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Agroforestry landscapes in the Mediterranean Basin have emerged in a co-evolution between humans and nature and provide numerous ecosystem services to society. Tree crops are iconic elements of these landscapes and have frequently been managed in a sustainable way over centuries, shaping multifunctional landscapes and local people's cultural identities. However, many Mediterranean tree-crop landscapes are undergoing substantial land-use changes, threatening important ecosystem services as a result. The overarching goal of this study is to explore common and diverging patterns of land-use change across different tree crops (oaks, chestnuts, olives) and contrasting landscapes in the Mediterranean Basin over a 200-year period. Specifically, we aim to: (1) describe the dominant land-use change processes across these three crop types using three exemplary sites per crop; and (2) identify and classify the main drivers that determine these landscapes' land change histories. We find a general acceleration of landscape dynamics and identify expansion, continuity, polarisation, intensifica-tion, abandonment and renaissance as dominant processes. Although each landscape history is contextualised, we observe a general trend from multifunctional tree-crop landscapes (expansion) towards intensification or abandonment in the last 70 years. The landscapes of the southern fringe of the Mediterranean Basin show predominant trends towards intensification, while the northern landscapes evolve towards abandonment. The driving forces identified are diverse and interrelated, comprising sets of socio-cultural, political, technical, economic and natural factors. We offer some key lessons for sustainable landscape management in highlighting the undervalued potential of tree crops, the inherent complexity of landscapes, the interdependencies of drivers and the importance of economic and socio-cultural driving forces.
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Sustainability Science (2020) 15:1267–1283
Exploring land‑use histories oftree‑crop landscapes: across‑site
comparison intheMediterranean Basin
FranziskaWolpert1· CristinaQuintas‑Soriano1· TobiasPlieninger1,2
Received: 7 November 2019 / Accepted: 13 April 2020 / Published online: 2 May 2020
© The Author(s) 2020
Agroforestry landscapes in the Mediterranean Basin have emerged in a co-evolution between humans and nature and provide
numerous ecosystem services to society. Tree crops are iconic elements of these landscapes and have frequently been man-
aged in a sustainable way over centuries, shaping multifunctional landscapes and local people’s cultural identities. However,
many Mediterranean tree-crop landscapes are undergoing substantial land-use changes, threatening important ecosystem
services as a result. The overarching goal of this study is to explore common and diverging patterns of land-use change
across different tree crops (oaks, chestnuts, olives) and contrasting landscapes in the Mediterranean Basin over a 200-year
period. Specifically, we aim to: (1) describe the dominant land-use change processes across these three crop types using
three exemplary sites per crop; and (2) identify and classify the main drivers that determine these landscapes’ land change
histories. We find a general acceleration of landscape dynamics and identify expansion, continuity, polarisation, intensifica-
tion, abandonment and renaissance as dominant processes. Although each landscape history is contextualised, we observe
a general trend from multifunctional tree-crop landscapes (expansion) towards intensification or abandonment in the last
70years. The landscapes of the southern fringe of the Mediterranean Basin show predominant trends towards intensifica-
tion, while the northern landscapes evolve towards abandonment. The driving forces identified are diverse and interrelated,
comprising sets of socio-cultural, political, technical, economic and natural factors. We offer some key lessons for sustainable
landscape management in highlighting the undervalued potential of tree crops, the inherent complexity of landscapes, the
interdependencies of drivers and the importance of economic and socio-cultural driving forces.
Keywords Agroforestry· Driving forces· Land management history· Landscape change· Tree crops· Sustainable
landscape management
The landscapes of the Mediterranean Basin are not only
shaped by different climatic, topographic and geologic cir-
cumstances but are also strongly interconnected by human
culture and common land management practices (Blon-
del 2006). Mediterranean landscapes have been described
as complex and adaptive systems that co-evolve through
human-nature interactions, creating the ecological as well
as social foundations to provide multiple ecosystem services
(Martín-López etal. 2016). Different types of land use as
well as various management intensities create a mosaic of
diverse landscape types and hence habitats for vast biodi-
versity (Blondel 2010, UNEP/MAP 2016). In particular,
Mediterranean tree-crop systems maintain multiple ecosys-
tem services compared to annual arable agriculture, which
Agroforestry forSustainable Landscape Management
Handled by José Muñoz-Rojas, Universidade de Évora, Portugal.
