The Ecological Approach to Landscape Planning for Agricultural Products Valorization. The history and the natural and environmental heritage of a territory mark its local products. As a result, farmers are increasingly interested in linking their products to the image of production sites, tradition and nature and in offering new services aimed at spreading the knowledge of the territory and of the peasant culture and tradition. This has led to the flourishing of a multitude of activities and initiatives which relate produces to landscape, thus exalting the values of both elements. Farmers are aware that this is the best way to add value to their production and that production excellence can be achieved also through targeted marketing actions. Agricultural support policies should take into account these new needs and aim at the development of local resources. Therefore, the availability of proper planning tools is crucial, since they should allow to design and plan interventions which can meet the needs of tourists as well as those of the normal agricultural production and of environmental sustainability. The knowledge of the resources and of the local cultural, environmental and historical heritage, which should be properly regenerated and reused, enables the creation of an ecofriendly system for the fruition and visit of the territory. To that end, this paper proposes a model for planning and designing infrastructural systems for the fruition of the diffuse rural heritage. The model has been developed on a GIS platform and is partly based on the use of specific environmental and territorial indicators that, by means of numerical procedures, allow to analyze and evaluate the environmental quality and the degree of attraction towards a specific kind of rural tourism. Moreover, they allow to plan a network of pathways optimized in relation to the different categories of users. Although this paper proposes a general formulation of the model, its validation has been carried out by using a purpose-made Territorial Information System in an area of the Plain of Gioia Tauro, Calabria, characterized by the widespread presence of old water mills.
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