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Ecological Engineering 103 (2017) 198–206

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Ecological Engineering
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Economic development and agriculture: Managing protected areas

and safeguarding the environment
Enrica Donia a , Angelo Marcello Mineo a , Federica Mascali a , Filippo Sgroi b,∗
Department of Economics, Business and Statistics, University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Edificio 13, 90128 Palermo, Italy
Department of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Edificio 4 Ingr. H, Palermo 90128, Italy

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: The establishment of protected areas has been one of the most important interventions to protect bio-
Received 28 November 2016 diversity from the threat of human activities and in particular from the agricultural traditional activities
Received in revised form 8 March 2017 where they have been restricted at the expense of the economy of the territory sparking in literature a
Accepted 1 April 2017
heated debate between those who argue the these hinder the socio-economic development and on the
Available online 12 April 2017
other hand are those who argue that is able to advance social welfare. On the basis of these considerations,
the weight of agricultural sector of a country is highly linked to the percentage of protected areas even
though the trend of the weight of agriculture in the overall economy is also due to the “natural” evolution
Protected areas
Forest areas
of the characteristics of agricultural systems. Indeed, literature findings indicate that the relative weight
Agriculture of the agricultural sector tends to decrease due to increases in other emergent sectors like industries and
Agricultural systems services.
Sustainable development In Italy the protected areas seems to have had a negative effects on the agricultural sector, unlike
Thailand. Adopting an simple linear regression model, using the software package R, considering a 22-
year period (1990–2012), the results indicated that in Italy the increase in the percentage of forest areas
has occurred at the expense of significant and negative effects on the agricultural sector in terms of added
value. In comparison, in Thailand there have been significantly positive effects in terms of employment,
largely in relation to the weight of agriculture in its national economy. To corroborate these conclusions,
a simple regression model was applied to seven others countries where it proved equally valid but with
different results for countries. Besides, it has been created a multiple regression model considering others
emergent sectors of the economy. Even for this case the results are different for countries. Thus, manage-
ment outcomes for the weight of agricultural sector may differ between countries, depending on both
how protected areas are managed overall and from the economical features of the countries.
© 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction sion, even to the loss of entire agroecosystems (Moschini et al.,

Agriculture has often been defined as a sector uniquely capable In this context, establishing protected areas has been one of the
of altering the environment as well as reorganizing the resources at most common and significant strategies for protecting both nat-
its disposal. However, this capacity can negatively impact the envi- ural areas and biodiversity from the potential threats of human
ronment due to the inherent risks of modern agricultural practices, activities (Macura et al., 2015; Pullin et al., 2013). However, some
introduced into the sector in times of agricultural industrialization. critics view them as obstacles to socioeconomic development that
According to some critics, the large-scale use of artificial products exacerbate conditions in poorer areas (West et al., 2006). Diamet-
advocated by the chemical industry has ultimately been detri- rically opposite, advocates highlight their capacity to improve the
mental to the environment (Delort and Walter, 2002). Objectively, socio-economic status of local populations within these territories,
anthropic interventions have not infrequently played a pivotal role thus reducing poverty (Adams et al., 2004). To date, no “credible”
in this progressive deterioration of natural habitats and, on occa- study of the effects of one or more protected areas on the welfare of
neighboring communities has been published, therefore evidence
is lacking (Ferraro, 2008; Brockington and Wilkie, 2015).
In Italy, these conservation measures were first enacted in 1991
∗ Corresponding author. by the so-called “Galasso law” where they are significant, indeed
E-mail address: (F. Sgroi).
0925-8574/© 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
E. Donia et al. / Ecological Engineering 103 (2017) 198–206 199

