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Title: Estimating the sensitivity to desertification of Italian forests
Authors: Salvati, Riccardo
Salvati, Luca
Corona, Piermaria
Barbati, Anna
Ferrara, Agostino
Keywords: Environmental Indicators;ESAI;Desertification;Forests;Mediterranean Basin;Climate;Soil
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: The Italian Society of Silviculture and Forest Ecology
Source: Salvati, R. et al. 2014. Estimating the sensitivity to desertification of Italian forests. "iForest" (early view): e1-e8
The present study assesses the level of sensitivity to desertification of forest
types in Italy between 2000 and 2010 on a fine resolution scale using the Environmental
Sensitive Area (ESA) scheme. The proposed methodology identifies and ranks the level of sensitivity of fourteen forest types and quantifies the changes in their level of sensitivity over time as a contribution to understanding of complex landscape-forest interactions in Mediterranean ecosystems.
Only few forest types showed a relatively high sensitivity level, suggesting that
forests may positively contribute to the mitigation of land degradation processes
in the Mediterranean region. Forest types showing the highest sensitivity
are native types mostly adapted to dry Mediterranean landscapes, introduced
vegetation types and highly-fragmented and heterogeneous forest types. Results
suggest that: (i) high-quality and biodiversity-rich forest types (e.g.,
beech, mountain pine forests) may act as vegetation buffer mitigating the increase
of land sensitivity to desertification at the landscape scale; and (ii) the
remaining forest types (especially highly fragmented, low-quality or low-biodiversity
classes in areas with severe soil and climate conditions) may undergo increases in land sensitivity to desertification and should be protected through specific management measures as also implemented in the framework of the National Action Plans to Combat Desertification.
ISSN: 1971-7458
DOI: 10.3832/ifor1111-008
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