Land-use pressures on rural-urban territories, highly suited for wine production. Mapping landscape services and trajectories of change in Northern Italy
Similarly to other European Countries, also in Italy one can observe large scale changes in the structure of land use. This is in primis caused by socio-economic pressures, mostly determining the conversion of agricultural land into artificial surfaces. More effort is required to highlight how and if the above alters urban-rural relationships, in particular landscape-wise. The authors focused on selected territories in North-East Italy as case study areas, where viticulture is intensive and provides almost uninterrupted land cover. All are important with regard to the contribution that wine gives to economic development.
Using GIS-based techniques, the authors documented the processes of land use between 1983 and 2006, analyzing in particular resulting changes of urban-rural forms. The aim is to investigate how scattered and geographically interconnected the (new) artificialisation is and how/if it impacts on viticultural landscapes. The strip of territory we have dealt with is being subjected to an aggressive sprawl which - if previously only took place in radial direction around cities’ centres or in linear direction along major roads - now increasingly forces itself “from within”. The intense building activity is, indeed, in danger of preventing the areas under study from maintaining a sufficient “consistency”, also to be able to develop in a more varied and articulate manner (for instance touristic). Our research - evaluating the degree of loss of landscape integrity due to the anthropogenic stress - could also feed into more evidence-based territorial policies aiming to direct future transformations and preserve/promote viticultural territories.