approximately 11% of its territory is comprised within State and a territory. It is no coincidence, in fact, that a host of scholars advo-
Regional Parks and Natural Reserves. Another 10% of the Italian ter- cate that the issues of environmental conservation and bolstering
ritory is protected by European policy specifically establishing Sites income levels in impoverished communities be dealt with together,
of Community Importance (SCI) and Special Protection Areas (SPA) rather than separately.
required under the Habitats Directive and Birds Directive Natura A further complication consists in the conflicting underlying
2000 (Directive 1992/43/EC), repectively. assumptions. The lack of consensus fuels the controversy regard-
Since their inception, local communities have generally per- ing conservation measures. Some view them as a tool for reducing
ceived protected areas as an obstacle to the agricultural and poverty levels, whereas others consider them a limit to devel-
forestry practices necessary for their livelihood and the agriculture opment that actually increases the levels of poverty. In a study
remained substantially excluded from Italian parks. conducted in Thailand in 2000, in those areas subject to more strin-
In Thailand the protection of the territory was very important gent protection (categories I and II according to the definition of
in the past thanks to sustainable practices and the low population International Union for the Conservation of Nature) poverty levels
density. When the population increased and the role of agriculture and Gini coefficients had resulted lower, with higher consumption
became more and more relevant with 64% of employees in the agri- levels than in less protected areas. The lack of consensus regarding
culture in 1990, the exploitation of the forest areas was inevitable the role of conservation instruments in socioeconomic develop-
forcing the government to intervene by the “lagging ban” in 1989, ment translates into an inability to establish the appropriate policy
even though the percentage of forest areas increased only from recommendations (Turner et al., 2012).
2006 (World Bank Data, 2016). Effects also depend on the characteristics of the economy of a
The aim of this paper is analyzing at the country-level the effects given territory and its relative practices.
of protected areas on Italian agriculture comparing to Thai agricul- If the latter fail to account for natural cycles, with due respect
ture. The choice about Thailand was dictated by two main reasons: for the environment, such practices may obviously, not only hinder
firstly, because of the structural differences of its agriculture com- but even, produce irreparable harm to protected areas, especially
pared to Italy’s and, secondly, because of recent studies providing from agriculture.
data that allowed a more detailed comparative analysis (Sims, On the contrary, if protected areas offer services, such as natu-
2009). Consequently, it has been investigated the relation, over ralistic tourism for instance, that safeguard the territory on which
time, between the percentages of forest areas, adopted as a suffi- the local economy depends, they are more likely to favor devel-
ciently representative measure of protected areas, and the impact opment. According to estimates, the economic cost of the loss of
of agriculture on the economy as a whole. biodiversity will have reached 14 trillion Euro by 2050 with direct
The percentage of Italian forest areas has had a negative impact impacts on the welfare of 2.4 billion people (
on the agricultural sector in terms of its added value (AV). Consequently, it is widely acknowledged that the protection of
A cursory look at Thailand’s situation reveals evident differences biodiversity at this point is of utmost importance, but at the same
with Italy. In the former, positive and significant effects of its forest time it should not jeopardize economic and social development.
areas have substantially contributed to the growth of the nation’s On the one hand, various studies have highlighted how natural and
agricultural sector as a whole, in terms of employment. In fact, its human capital are basically interchangeable, whereby a destruction
higher percentages of forest areas have been mirrored by higher of natural resources could be offset by an increase in human capital
employment levels in agriculture. In effect, forests are an impor- through the use of new technologies. On the other hand, the latter
tant resource for the country’s agricultural sector and its overall are still mere hypotheses. Adopting policies based on this perhaps
economy. This fact also explains why forests have been so intensely overoptimistic view would be questionable, if not reckless. More-
exploited, as acknowledged in the “Thailand − National Report on over, there are particular natural resources whose uniqueness make
Protected Areas and Development” published in the 2003, despite them virtually irreplaceable, such as the ozone layer (Pearce and
the numerous interventions targeting their conservation. Barbier, 1990). Thus, sustainable development represents the only
These different results depend on how protected areas have viable option. In its broadest definition, as adopted by the WCDE,
been managed overall in a country and this means that out- the ecological and socioeconomic aspects of development are con-
comes may differ from one country and the next. According to sidered inextricably linked and on equal footing. In other words,
their stated purpose, namely protecting biodiversity, the protected the concept of development cannot be equated to mere economic
areas were intended to be coupled to socioeconomic development. growth, i.e. pro-capita income. The latter represents a quantita-
Targeted initiatives were envisioned, so as to not inadvertently tive (as opposed to qualitative) measure of wealth, but then again
hinder development. In effect, this dual purpose echoes the objec- just one variable among the many to be considered. The challenge
tives of sustainable development. In fact, every sector is expected consists in managing to have economic and environmental devel-
to incorporate these objectives in the act of defining their spe- opment increase in direct, instead of inverse, proportion. It is in this
cific strategies. Nevertheless, efforts to adopt the multifunctional perspective that the purported role of protected areas could be most
perspective, which is currently envisioned for agriculture, are effective. Specifically, they represent tools with the dual purpose
reportedly underway (Valbonesi, 2010). of protecting the environment while promoting sustainable eco-
To be honest, the weight of agriculture in economy depends also nomic development, encompassing both social and employment
on the presence of emergent sectors, for example industries and dimensions (Cannizzaro and Corinto, 2011).
services, where most population decide to move. For this reason it
has been decided to set up a multiple regression model considering
others representative variables of abovementioned sectors. 3. Materials and methods

