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A Modified Soil Quality Index to Assess the Influence of Soil Degradation Processes on Desertification Risk: The Apulia Case

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Author(s): Valeria Ancona | Delia Evelina Bruno | Nicola Lopez | Giuseppe Pappagallo | Vito Felice Uricchio

Journal: Italian Journal of Agronomy
ISSN 1125-4718

Volume: 5;
Issue: 3S;
Start page: 45;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: desertification risk | ESA’s method | modified Soil Quality Index (SQI) | soil degradation processes | Apulia region.

ABSTRACT
Apulia is one of the most prone Italian regions to soil alteration phenomena, due to geographical and climatic conditions and also to human activities’ impact. In this study, in order to investigate regional soil degradation processes, following the “European Directive for Soil Protection”, the ESA’s method has been adopted. It is based on the use of an indicator’s set to assess the desertification risk. This approach simplifies the diagnosis and monitoring of soil degradation processes, defining their status and trend. Special attention has been given to Soil Quality Index (SQI) determined by six predisposing indicators (parent material, soil texture, rock fragment, soil depth, drainage and slope grade). The integration in the SQI calculation of two additional soil parameters (organic matter content and soil salinity) has been considered particularly significant. In fact, through the evaluation of a so “modified SQI” and the Apulia land use too, it could be possible to assess the role of agriculture management on soil degradation processes, which predisposing regional area to desertification threat. Moreover this approach provides short, but accurate, information thanks to GIS integration, which defines phenomena in detail, offering helpful planning tools.
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