EGU24-11949, updated on 09 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Employng satellite immagery interpretation tools to detect land-use land-change dynamics in Italian historical rural landscapes

Virginia Chiara Cuccaro1, Claudio Di Giovannantonio2, Giovanni Pica2, Luca Malatesta1, and Fabio Attorre1
Virginia Chiara Cuccaro et al.
  • 1Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
  • 2ARSIAL (Regional Agency for the Development and Innovation of Agriculture in Latium), Italy

Rural landscapes inherited from the past are marked by a strong interaction between man and nature, a relationship rooted in a long history that testifies to the importance of the landscape as one of the most historically representative expressions of a country's cultural identity.

In this broad context, olive groves markedly characterize the agricultural landscape of many European rural areas, particularly in the Mediterranean region. Along with other rural landscapes, they form a semi-natural environment that can contribute to biodiversity conservation, soil protection and ecosystem resilience.

In addition to the global increase in temperatures, the main threats affecting these agrarian landscapes include the abandonment of traditional practices and the intensification of cultivation through the installation of irregular, intensive and overly dense planting beds.

The Land Cover classification and change-detection can provide useful indications for the restoration, conservation, and enhancement of olive groves

The objective of this work was to identify , rural landscapes in the Lazio region with characteristics of historical interest and determine their level of conservation. In particular, it was investigated the olive landscape of Cures (historic province of Sabina) trough a multi-temporal analysis of literature and cartographic information (e.g. orthophotos from the Italian Aeronautical Group flight of 1954)

The technique concerns the VASA (Historical Environmental Assessment) methodology, which allows the temporal evaluation of a given landscape and can inform on how agricultural practices and land use have changed over time.

Softwares  Collect Earth and Google Earth were employed to manipulate the historical series of high-resolution satellite images and implement photointerpretation. The coverage of identitied land units  was then estimated to address the configuration of the target landscape.

Landscape evolution over time was achieved by overlaying the 1954 and 2022 land use polygons, resulting in a merging database, in which an evolutionary dynamic was associated with each land use change.

The approach generated in-depth insights on the significant elements of the CURES olive landscape and informed on the dynamics of the area in relation to the risk of their disappearance, making it possible to identify what are the "landscape emergencies," i.e., the land uses that have seen the most̀ reduction in their area.

The methodologies employed have proven reliability in improving the knowledge ng target landscapes.  It might be useful to promote  sustainable agricultural practices for better preservation and management of rural environments so that cultural traditions can be preserved as well, and the environmental balance of the agrarian land can be maintained.

How to cite: Cuccaro, V. C., Di Giovannantonio, C., Pica, G., Malatesta, L., and Attorre, F.: Employng satellite immagery interpretation tools to detect land-use land-change dynamics in Italian historical rural landscapes, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-11949,, 2024.