In the existing literature, data regarding the effects of protected

2. Economic literature areas are far from clear, as already mentioned. At least for the pur-
poses of this research, they fail to directly focus on the agricultural
The main advantage of protected areas consists in the consider- sector, being rather general, regards their effects on socioeconomic
able environmental benefits. development in a given territory.
Yet, protection of biodiversity can also affect the income levels Consequently, it was tried adapting some literature results
within a community, as well as the socioeconomic development of regarding Thailand that employ spatial/territorial data. The results
200 E. Donia et al. / Ecological Engineering 103 (2017) 198–206

showed statistically significant linear correlations between the per-

centages of protected areas and specific socioeconomic variables.
The relationships were positive for levels of consumption and neg-
ative for poverty levels, as well as Gini coefficients.
Initially it had been analyzed this same relation in Italy by com-
paring the protection levels of the protected areas identified by
Natura 2000, along with the corresponding poverty indexes, set in
2010, using data available on the website of the Central Institute
of Statistics, ISTAT. The Natura 2000 Network is the main instru-
ment of EU policy, instituted by the Habitats Directive 92/43/CEE
and Birds Directive 2009/147CE. Its aim is to ensure the long-term
survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habi-
tats. People who have a disposable income below 60 per cent of
the national median income are considered “relatively poor.” In
its 2010 report on poverty in Italy, ISTAT set the poverty thresh-
old at 595.48 and 992.46 Euros a month for a one or two-person
household, respectively. Subsequently, it had been focused on the
Fig. 1. Temporal trend of forest areas (% of land area) in Italy from 1990 to 2012.
effects of protected areas on the agricultural sector. However, due
to the lack of spatial data, the study relied on temporal data, easily
available on the World Bank’s website.
3.1. Economic weight of the agricultural sector
Given the above-mentioned linear relation between consump-
tion levels, poverty indexes, Gini coefficients and the percentage of
In Italy the added value of agriculture, in percentage terms of the
protected areas resulting from the Thai study, it has been decided
total, was just over 2% in 2012, while a peak of 3.59% was reached in
to adopt a simple linear regression model considering a 22-year
1991. Despite the fact that Italian agriculture has long since under-
time span (1990–2012) both for Italy and Thailand. For the latter,
gone its modernization process, it has yet to evolve into a fully
the weight of agricultural sector was measured in terms of the per-
globalized system, mainly because its agricultural enterprises have
centage of employment levels in agriculture, whereas added value
encountered difficulties in competing in the global marketplace
was used for Italy. In detail, the relation was modeled by fitting the
(Vieri, 2003).
following equation:
This aspect is indeed confirmed by the EU, which has decided to
enhance the competitiveness of SMEs, of the fishery and aquacul-
yt = ˛ + ˇ1Fat + εt
ture sector, including them in the 11 thematic objectives specified
in the Partnership Agreement for Italy, 2014–2020. In contrast, the
where:yt is the economic weight of agriculture in the observation
structural features of Thailand’s agricultural system are typical of
year t;Fat is forest areas as a percentage of national land surface area
an agriculture whose modernization is still underway and, unlike
in the observation year t;␣ is fixed effect on the economic weight
Italy’s agricultural sector, indeed plays a key role, to date, in its
of agriculture sector not due to forest areas;ˇ1 is impact of forest
economy. In fact, the sector represented 39.6% of total employ-
areas on the economic weight of agriculture.
ment in the 2012 and 12% of total added value. Furthermore, in
As already mentioned, the yt variable assumes two different
the 1980s the percentage of the workforce employed in the sector
values for the two countries. In particular, for Italy the weight of
was approximately 70%, but subsequently started to decline as a
agricultural sector was measured in terms of the added value of
result of the economic development induced especially by increas-
agriculture as a percentage of the total added value. Instead for
ing manufacturing activities as well as by the boost in productivity,
Thailand it was measured in terms of the employment levels in
both of land and labor.
agriculture as a percentage of total employment. Among the inde-
Thus, the sector became increasingly more mechanized and
pendent variables it was initially included the observation year,
hence more capital-intensive, also due to greater credit availability.
which was subsequently excluded due to its linear, nearly perfect,
This process of agricultural modernization also significantly
overlap with forest areas as a percentage of total land surface area.
altered supply, which became more standardized and oriented
While the adaptation necessary for the dependent variable was
towards foreign markets, whilst continuing to produce those goods
simple, since it was explicitly available on the website, the same
with the highest added value, essential for the domestic market
was not the case for the independent variable, i.e. the percentage of
(Leturque and Wiggins, 2006).
protected areas. In fact, the lack of an explicit variable has obliged to
opt for a more readily available proxy variable deemed sufficiently
representative. For this purpose, it selected the percentage of for- 3.2. Forest areas in percentages
est areas. These are significantly protected, also due to the fact that
they represent wildlife habitats with the relative hunting activities. As shown in Fig. 1, the percentage of forest areas in Italy steadily
Data processing was performed using the R software package (R increased throughout the 22-year interval considered. There are
Core Team, 2016). The data for the study are shown in Table 1. two fundamental reasons underlying this trend.
In addition, after adopting agricultural employment (in terms The first one is based on the phenomenon of agricultural mech-
of% of GDP) as the independent variable, it was applied the identical anization which reduced farmers’ extreme dependence on land
model to seven others countries, where it proved equally valid. by shifting to more capital-intensive practices. These underlie the
However, it also hypothesized that the eventual agricultural- adoption of newer technologies that increase productivity, while
system changes in individual countries could provide further reducing the need for labor, ultimately resulting in less exploita-
elucidations regarding this trend in agricultural employment. To tion of the land (Giliberto, 2015). The second reason consists in
account for the latter the following variables were included in the the afforestation/reforestation activities of agricultural land intro-
model: added value of services sector, added value of industry, duced under Regulations (EEC) No 2080/92, (EC) No 257/99 and (EC)
exports of goods and services (each expressed as% of GDP) and years No 1698/2005 regarding the second to last programming period of
of observation. 2007–2013.
E. Donia et al. / Ecological Engineering 103 (2017) 198–206 201

