Despite intense efforts, information systems for Land Degradation assessment need extensive research implementation at both regional and country scale. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification identified critical hotspots of land degradation worldwide recognizing the joint action of drivers such as soil depletion, landscape transformations, human pressure, and climate change. Notwithstanding the relevance of this issue, only few country-scale studies have been devoted to analyse long trends over time of land degradation in the specific framework of environmental accounting. While sparse quantitative indicators have been proposed to realize a permanent monitoring of land degradation, a complete official statistical framework (integrating different data sources, in light of a purely environmental accounting perspective) is still lacking. The present study contributes to this deserving issue by proposing the Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) approach as an official statistics framework, quantifying the level of land vulnerability to degradation at a refined spatial scale using biophysical metrics. This monitoring approach allows a comprehensive analysis of changes over time in four components of land degradation (climate, soil, vegetation, and land management) and is integrated with a monetary evaluation of the negative impact of land degradation on income and wealth based on the User Cost Approach (UCA). By developing local-scale, diachronic estimates of land degradation, the ESA-UCA framework provides spatio-temporal outcomes that may constitute the base of environmental reporting and informative systems supporting policy decisions to contain desertification risk.

Official statistics, spatio-temporal dynamics and local-scale monitoring: toward integrated environmental-economic accounting for land degradation

Carlucci M.;Salvati L.;
2022

Abstract

Despite intense efforts, information systems for Land Degradation assessment need extensive research implementation at both regional and country scale. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification identified critical hotspots of land degradation worldwide recognizing the joint action of drivers such as soil depletion, landscape transformations, human pressure, and climate change. Notwithstanding the relevance of this issue, only few country-scale studies have been devoted to analyse long trends over time of land degradation in the specific framework of environmental accounting. While sparse quantitative indicators have been proposed to realize a permanent monitoring of land degradation, a complete official statistical framework (integrating different data sources, in light of a purely environmental accounting perspective) is still lacking. The present study contributes to this deserving issue by proposing the Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) approach as an official statistics framework, quantifying the level of land vulnerability to degradation at a refined spatial scale using biophysical metrics. This monitoring approach allows a comprehensive analysis of changes over time in four components of land degradation (climate, soil, vegetation, and land management) and is integrated with a monetary evaluation of the negative impact of land degradation on income and wealth based on the User Cost Approach (UCA). By developing local-scale, diachronic estimates of land degradation, the ESA-UCA framework provides spatio-temporal outcomes that may constitute the base of environmental reporting and informative systems supporting policy decisions to contain desertification risk.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1655117
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