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Desertification Indicator System for Mediterranean Europe

1. Definition



Brief definition

The employment index provides a measure of the number of people employed with respect to the total active population

Unit of measurement

% of number of workers with a stable job out of total active population

2. Position within the logical framework DPSIR

Type of Indicator

Driving force. It provides information on the pressure on the environment indirectly caused by certain major economic constraints such as the lack of alternatives, that can result in the over-exploitation of marginal agricultural areas.

3. Target and political pertinence


To identify and define areas at risk of desertification choosing indicators of land use management based on demographic considerations.

Importance with respect to desertification

This indicator is part of a set of tools to develop an index of Management Quality for the definition and mapping of Environmental Sensitive Areas (with particular reference to the Agri Valley in Basilicata, Italy). Together with the indicators of Soil, Vegetation and Climate Quality, it contributes to elaborate development strategies compatible with the resources available in a given area.

Within Agenda 21 employment index is relevant to Chapter 12 - Management of fragile ecosystems: combating desertification and drought.

International Conventions and agreements

The UNCCD emphasizes the fact that combating desertification must be tackled within the general framework of actions to promote sustainable development.

Secondary objectives of the indicator

Within the ESA model objectives include: a) Investigation of the individual processes linked to land degradation and desertification; b) development of countermeasures and strategies to protect land from desertification and to promote sustainable development; c) comparison with the physical-environmental characteristics of other target areas.

4. Methodological description and basic definitions

Definitions and basic concepts

The employment index provides a measurement of the number of persons with stable employment in relation to the total active population. In the present context it is associated with the large number of people employed in agriculture. The high number of agricultural jobs in many poor rural areas of the Mediterranean is due to the lack of any real alternative so that people remain in the sector despite the low income it provides. The calculation is % of workers with a stable job out of the total active population.

Benchmarks Indication of the values/ranges of value

With this model the authors distinguish four classes of employment

  • >40%
  • 30-40%
  • 20-30%
  • <20%

A score is attributed to each class. The score is multiplied with the scores pertaining to retirement, literacy and old age, to define the Management Quality Index.

Methods of measurement


Limits of the indicator

These are linked to the difficulty of applying the classification in contexts other than the one in which the indicator was developed, i.e. an economically marginal context of rural poverty in areas with limited prospects of development.

Linkages with other indicators

The purpose of the employment index, together with the Old age index, retirement and literacy indices, is to define an indirect index of land management quality concerning an area with particular demographic characteristics compared to the rest of the country.

5. Evaluation of data needs and availability

Data required to calculate the indicator

Statistics on the total number persons in employment in the region are required.

Data sources

National statistics institutions

Availability of data from national and international sources

This data is easily obtainable from the main national statistics institutions.

6. Institutions that have participated in developing the indicator

Main institutions responsible

Dipartimento di Produzione Vegetale - University of Basilicata

Other contributing organizations


7. Additional information


Ferrara A., Taberner M., De Natale F., Bellotti A., Mancino G., Faretta S., 1999. Identification and assessment of environmental sensitive areas by remote sensing. In. Mediterrannean Desertification and Land Use - Final report phase III (1996-1999). Contract ENV4-CT95-0119. Thatcham, UK, pp. 397-428

Basso F., Bellotti A., Faretta S., Ferrara A., Mancino G., Pisante M., Quaranta G., Taberner M.; 1998. Degradation processes in the Agi basin: evaluating environmental sensitivity to desertification at basin scale. Proceedings of the International Seminar held in Porto Torres, Italy 18-20 September 1998: pp 131-145.

Other references

Email: ferrara@unibas.it - ag.ferrara@agora.stm.it

Contacts Name and address

Dipartimento di Produzion Vetgetale - UniversitÓ degli Studi della Basilicata. Via N. Sauro 85 - 85100 Potenza - Taliy Scientific director: Prof. Agostino Ferrara Tel: (971) 474171/54973-Fax (971)-474269