Soil Sealing: Quantifying Impacts on Soil Functions by a Geospatial Decision Support System

Manna Piero, Basile Angelo, Bonfante Antonello, D’Antonio Amedeo, De Michele Carlo, Iamarino Michela, Langella Giuliano, Mileti Antonio Florindo, Pileri Paolo, Vingiani Simona, Terribile Fabio. 2017. Land Degrad. Develop. (2017). Published online in Wiley Online Library ( DOI: 10.1002/ldr.2802

                                                                                                             Soil sealing is considered among the most dangerous of land degradation processes on global, European and national scales. Despite important policy documents aiming to mitigate this soil threat, it currently shows no signs of abating, and current efforts often do not result in appropriate implementation of soil sealing mitigation in spatial planning, which represents the subject area governing soil sealing. In this paper, we show a spatial decision support system – based on a Geospatial Cyberinfrastructure – with the aim of applying it as an operational instrument aiming towards soil sealing mitigation. The system has the ambition to impact on those who take decision over soil sealing; typically, these are not agriculture experts but rather spatial planners.

This tool, focusing on mitigating such crucial land degradation, allows the users – via the Web – to produce ‘what-if’ land planning scenarios thanks to the ‘on-the-fly’ modelling engines. Therefore, integrated geospatial quantitative data and procedures may be directly and freely used by planners.

The tool has been applied to and tested in an area in the South of Italy. Results from two applications are reported: one addressing municipal planning and the other on a more detailed spatial scale. Furthermore, results include quantification of rural fragmentation, loss of soil ecosystem services and an estimate of soil sealing evolution over time.