Desertification is a global problem that involves areas of many developing countries and that also concerns the Mediterranean countries and Italy, in fact, more than 30% of the Italian territory is influenced by desertification and degradation. This process, however, is not unavoidable and it is possible to intervene, by starting a virtuous circle of improvements through a careful sustainable management. This emerged during the first day of the workshop “Development and conservation of ecosystems services against desertification and drought”, organised by Enea in collaboration with Ispra, Cnr, Cra and Inea.
During the workshop organised by Enea with the support of the Ministry of agricultural food and forestry policies on the “development and conservation of services and ecosystems against drought and desertification” Giuseppe Scarscia Mugnozza, head of the Department of agronomy, forest and territory of the Council for research and experimentation in agriculture, Cra – affirmed – arid areas cover almost 45% of the earth’s surface, including more than 44% of the world agricultural areas, and constitute the biggest ecosystem of our planet and have an important role in the climatic system.
About 10-20% of the waterless territories are already damaged by desertification processes. The functioning and resistance of these territories and, thus, the sustainability of ecosystem services are threatened by factors such as: territory degradation, climate change and increase of population.”
“The impacts of the biophysics components – Scarascia continued – are becoming more intensive and heavily contribute to territory degradation. The waterless ecosystems regulate the carbonic and hydrological cycle, protect the soil resources and influence the atmospheric composition through physic, chemical and physical processes. The changes of these ecosystems will determine alterations in the propriety of the earth’s surface and will modify the water, energy and CO2 exchange between the ecosystem and the atmosphere.”
An approach based on the ecosystems – the researcher of the Cra concluded – can improve the resistance of the arid areas and supply benefits in the fight against drought and desertification. Today we have analyzed some key issues in the scientific literature related to the interconnections between functioning and resistance of the arid ecosystems, the ecosystem services and their connections with the climatic system.
Source: Agricoltura Italiana Online