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this
article (https :// 5-020-00806 -w) contains
supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
* Franziska Wolpert
1 Faculty ofOrganic Agricultural Sciences, University
ofKassel, Steinstraße 19, 37213Witzenhausen, Germany
2 Department ofAgricultural Economics andRural
Development, University ofGöttingen, Platz der Göttinger
Sieben 5, 37073Göttingen, Germany
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1268 Sustainability Science (2020) 15:1267–1283
1 3
is disturbance-based and thus often associated with sus-
tainability challenges such as high water run-off rates, net
soil loss through erosion and/or nutrient and carbon losses
(Crews etal. 2016; Martín-López etal. 2016). The Medi-
terranean Basin harbours iconic tree-crop landscapes that
have been formed by traditional management over centu-
ries (Grove and Rackham 2001). Characteristically, these
landscapes consist of scattered trees with a diverse, grazed
and/or cultivated understorey, which are often located on
nutrient-poor and dry soils and are well-known for their spe-
cies diversity (Olea and San Miguel-Ayanz 2006). The oak
tree-crop landscapes of the Iberian Peninsula, called dehe-
sas in Spain and montados in Portugal, are famous exam-
ples of such systems. Other landscape-shaping tree crops in
the Mediterranean include pine nuts, chestnuts, beechnuts
and olives (Grove and Rackham 2001). These systems are
used to obtain multiple goods and services, including food,
firewood, leaves and understorey as food for livestock and
material for handicraft. Thus, tree-crop landscapes contrib-
ute in multiple ways to local people’s well-being and play a
key role in their cultural identity (Kizos and Koulouri 2006;
Infante-Amate and Molina 2013).
In the last few decades, Mediterranean landscapes have
frequently experienced polarisation in their development: on
the one hand industrialisation and/or intensification of land
management, for example through increased inputs of agro-
chemicals and mechanisation; and on the other hand aban-
donment of land, for example through the migration of rural
people to urban areas (Jones etal. 2011). Both processes
may lead to a loss of biodiversity and a decline in the pro-
vision of ecosystem services, including important cultural
services such as cultural heritage or spiritual and aesthetic
values (Bugalho etal. 2011; Plieninger etal. 2016). Sustain-
able landscape management (i.e. a holistic approach promot-
ing a landscape’s long-term capacity to provide a variety
of ecosystem services) represents one major approach to
addressing these pressures, and agroforestry especially has
recently received growing scientific and policy interest as
part of broader sustainable landscape management strategies
(Plieninger etal. 2015; Sanz etal. 2017).
An important foundation of future-oriented landscape
management strategies is a thorough understanding of past
land-use systems (Antrop 2005; Black etal. 1998; Palang
etal. 2005). In particular, a better knowledge of past tree-
crop landscapes and their dynamics may offer inspiration
for future decisions on Mediterranean land uses. Compari-
sons of historical approaches are increasingly used to inform
landscape science and practice (e.g. Acha and Newing 2015).
However, there is a research gap in cross-site comparisons
to investigate landscape histories and the driving forces of
landscape change over longer time frames (Frattaroli etal.
2014; Jepsen etal. 2015). Furthermore, knowledge about the
complex interactions of socio-cultural, political, technical,
economic and natural drivers remains scant (Bürgi etal.
2004; Plieninger etal. 2016). Therefore, this study aims to
provide knowledge and insights into the complexity of land-
scape history. We analyse the landscape histories of the last
200years for three key Mediterranean tree crops (olives,
cork and chestnuts) in three contrasting Mediterranean land-
scapes. Our specific goals are to: (1) explore the history of
change processes in tree-crop landscapes through the devel-
opment of narratives; and (2) identify and classify the main
drivers of change acting on these landscapes. Finally, we
discuss and derive a series of key lessons for sustainable
landscape management.
Tree crops intheMediterranean region
We selected three iconic tree crops of the Mediterranean
region that shape landscapes, represent important resources
for human subsistence and have been sustained over a long
time span, namely cork oaks (Quercus suber), chestnuts
(Castanea sativa) and olives (Olea europea)(Fig.1). These
landscapes represent a wide range of land-use intensities and
are closely interwoven with the socio-economic and cultural
histories of the people living in these landscapes.
Cork oak is limited to the Western Mediterranean Basin
(Stockwell 1947). The landscapes are characterised by wide-
spread pastures with scattered oak trees, occurring either in
pure stands or mixed with holm oaks (Quercus ilex). Cork
oaks have been grown for multiple uses, but the main and
most desirable product is the outer bark of the tree. It can be
harvested every nine years and is regenerated in that time by
the tree. Cork oak is adapted to poor and dry soil conditions
but demands a lot of light and is therefore naturally replaced
by other trees as soon as light becomes scarce (Grove and
Rackham 2001).
Chestnuts are long-lived trees that are often landscape-
forming. Their high yield and their nutrient composition
facilitate their use as a staple food as an alternative to
grain. Therefore, in many cultures chestnuts are referred to
as ‘bread trees’ (Tagliaferri and Di Lonardo 2016). Their
fruits are often used as food, their wood for construction and
heating and the tannic acid they contain for tanning leather
(Perry 1967).
Olives are assumed to be the most traditional tree crop
in the Mediterranean Basin. In fact, the existence of olive
trees was frequently used to define the border of the Mediter-
ranean region. From antiquity to the present day, olive cul-
tivation has been widespread and has shaped many cultural
landscapes in this area (Cecchini etal. 2019). Olives have
formed the basis of many people’s livelihoods, most notably
by providing olive oil (Kizos and Koulouri 2006).