Table 1
Data used in the regression simple model.

Years Thailand Italy

Forest area Employment in agriculture Forest area Agriculture, value

(% of land area) (% of total employment) (% of land area) added (% of GDP)

1990 38.2646 64.0000 25.8067 3.5075

1991 38.1579 60.3000 26.0715 3.5907
1992 38.0512 60.8000 26.3364 3.4650
1993 37.9446 56.7000 26.6013 3.3202
1994 37.8379 56.0000 26.8661 3.3148
1995 37.7312 52.0000 27.1310 3.3179
1996 37.6245 50.0000 27.3959 3.2983
1997 37.5179 50.3000 27.6607 3.1985
1998 37.4112 51.3000 27.9256 3.0982
1999 37.3045 48.5000 28.1905 3.0278
2000 37.1978 48.8000 28.4553 2.8048
2001 37.1563 46.0000 28.7205 2.6835
2002 37.1148 46.1000 28.9558 2.5792
2003 37.0733 44.9000 29.2480 2.5499
2004 37.0318 42.3000 29.5132 2.5499
2005 36.9904 42.6000 29.7783 2.2142
2006 37.0193 42.1000 30.0435 2.1276
2007 37.0483 41.7000 30.3087 2.0650
2008 37.0773 42.5000 30.5739 2.0354
2009 37.1062 39.0000 30.8391 1.9227
2010 37.1352 38.2000 31.1042 1.8936
2011 37.1642 38.7000 31.3694 1.9920
2012 37.1931 39.6000 31.6346 2.0283

Source: Our elaborations of data available on World Bank’s website.

