A Local Action Plan (PAL) to Combat Desertification in Apulia Region: Functional Integration of Existing Territorial Programs
AbstractIn 2006-2007, the Italian National Committee to Combat Drought and Desertification promoted the execution of local action plans in some of the Italian regions. The aims of these plans were: to carry out specific actions at a local scale; to promote the integration of local policies; to involve the local communities in proposing strategies to be adopted; to harmonize the procedures among institutions in charge of adopting the policies. In this framework, ENEA carried out an evaluation of existing policies and programs to be considered in implementing a local action plan to combat desertification in the Apulia region. The application of the environmental and socio-economic measures of the regional Rural Development Plan 2007-2013 (PSR) seemed to be an effective tool to positively influence human activities such as agriculture, breeding, and forestry, with the purpose of preserving or improving soil characteristics and overall environmental conditions, and eventually resulting in a reduction of desertification processes. Therefore, we proposed that these measures should be taken into account and effectively integrated into the Local Action Plan of the Apulia region. Additionally, we considered the four priority sectors identified by the National Action Plan (PAN) to combat drought and desertification as the guiding principles to carry out our analysis. These sectors were: Soil Protection, Sustainable Water Management, Reduction of the Impact of Productive Activities, and Territorial Equilibrium. We also included Climate Change, in consideration of the alarming and urgent role it has assumed. The desertification-prone province of Foggia was selected as a pilot area in where to evaluate the influences that PSR measures can directly or indirectly have on desertification-related factors, and identify and implement specific actions. The Provincial Coordination Territorial Plan (PTCP) of Foggia provided the basic land units for this analysis, the “land systems”. These are environmentally homogeneous areas where actions should be tuned according with local characteristics. Those PSR measures that best related to actions for combating desertification were assessed by means of an evaluation matrix and analyzed for each land system context taking into account the effectiveness that they can have in relation to the afore-mentioned priority sectors of action. Such assessment was based on knowledge of the territorial phenomena, also thanks to the involvement of several local experts. The results identified measures that, if promoted and applied in each land system, would best prevent or reduce desertification in agreement with national guidelines.
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