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Evaluating the Landscape Capacity of Protected Rural Areas to Host Photovoltaic Parks in Sicily

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DOI: 10.4236/nr.2013.47057    3,473 Downloads   5,127 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

This paper uses the LCA (Landscape Character Assessment) manuals produced by the Countryside Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage to develop a method for analysing the characteristics of the landscape and its ability to host photovoltaic parks. The method was tested on a site which is part of the Natura 2000 network in Sicily, where the different needs of high quality agricultural land, scenery of great natural value and human activities compete with one another. The evaluation of the landscapes capacity to absorb the changes was effectuated by defining criteria which take into consideration the possible impact of photovoltaic sites on the landscape. These criteria were used to evaluate the sensitivity of the characteristics of the landscape as well as its quality and value, and the visual impact of the proposed changes. Most of the Landscape Units were found to be not suitable for photovoltaic parks because of the high value of the land. However, protected agricultural land, mainly used for greenhouses, has a medium to high capacity to host photovoltaic plants, and if these are correctly planned, this could help to lower the sensitivity levels.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

L. Carullo, P. Russo, L. Riguccio and G. Tomaselli, "Evaluating the Landscape Capacity of Protected Rural Areas to Host Photovoltaic Parks in Sicily," Natural Resources, Vol. 4 No. 7, 2013, pp. 460-472. doi: 10.4236/nr.2013.47057.

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