The forest measures in the regulation also included subsidies

for the afforestation of agricultural areas so as to cover the losses
of income. Their objective was to increase forest areas by reduc-
ing territories destined to agricultural production activities, thus
diversifying rural landscapes while contributing to environmen-
tal protection and climate mitigation. In current programming
(2014–2020), other measures regarding forest areas have been
introduced. The foremost of these establishes direct payments to
farmers. On the part of the latter, there is an obligation to fulfill
certain criteria, such as to destine part of their land to practices of
extensification of agricultural production in terms of ‘greening.’
Nevertheless, in order to obtain these payments, farmers are
required to implement three greening measures according to EU
rules. The greening rules cover three areas − crop diversifica-
tion, Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs), and measures to maintain
permanent grassland. The establishment of EFAs has a significant
potential for forest areas in terms of restocking the landscape of
Fig. 2. Temporal trend of forest areas (% of land area) in Thailand from 1990 to 2012.
hedging and stands as well as creating habitats for fauna. However,
as of yet it is impossible to predict the actual relevance and impact
of these greening efforts (Cesaro and Pettenella, 2013). increasing incomes, the creation of jobs in new emerging sectors
Contrary to Italy, the percentage of forest areas in Thailand as well as remittances from migrants.
underwent a sharp decline during the same time span, despite
beginning to increase as of 2005 (Fig. 2). 3.3. Additional variables
This marked reduction was the result of a number of factors
over time. Until 1953, Thailand had been able to maintain its 60% Besides the above, still other potential causes might offer further
of forest areas thanks to sustainable logging practices and a low insights concerning these trends regards the weight of agricul-
population density. Subsequently, until 1967, the government had ture. In fact, the “natural” evolution of agricultural systems has
opted to support the intensive exploitation of forest resources, with a recognized role in these trends. By and large, the more devel-
the aim of boosting economic development, to the point of overex- oped a country, the lower the economic weight of the agricultural
ploitation, also aggravated by illegal logging practices. sector, both in terms of added value and employment. The evolu-
In spite of the introduction of stricter restrictions imposed tion of agricultural systems tends to advance by successive phases
in 1989 (the well-known “The Logging Ban”) for many years along ideal types as it evolves from traditional systems, which then
Thailand’s forest areas continued to decline (National Report on undergo modernization, ultimately achieving globalized forms of
Protected Areas and Development, 2003). The reduction of forest agriculture (Pingali, 2006). Each ideal type is characterized by spe-
areas remained an on-going process to which contributed other cific structural features, as listed in Table 2.
factors, such as the increase both in population and agricultural Accordingly it performed a multiple regression analysis with the
production for exports. In the country, a significant reduction additional variables for Thailand and Italy, comparing them with
in poverty simultaneously was underway as a result of farmers’ seven others countries: Chile, China, Cuba, the Philippines, Turkey,
France and Germany.
202 E. Donia et al. / Ecological Engineering 103 (2017) 198–206

Fig. 3. Percentage of Protected Areas in Natura 2000 network in different Italian territories (2010).

Table 2
Evolution of agricultural systems from traditional to globalized.

Features Kind of agriculture

Traditional agriculture Modernization of the agriculture Globalized agriculture

GDP AGR/GDP TOT >30% 10% − 30% <10%

EMP AGR/EMP TOT >50% 15% − 50% <15%
Size of market Sudsistence National International
Output mix Basic food Basic food + exportable goods Highly differentiated goods
Economy scales Not important Not important Important

Source: Romano, 2010

The model is as follows:

