iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Combining demographic and land-use dynamics with local communities perceptions for analyzing socio-ecological systems: a case study in a mountain area of Italy

A Pisanelli   , F Chiocchini, L Cherubini, M Lauteri

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 5, Issue 3, Pages 163-170 (2012)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor0615-005
Published: Jun 25, 2012 - Copyright © 2012 SISEF

Research Articles

Rural communities are facing increasing social heterogeneity and organization complexity consequently to land use changes, demographic dynamics and globalization processes. Members of the communities should have a direct perception of their own territories, recognizing any positive or negative change that may occur. A better knowledge of these processes may be achieved by investigating local community awareness and perspectives. A research was carried out in a rural and mountainous area of Central Italy with the following aims: (i) to highlight demographic dynamics and land use changes that affected the area during the last decades; (ii) to assess local communities’ perceptions and awareness of their own territories; (iii) to verify and validate a research methodology by evaluating the resilience of socio-ecological systems. The study area involved four municipalities that were analyzed considering the historical changes of demographic data and land-use system. A questionnaire was submitted to a sample of local population. The questionnaire was aimed to investigate the following issues: (i) level and quality of participation and communication within the community life; (ii) awareness of environmental resources of the territories; (iii) socio-cultural opportunities and expectations of future changes within the communities. In each municipality, different behaviors and needs emerged according to the age of the inhabitants. In spite of that, awareness of social, cultural and environmental constraints/potentialities emerged in all the communities. Communication capability seems a key factor to reinforce both the social capital and the resilience of the territories. Thus, sharing of experience and knowledge could play a major role in developing an efficient governance of the occurring territorial changes. Finally, the study highlights that serious efforts should be spent especially to satisfy expectations of young people concerning the territorial development. This latter seems a prerequisite for the maintenance of the system resilience.


Participatory Governance, Social Capital, Social Survey, Rural Areas, Resilience

Authors’ address

A Pisanelli
F Chiocchini
L Cherubini
M Lauteri
Institute of Agro-environmental and Forest Biology, National Research Council, v. Marconi 2, I-05010, Porano (TR - Italy)

Corresponding author


Pisanelli A, Chiocchini F, Cherubini L, Lauteri M (2012). Combining demographic and land-use dynamics with local communities perceptions for analyzing socio-ecological systems: a case study in a mountain area of Italy. iForest 5: 163-170. - doi: 10.3832/ifor0615-005

Academic Editor

Paola Mairota

Paper history

Received: Jul 27, 2011
Accepted: Apr 24, 2012

First online: Jun 25, 2012
Publication Date: Jun 29, 2012
Publication Time: 2.07 months

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