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Title: Remote sensing assessment of the agro-ecosystem state using indicators at the landscape level in Greece
Other Titles: Sostenibilità degli agrosistemi: valutazione attraverso l'uso di indicatori di telerilevamento a livello di paesaggio in Grecia
Authors: Karkalis, Konstantinos
Keywords: Agro-ecosystems;Sustainable development;Landscape ecology;Remote sensing;Agro-ecosistemi;Sviluppo sostenibile;Ecologia del paesaggio;Telerilevamento;AGR/02
Issue Date: 25-Jun-2013
Publisher: Università degli studi della Tuscia - Viterbo
Series/Report no.: Tesi di dottorato di ricerca. 24. ciclo
Agro-ecosystems are artificial landscape constituents created by man through the use of
agriculture in order to produce a variety of commodities necessary for his sustenance and
survival. Starting from the Neolithic era, agricultural ecosystems in the Mediterranean
region and worldwide have had a complex interaction with natural ecosystems shaping rural
landscapes for millennia. From an environmental point of view these interactions throughout
history have been both positive and negative. In any case until the 18th century most human
farming activities did not represent any significant impact or threat to the local environment
and bio system sustainability mostly due to technology limitations and the population level.
Nowadays however, in Greece, like elsewhere in the world, after the industrial and green
revolution, the increasing capacity of modern man to alter the landscape in order to satisfy
his needs for biomass, mobility, dwellings and energy has started to deeply modify land use
and landscape patterns, destabilizing sustainability and compromising biodiversity. While it
is undeniable that the green revolution and heavy industrialized agriculture have contributed
to the increase of rural production and prosperity worldwide, the negative aspects of
agricultural management, if not addressed, could hamper the sustainability of rural areas
and therefore their capacity to meet present and future nutritional and socioeconomic needs.
Based on all the problematic stated above, the objective of this research is to provide a useful
tool in order to assess agro-ecosystem management at the territorial level, with the use of a
selected core set of landscape metrics cross examined in relation with socioeconomic factors
that could hopefully assist decision making in the promotion of agroecological and ecoregion
sustainability. The study consists in the comparison of three different case study areas in
Greece chosen in order to be the representative expressions of the Hellenic agriculture in
different ruralities, where the overall policies and markets have to deal with the local
specificity. The selected study areas were situated within the Hellenic Regional unit areas of
Imathia, Larissa and Euboea. For the landscape analysis, remote sensing data has been
collected (maps, aerial photographs), and elaborated using GIS and other specific software
(i.e., Excel, Fragstats) linked with economic and social activities regarding land use. Based
on the selected landscape metrics and socioeconomic data, the Municipal unit of Dovras
presented the highest overall values of sustainability after the area of Messapia, and the
highest productivity values among all the three ecoregions considered, where both ecological
service areas and human productive forces coexist in the best environmentally friendly
manner. The Larissa municipality presented the lowest overall values of agro-ecosystem
sustainability, suggesting an agriculture that is oriented mostly in order to reduce production
costs and increase income, where biodiversity and sustainability are possibly neglected.
Finally regarding the study area of the municipal unit of Messapia, based on the selected
landscape metrics and socioeconomic parameters, results showed the area with the highest
values of agro- ecosystem sustainability but also as the less productive among the three. As
an overall, all the ecoregions considered could further enhance agro-ecosystem
sustainability at the landscape level with some simple and relatively low cost farming
technics like the increment of bio-corridors. Finally, the observed combination of higher
agro-ecosystem sustainability and productivity overall values of the Dovras ecoregion in
respect to those of the Larissa ecoregion, could suggest a possible benevolent effect of
sustainable agro-ecosystem management (at the landscape level) on farming productive
output. However, further research is needed in order to confirm these results.
Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze ambientali
Appears in Collections:Archivio delle tesi di dottorato di ricerca

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