yt = ˛ + ˇ1tyrs + ˇ2tfat + ˇ3tsert + ˇ4text + ˇ5tint + εt

where yrs is years of observation, yt is agricultural employment

(in terms of% of total employment) in the observation year t; fat
is forest area (% of National land surface area) in the observation
year t; sert is added value of services sector (% of GDP) in the obser-
vation year t; ext is export of goods and services (% of GDP) in the
observation year t; int is the added value relative to the industrial
sector (% of GDP) in the observation year t; ˇit is the impact of the
variable on the agricultural employment (% of total employment),
where i ranges between 1 and 5, and ␣ represents fixed effects on
the economic weight of agriculture.
Generally, the weight of agricultural employment in a country
decreases when the industrial and/or services added values and the
Fig. 4. Relative poverty indexes in different Italian territories in 2010.
exports of goods and/or services become increasingly relevant, in
terms of percentage of GDP, because a greater portion of the labor
force tends to shift towards more emergent sectors. is that the likely net effect of protected areas has been to hinder
both socioeconomic development and agriculture, in contrast to
4. Results and discussion the purported stimulating effect echoed in the literature.
In addition, the results of the regression analysis indicate that
In Italy, the territorial constituents subject to the most strin- coefficient ˇ1 associated with the regressor was negative and
gent protection also have the highest relative poverty index. In highly significant, while the R-squared value was 0.9612. In aggre-
particular, in 2010, the North-West had the least protection and gate these findings indicate that the analytical model demonstrates
the lowest relative poverty index. Vice versa, the South, subject sufficient goodness-of-fit regards the empirical data (Table 3).
to more extensive protection, had a lower relative poverty index Furthermore, model adequacy was inferred via residual analysis
(Figs. 3 and 4). regarding independence, normality and homoscedasticity (Fig. 5).
It seems warranted to assume that in Italy there is a correla- In Italy, therefore, the higher the percentage of forest areas, the
tion between the levels of protection and poverty. The implication lower the agricultural added value.
E. Donia et al. / Ecological Engineering 103 (2017) 198–206 203

Table 3
Results of simple regression model for Italy where dependent variable is added value in agriculture (% of GDP) and the independent variable is forest area (% of land area).


Estimate Std. Error t value Pr (>|t|)

(Intercept) 1,200,993 0.40809 29.43 <2e-16***

Fat (% of forest area) −0.32344 0.01418 −22.8 2.68e-16***
Residual standard error 0.1195 on 21 ◦ of freedom
Multiple R-squared 0.9612
Adjusted R-squared 0.9593
F-statistic 520.1 on 1 and 21 DF
p-value 2.68E-16

Fig. 5. Analysis on the residuals for Thailand.

Table 4
Results of simple regression model for Thailand where dependent variable is employment in agriculture (% of total employment) and the independent variable is forest area
(% of land area).


Estimate Std. Error t value Pr (>|t|)

(Intercept) −603,628 54.402 −11.1 3.04e-10***

Fat (% of Forest area) 17.422 1.455 11.98 7.54e-11***
Signif. Codes: 0 “***” 0.001 “**” 0.01 “*” 0.05“.” 0.1 “” 1
Residual standard error 2.774 on 21 ◦ freedom
Multiple R-squared 0.8723
Adjusted R-squared 0.8662
F-statistic 143.5 on 1 and 21 DF
p-value 7.54E-11

This result had been in part predicted by Figs. 3 and 4 that Results regarding Thailand refer to an agricultural sector that is
showed a positive relation between 15 protection and poverty lev- still quite prominent, responsible for about 40% of total employ-
els. Nevertheless, results of the model for Thailand differed from ment, also creating 12% of total added value in the 2012, i.e.
those for Italy because the coefficient ˇ1 was instead positive and respectively ten-fold and six-fold the percentages in Italy.
highly significant (Table 4), while model adequacy was inferred by In other words, since its economy is still geared towards the
residual analysis (Figs. 6 and 7). exploitation of natural and forest resources, the effectiveness of
Even in this case this relation was predictable based on stud- protective measures is blunted.
ies conducted on Thailand showing a negative relation between The agricultural sector in Italy constitutes only 3.7% of total
poverty and protection levels (Fig. 8). employment and about 2% of added value. The negative relation
204 E. Donia et al. / Ecological Engineering 103 (2017) 198–206

Fig. 8. Regression line between employment in agriculture (% of total employment)

and forest areas (% of land area) for Thailand.

Fig. 6. Regression line between agricultural added value (% GDP) and forest areas
(% of land area) for Italy.

