Browsing this web site you accept techinical and statistical cookies. close [ more info ]

Forest expansion in mountain ecosystems: "environmentalist's dream" or societal nightmare? - Presentation

Driving forces, topics and impacts of one of the main 20th century's environmental, territorial and landscape transformations in Italy

by Giorgio Conti | Laura Fagarazzi

Among the main threats that mountain areas in industrialised countries are nowadays facing, land abandonment is by far the most important. Land abandonment is mainly due to marginalisation trends and it is closely associated with other processes such as depopulation and decline of mountain farming. The most evident consequence of such a situation is the phenomenon of forest expansion, due to the process of natural succession causing shrub and tree encroachment into abandoned farmland, mainly pastures and other kinds of cultivated grassland. Such a process, which has been largely underestimated or even ignored within the Italian scientific and political debate, represents one of the main land use changes occurred during the last decades, as well as one of the most impacting and radical landscape transformations affecting the Italian territory.