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A model to manage crop-shelter spatial development by multi-temporal coverage analysis and spatial indicators

Arcidiacono, C., Porto, S.M.C.
Biosystems engineering 2010 v.107 no.2 pp. 107-122
models, shelterbelts, crop production, spatial distribution, temporal variation, image analysis, geospatial technology
Indicators are suitable tools to analyse the environmental effects of intensive agricultural cultivation, and their description and quantification can be used by local authorities to carry out decisions to contain the impact on the environment within adequate thresholds. Among intensive agricultural cultivation, crop shelters represent a significant anthropic load that, together with other kinds of loads (e.g. road networks, and urban and rural buildings), contribute to the modification of the environment by acting on different factors. In this study a model to manage crop-shelter spatial development was proposed. The model required multi-temporal analyses of crop-shelter coverage and the definition of a spatial indicator set within a causal chain framework. The characterisation of these indicators made it possible to define indices that describe the level of soil consumption due to crop-shelter building over time. A case study was used to assess the proposed model in a study area highly representative of the Italian protected cultivation. A DPSIR (Driving force-Pressure-State-Impact-Response) framework of protected cultivation agricultural activity was built on the basis of the information collected from available territorial planning tools. The quantification of a set of DPSIR spatial indicators was carried out by GIS (Geographical Information System) analyses and an automatic image analysis procedure. The results produced thematic maps of the indices and the indicators which could be used by local authorities as decision-support tools suitable to achieve higher sustainability and environmental soundness of this kind of cultivation.