Identification of Optimal Mechanization Processes for Harvesting Hazelnuts Based on Geospatial Technologies in Sicily (Southern Italy)
Sicily is a region located in the southern Italy. Its typical Mediterranean landscape is appreciated due to its high biodiversity. Specifically, hazelnut plantations have adapted in a definite area in Sicily (the Nebroidi park) due to specific morphological and climatic characteristics. However, many of these plantations are not used today due to adverse conditions, both to collect hazelnuts and to reach hazel groves. Though a geospatial analysis, the present paper aims to identify which hazelnut contexts can be actively used for agricultural, economic (e.g., introduction of a circular economy) and energetic purposes (to establish a potential agro-energetic district). The examination revealed the most suitable areas giving several criteria (e.g., slope, road system), ensuring an effective cultivation and consequent harvesting of hazelnuts and (ii) providing security for the operators since many of hazelnut plants are placed in very sloped contexts that are difficult to reach by traditional machines. In this sense, this paper also suggests optimal mechanization processes for harvesting hazelnuts in this part of Sicily.