Quantitative assessment of the sensitivity to desertification in the Bradano River basin (Basilicata, southern Italy)
Desertification is a complex environmental phenomenon that affects many regions worldwide, including the Mediterranean area. Its effects, primarily resulting from climate variations and also influenced by human-induced changes, impact upon potential regional progress due to significant economic losses, social problems and ecological damage. The aim of this study was the identification of sensitive areas to desertification at watershed scale, in the Bradano River basin (Basilicata, southern
... cata, southern Italy). The analysis was carried out by means of the model developed within the European project MEDALUS (MEditerranean Desertification And Land USe), which identifies prone areas to desertification through the Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) index. The model parameters were implemented and processed using a GIS-based approach to evaluate climate, soil, vegetation and management system quality factors, which represent the input for the ESAs assessment. The results indicate that 35% of the study area is highly sensitive to desertification, 49% of the study area has moderate sensitivity to desertification, 12% has low sensitivity and only 4% is non-sensitive to desertification.