The island of Sardinia (Italy), due to its particular geographical position and its extreme climatic events, such as droughts and floods, can be considered a representative area for the typical environmental problems of the Mediterranean Basin. In particular, the landscape morphology and the climate make the island’s soils very fragile and sensitive to degradation under any land use change which does not properly take into account the soil properties. Due to this, the problem of soil degradation is of great concern to the island and the subject has been widely investigated over the last decades within the framework of national and international researches and projects. The findings have shown anthropogenic factors to be the leading cause of soil degradation. Therefore, land planning at different levels is viewed as the key issue in preventing and mitigating soil degradation in the island of Sardinia. To fulfill this purpose, the planning processes must be based on an accurate inventory of the natural resources, including soil, on their evaluation and on the definition of alternative, suitable use. Nowadays, the only available regional soil inventories are the Soil Map of Sardinia, at scale 1:250,000, and the Soil Map of the Irrigable Areas of Sardinia, at scale 1:100,000. The scale of these two soil maps is not adequate for local land planning strategies. Consequently, a new project, funded by the Sardinia Region (DGR n. 56/36, 29.12.2009), for the realisation of a “Land Unit and Soil Capability Map of Sardinia”, at scale 1:50,000, has recently started.
The purpose of this paper is to present the methodology which will be used for the preparation of this new map.