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Human pressure in fragile environments: The case of the European Mediterranean coast.
Spinelli, Gianfranco*,1, Meini, Monica2, 1 University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara, NO, Italy2 University of Florence, Firenze, FI, Italy
ABSTRACT- The European Mediterranean coast has always been a strongly humanized area, thanks to the well known processes of demographic, political and economic growth which have involved it along the centuries. During the last century this process has also implied phenomena of change in land use and population distribution, with special effects on coastal belts and islands, which are particularly fragile environments. Besides usual driving forces (industrialisation, urbanisation, traffic growth) tourism has become in the last few decades the major factor of change and human pressure. The main objective of our research is to assess the contribution of these driving forces and elaborate a synthetic index of human pressure. As regards the methods used, four main elements have been considered (demographic dynamics, industrial development, tourism and accessibility), of which the most suitable statistical indicators have been identified and properly weighed, in order to build the synthetic index. The application has concerned the coastal provinces of the Republic of Croatia, which seemed particularly interesting because of the long coastline (5790 km) and the great number of islands. The highest values were found, besides in the main urban areas, also in many islands of the archipelago. The paper is aimed at showing the results of the methodology used, which should be suitable for application to other cases.
Key words: coasts, change, social indicators