and subjected to peri-urbanisation processes.

The result is an increase of soil sealing, totally preventing soil from performing its vital functions, especially near urban areas and along main road axes. In particular, the problem is taking on worrying proportions in large plain areas, where urbanisation is coupled with intensive farming, and in coastal areas where the coastal economy is linked to  tourist pressure (Figure 5).

Land take and soil sealing assessments have been executed on the basis of a national land monitoring network managed by ISPRA. This network is aimed at estimating diachronically the soil – thematic cartography, aerial photographs, remote sensing, archive materials and field visits. The analysis was completed over a long-term period, 1956-2006, showing the rapid growth of the sealed surface areas, with higher rates found in northern Italy (Table 1).

 

Table 1 Percentage of soil sealing in Italy, 1956-2006)

 

1956

1994

2000

2006

North-West

3.2

6.4

6.7

7.3

North-East

2.6

5.6

6.1

6.7

Centre

2.2

5.2

5.3

6.3

South

2.0

4.8

4.9

6.0

Islands

1.9

4.4

4.5

5.4

Italy

2.4

5.3

5.5

6.3

 

Source: ISPRA

 

By comparing the variation of soil consumption with resident population over fifty years, it is possible to distinguish a clear decoupling between soil sealing and population growth (Figure 6).

 

As a consequence of all these pressures, desertification is also becoming an evident problem especially in Sardinia, Sicily, Apulia, Basilicata and Calabria.

For a detailed treatment of topics addressed above, see key topics at

http://annuario.apat.it/capitoli/Ver_6/en/Soil%20and%20land.pdf )

 

 

Land cover flows Analysis

 

Table 2 shows the changes grouped according to so-called flows of land cover that are classified according to major land use processes:

 

  • lcf1 Urban land management;
  • lcf2 Urban residential sprawl;
  • lcf3 Sprawl of economic sites and infrastructures;
  • lcf4 Agriculture internal conversions;
  • lcf5 Conversion from forested and natural land to agriculture;
  • lcf6 Withdrawal of farming;
  • lcf7 Forests creation and management;
  • lcf8 Water bodies creation and management.

 

Table 2 Land cover flows, 1990-2006

 

 

 

Changes

average annual changes

 

 

 

 

1990-2000

2000-2006

1990-2000

2000-2006

 

 

 

   km2

   km2

Formation of Artificial surfaces

868,5

573,4

86,9

95,6

LCF1 Urban land management: Internal transformation of urban areas

29,3

86,8

2,9

14,5

 

lcf11

Urban development/ infilling

0,8

2,4

0,1

0,4

 

lcf12

Recycling of developed urban land

27,9

81,4

2,8

13,6

 

lcf13

Development of green urban areas

0,6

3,0

0,1

0,5

LCF2 Urban residential sprawl

498,8

133,3

49,9

22,2

 

lcf21

Urban dense residential sprawl

4,4

0,8

0,4

0,1

 

lcf22

Urban diffuse residential sprawl

494,4

132,5

49,4

22,1

LCF3 Sprawl of economic sites and infrastructures

340,4

353,3

34,0

58,9

 

lcf31

Sprawl of industrial and commercial sites

233,9

198,1

23,4

33,0

 

lcf32

Sprawl of transport networks

7,7

17,2

0,8

2,9

 

lcf33

Sprawl of harbours

1,7

1,0

0,2

0,2

 

lcf34

Sprawl of airports

1,3

3,8

0,1

0,6

 

lcf35

Sprawl of mines and quarrying areas

51,1

48,1

5,1

8,0

 

lcf36

Sprawl of dumpsites

1,9

2,0

0,2

0,3

 

lcf37

Construction

24,8

66,2

2,5

11,0

 

lcf38

Sprawl of sport and leisure facilities

18,1

16,8

1,8

2,8

Formation of Agricultural areas

538,6

234,0

53,9

39,0

LCF4 Agriculture internal conversions

508,9

200,3

50,9

33,4

 

lcf41

Extension of set aside fallow land and pasture

235,1

65,7

23,5

10,9

 

lcf42

Internal conversions between annual crops

82,7

39,9

8,3

6,6

 

lcf43

Internal conversions between permanent crops

0,0

0,0

0,0

0,0

 

lcf44

Conversion from permanent crops to arable land

112,0

23,9

11,2

4,0

 

lcf45

Conversion from arable land to permanent crops

79,1

70,9

7,9

11,8

 

lcf46

Conversion from pasture to arable and permanent crops

0,0

0,0

0,0

0,0

 

lcf47

Extension of agro-forestry

0,0

0,0

0,0

0,0

LCF5 Conversion from forested & natural land to agriculture

29,6

33,7

3,0

5,6

 

lcf51

Conversion from forest to agriculture

26,5

23,4

2,7

3,9

 

lcf52

Conversion from semi-natural land to agriculture

0,4

0,3

0,0

0,0

 

lcf53

Conversion from wetlands to agriculture

2,4

3,8

0,2

0,6

 

lcf54

Conversion from developed areas to agriculture

0,4

6,2

0,0

1,0

Formation of Forested or open natural surfaces

2.423,3

1.430,3

242,3

238,4

LCF6 Withdrawal of farming

842,4

26,0

84,2

4,3

 

lcf61 Withdrawal of farming with woodland creation

269,7

15,4

27,0

2,6

 

lcf62 Withdrawal of farming without significant woodland creation

572,7

10,7

57,3

1,8

LCF7 Forests creation and management

1.580,8

1.404,2

158,1

234,0

 

lcf71 Conversion from transitional woodland to forest

888,0

246,0

88,8

41,0

 

lcf72 Forest creation, afforestation

558,9

648,4

55,9

108,1

 

lcf73 Forests internal conversions

3,5

2,5

0,4

0,4

 

lcf74 Recent felling and transition

130,4

507,3

13,0

84,6

Formation of Wetlands and Water surfaces

28,2

41,2

2,8

6,9

LCF8 Water bodies creation and management

28,2

41,2

2,8

6,9

 

lcf81 Water bodies creation

23,9

41,1

2,4

6,8

 

lcf82 Water bodies management

4,3

0,1

0,4

0,0

Source: ISPRA

Table 2 clearly illustrates one of the most evident phenomena about the decrease of farming, especially in the Apennines, that has harmed rural communities as the mountains were abandoned because traditional agriculture was no longer profitable, leading to a lack of job opportunities. In Italy, the number of farm workers was slashed from 48.43 % of the population in 1936 to just 5.7 % in 2000.

 

It is also important to reflect on the conversion between farming types  –internal conversions – mainly due to the transformation of the old methods of farming to industrialised agriculture.

The decrease in farmland, especially between 1990 and 2000, may also explain the major part of the conversion of transitional woodland to forest.

 

Also notable is the steady growth of artificial areas in the 1990-2006 period. Between 1990 and 2000, the urban residential sprawl – land uptake by residential buildings together with associated services and urban infrastructure from non-urban land – was rapid, but slowed after 2000, while the internal transformation of urban areas and the sprawl of economic sites and infrastructures increased.

 

 


No

No

Unknown (XX)

[Commonality topics] land


[COMMONALITY] What are the state and impacts?


http://rod.eionet.europa.eu/spatial/19

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