In the present study soil degradation and

The investigated area covers the whole Italy (301,330 km2). The national territory was divided into three geographical divisions (North, Centre, South) with similar areal coverage but different socio-ecological characteristics. The country area (23% flat, 42% hilly and 35% mountainous) is characterized by a temperate-dry Mediterranean climate. Elevation SAG and geographical divisions were defined by ISTAT (1958) for the whole national territory. The three geographical divisions of Italy reflect a supra-regional spatial level merging a number of administrative regions ranging from 4 (central Italy) to 8 (northern and southern Italy). Country land was classified into three elevation belts (lowland: < 100 m; 100 m < upland < 600 m; mountains > 600 m) according to the average elevation of each municipality. Generally, rainfalls increase with elevation and latitude and the reverse pattern was found for temperature. Soils and landscapes share a high functional diversity shaped by the millenary interplay between nature and humans. Similar to other countries in southern Europe, Italy shows important disparities in economic and social development and environmental resource availability at both the regional and local scale (Salvati and Bajocco, 2011).