Outlook from the soil perspective of urban expansion and food security

Riccardo Scalenghe, Aneta Jadwiga Florczyk, Ciro Gardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The use of soil as support for built-up areas represents only one of its several functions. Farmlands at the fringe of conurbations have more chance of being converted into built-up areas due to the favourable topography and the accessibility to existing infrastructure, being in the vicinity of urban areas. We analysed the global land-take during the period 2000–2014. The data are based on a global dataset describing the spatial evolution of human settlements using the Global Human Settlement Layer, which was derived from Landsat images collected in 1975, 1990, 2000 and 2014. Although the global land-take represents roughly 0.1% of the global terrestrial Earth, it affects 1% of the naturally fertile soils, according to the proposed Soil Productivity Indexes (SPI), based upon the potential soil productivity, calculated on the basis of the Harmonized World Soil Database. We have found that, few large conurbations develop on potentially high productive soil, while scarcely productive soils sustain the expansion of several megalopolises. On a global scale and through the centuries, considered comparatively as individual overall age of settlements, a trend between the intrinsic quality of the soils and its use for settlement purposes as major competitor, was not observed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalHeliyon
Volume7
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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