Habitat Patch Diversity Evaluation for Sustainability: a Case Study of a Rural Area in Central Italy

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Roberto Mancinelli *
Enio Campiglia
Fabio Caporali
Vincenzo Di Felice
(*) Corresponding Author:
Roberto Mancinelli | mikimos@mac.com

Abstract

Landscape analysis is regarded as a new tool for monitoring and judging land use patterns in terms of sustainability of human activity systems at local level. A case study of evaluation for sustainability based on habitat patch diversity in an ecoregion of Central Italy is presented. In this region, ongoing land use patterns reflect both historical adaptation to local environmental constraints and positive, social-oriented management. More protective land use patterns are mostly widespread in fragile physiographic conditions like those of the mountain areas, where woodland, shrub, and grassland patches are larger and cover more than 90% of the land. This situation is regarded as a positive outcome of the traditional public ownership regime, because public lands amount to more than 70% in the mountain areas. The hilly areas, where public property drops to 28%, presents landscape metrics showing a well balanced situation between agricultural land use and protective native woods and grasslands, which provides a finegrained and harmonious Mediterranean landscape. In the low-land areas, with anthropic pressure and more favourable conditions for crop productivity, there is much more agricultural land, even if some mitigation in terms of biodiversity maintenance is offered by the presence of hedgerow ecotones. In these areas, landscape analysis is not able to supply meaningful information about cropping system design and practices which can maintain a sustainable level of soil fertility and quality of natural resources and processes, and further analysis at cropping system level should be carried out.

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