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Ecological Engineering
Vol. 87, 2016, Pages: 139–149

Ecosystem services and bioremediation of polluted areas

Elena Cervelli, Stefania Pindozzi, Alessandra Capolupo, Collins Okello, Marina Rigillo, Lorenzo Boccia

Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, Portici (Na), Italy.


Contaminated areas represent a crucial concern in contemporary planning all over the world. The absence of shared value for such areas leads to abandonment and soil sealing specially if such areas have lost their agricultural potential. The European Project LIFE/ENV/IT/275 Ecoremed has implemented a protocol for the bioremediation of contaminated soils in Campania region. The cultivation of no food crops (Poplar and Giant reed) is proposed as buffer crops waiting for the characterization of the areas. This facilitates the uptake of the mineral contaminants and the biodegradation of organic compounds reducing the risk for leaching and the run off of harmful contaminants that would occur on bare soils.

The study discusses a new approach to land use change (LUC) assessment based on environmental and socio-economic factors, evaluated through GIS tool and decision support software (ArcGIS/ILWIS). Literature data have been used to assess the current value of the ecosystem services (ES) provided by such crops (€/ha/year) and the benefits that people obtained from ecosystems. Three scenarios have sorted out and compared through multicriteria analysis. Moving from the deep knowledge of the environmental condition of the territory the study shows the alternative ES values of the land use change starting from no-change scenario to energy crops (Poplar and Giant reed), to abandonment. Results show that is possible to asses an increase of the ES value, both in case of a private and public action, also referring to the opportunities for farmers income in the short and medium-long period.

Keywords: LUC scenarios; Multicriteria-Spatial Decision Support Systems; Ecosystem services; Bioremediation.

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