Coefficients are all negative and statistically significant, mean-

between the economic weight of the sector and the percentage of ing that protection determines negative effects on the weight of
forest areas is coherent with the overall consideration, according to agriculture in the economy.
which the management of protected areas has been characterized However, in multiple regression analysis the results could be dif-
by shortcomings. The latter arise from a fundamentally conser- ferent. Indeed for Italy, the coefficient of the independent variable
vative outlook, exclusively concerned with the protection of the fat is no longer negative but positive, whereas the others remained
environment, thus failing to be proactive in terms of promoting negative.
agricultural activities. Vice versa, in Thailand the focus has instead The interpretation is that reductions in employment in agri-
been on the economic importance of the agricultural sector, with culture (% of total employment) reflect the features typical of an
little regard for the environment, which explains the overexploita- agricultural system oriented towards the services sector and to
tion of natural resources. satisfying foreign demand.
The validity of this simple regression model was tested by apply- Also, in Thailand the weight of agricultural employment
ing it to other countries (Tables 5 and 6). depends on the greater shift of workers from agricultural sector

Fig. 7. Analysis of the residuals for Thailand regression model.

E. Donia et al. / Ecological Engineering 103 (2017) 198–206 205

Table 5
Results of the simple regression model between employment in agriculture (% of total employment), i.e. the dependent variable, and forest area (% of land area), i.e. the
independent variable, for seven others countries (Chile, China, Cuba, France, Germany, the Philippines, Turkey).

fat Adjusted R-squared t value Pr(> |t|)

Chile −5.747 0.946739317 −19.3465 2.03E-14***

China −3.84452 0.933996 −17.2674 1.75E-13***
Cuba −1.03792 0.753636877 −7.88549 2.07E-07***
France −1.05366 0.939087531 −18.4438 1.88E-14***
Germany −2.09567 0.793735165 −9.04494 1.66E-08***
Philippine −3.44234 0.926278836 −16.656 1.4E-13***
Turkey −10.6827 0.943186431 −19.1372 9.04E-15***

Table 6
Results of multiple regression analysis. The independent variable is employment in agriculture (% of total employment) and the dependent variables are: yt which is
agricultural employment (% of total employment) in the observation year t; fat is forest area (% of National land surface area); sert is added value of services sector (% of
GDP); ext is export of goods and services (% of GDP); int is added value of industrial sector (% of GDP).

yrs fat ser ex in p-value Adjusted R-squared

Chile −0.2463 −4.11131 0.12209 0.16696 0.04682 1.79E-14*** 0.9828

China −1.32074 −1.79305 1.05712 0.16059 −0.14749 1.161E-15*** 0.9878
Cuba 8.93E-01 −3.39E + 00 1.83E-01 1.48E-02 3.00E-01 3.331E-05*** 0.7652
France −0.14395 0.66714 −0.09075 −0.05671 0.07426 1.404E-10*** 0.9374
Germany −0.18994 −0.32185 0.51886 0.0615 0.49313 6.451E-14*** 0.9798
Italy −7.12E + 01 2.69E + 02 −7.73E-01 −1.97E-01 −2.89E-01 1.653E-12*** 0.963
Philippine 8.77E + 01 −4.79E + 02 −6.64E-01 −6.39E-02 −2.91E-01 2.788E-14*** 0.9772
Thailand −0.97348 12.09328 −0.16848 0.28615 −0.17057 2.947E-15*** 0.9825
Turkey −0.7831 −1.9785 −0.2914 0.2176 0.267 3.944E-12*** 0.959

to other service and industrial sectors, even though the coefficient Given the novel conceptualization of the mission of parks and
of forest areas remains positive. the innovative functions of agriculture, in particular, the condi-
tions are set for this change. In line with sustainable development,
agricultural enterprises should develop a host of functions (i.e. mul-
tifunctionality), thus creating positive externalities for the benefit
5. Conclusion
of the environment, the territory and the social and cultural con-
texts as well.
The overall effects of protected areas are not univocal, especially
Nevertheless, multifunctionality must also become an integral
when considered from the point of the agricultural sector, and may
facet of corporate strategy, as well as becoming a way of promoting
vary markedly among territories.
the diversification of the supply. These aspects seem increasingly
With reference to the simple relation between the weight of
necessary at present to satisfy an evolving demand that bears little
agriculture and forests areas, the results are contrasting, largely
resemblance to that of the past.
depending on how lands are managed, that is by merely passive
conservation, without promoting agricultural activities or, on the
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