In Southern Italy, studies dealing with the analysis of multidecadal land-use changes at the basin scale are scarce. This is an important gap, considering the deep interrelationships between land-use changes, soil erosion, and river dynamics, and hazards at the basin scale and the proneness of Southern Italy to desertification. This study provides a contribution in filling this gap by analyzing the land-use changes occurring in an inner area of Southern Italy, i.e., the Calore River basin, between 1960 and 2018. Working to this aim, we conducted a GIS-aided comparison and analysis of three land-use maps of the study area from 1960, 1990, and 2018, respectively. We analyzed land-use changes at the basin, physiographic unit, and land-use class scale. We also interpreted the results in terms of variations in soil protection against erosion. Most of the detected land-use changes occurred between 1960 and 1990 and mainly consisted of the afforestation of agricultural lands. The latter was mainly concentrated in the alluvial plains and, to a lesser extent, on mountainous reliefs. In contrast, between 1990 and 2018, the land-use remained unchanged in more than 90% of the studied landscape. Artificial surfaces increased by about six times over a period of ~60 years; notwithstanding, they currently occupy about 4% of the basin area. The detected changes led to an overall increase in soil protection against erosion at the basin scale.
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