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1269Sustainability Science (2020) 15:1267–1283
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Landscape andliterature selection
For each crop, we chose three landscapes distributed across
different countriesand dominated by the respective crop. We
selected these landscapes and the corresponding literature
as follows. In the first step, we searched the Web of Science
and Google Scholar databases for each tree crop in combi-
nation with the different Mediterranean countries (i.e. we
searched for “chestnut” and “Spain”) to identify potential
case study landscapes in the countries of the Mediterranean
Basin. We chose the landscapes to identify landscape change
processes and driving forces and examined the suitability
of available publications for that purpose. We selected the
landscapes with the best availability of literature on land-
scape history as our case studies. In the second step, we
used the same databases to search for the keyword combi-
nation “landscape” and “crop” (i.e. we searched for “chest-
nut” and “Corsica” and worked through the first 200 studies
returned by Google Scholar and all studies found in the Web
of Science). We complemented the findings with relevant
literature from the previous search as well as by snowball-
ing. We used the framework of driving forces (short: driv-
ers) to describe the reasons behind landscape change (cf.
Bürgi etal. 2004) and diligently selected four to six key
papers to compile regional landscape histories. We priori-
tised publications by different authors over multiple pub-
lications by the same author but ultimately selected those
publications with the most relevance. We chose contrasting
landscape histories regarding the main processes and driv-
ers and covered as many different countries and cultures as
possible. To do so, we picked one Southern Mediterranean
country and two Northern Mediterranean ones for each crop
(Fig.2). Given that literature for the southern fringe of the
Mediterranean Basin was scant, we additionally conducted
one expert interview (with university-based experts with
profound knowledge of the particular crop and landscape)
for each of the three landscapes. The case study regions for
cork landscapes were Alentejo in Portugal, the Kroumerie-
Mogod Mountains in Tunisia and Extremadura in Spain. The
chestnut landscapes comprised Corsica in France, the North-
ern Apennines in Italy and the Aegean region of Turkey.
For olive landscapes, we chose Lesvos in Greece, Baena in
Spain and the Rif region of Morocco. Interpretations of the
boundaries of each landscape were based on the information
and spatial references of the primary publications. In our
cases, the landscapes were either defined by administrative
units or by natural borders (Table1).
The focus of our research was on the landscape scale,
but we considered drivers of different scales from local
to global levels. We chose a time span from 1800 to the
present, as this represents a relatively long time frame for
which good evidence is available. Indeed, short time frames
are disadvantageous because it is difficult to differentiate
between parallel occurring drivers and their effects (Jepsen
etal. 2015).
Landscape histories, processes anddriving forces
We first compiled a model narrative for one of the land-
scapes. This template was then used to compile narratives
for all nine study landscapes (see Supplementary Mate-
rial). Once these were written and harmonised among
each other, we started a more systematic approach of
classifying changes into processes and categorising driv-
ers. For each landscape and period, we synthesised the
main process and the main driving forces behind it and
compiled a summary of each of the landscape narratives.
A landscape process is defined here as the time period
in which the landscape (shaped by a tree crop) undergoes
a specific prevalent process related to the main crop. For
example, if the extent of the chestnut landscape increases
on Corsica, the landscape process of Corsica in that time
period is “expansion”. We must emphasise that a land-
scape does not exist as a fixed state, but rather is always
in a co-evolving process of humans and nature and there-
fore can be defined as a “process”. The turning point from
one “process” to another is the moment at which there is
a shift in the prevalence of the process. We illustrated the
Fig. 1 Examples of tree-crop landscapes in the Mediterranean Basin. Left: Cork oak landscape in Alentejo, Portugal (picture by Tobias
Plieninger); Centre: Chestnut landscape in the Northern Apennines, Italy (picture by Johannes Schantl); Right: Olive landscape in the Rif region
of Morocco (picture by Tobias Plieninger)
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1270 Sustainability Science (2020) 15:1267–1283
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landscape processes in a timeline to explore differences
as well as common patterns across distinct landscapes.
For each landscape process, we extracted the driv-
ing forces and depicted them in a table. We used five
categories of drivers: socio-cultural, technical, political,
economic and natural (modified from Bürgi etal. 2004).
For each of the six landscape processes, we evaluated
the proportional contribution of each category of driving
forces to the process. As an example, we considered all
processes of “abandonment” across all landscapes and
examined the proportion of natural driving forces com-
pared to the other categories. This enabled us to ascer-
tain whether there was any pattern in the distribution of
drivers regarding the processes. The results are displayed
in the following ways: (a) short summaries of the nine
landscape histories; (b) systematic comparison of the
change processes in different periods; and (c) systematic
comparison of the driving forces of landscape change.
Nine comprehensive narratives of tree-crop landscape
histories serve as the basis for the compiled narratives
summarising the main processes and driving forces of
landscape change (Supplementary Material).
Tree‑crop landscapes
Cork oak cultivation
Cork oak in Alentejo, Portugal Before 1820, cork oaks
did not play a major role for people in Alentejo. From the
1820s to the 1950s, the cork oak landscape (called montado)
underwent a period of expansion, promoted by the liberali-
sation of the markets. Multiple demands on the use of cork
landscapes and new technological advancements in the cork
processing sector enhanced the profitability of the monta-
dos for land managers. At this time, the montados shaped
people’s cultural identity. In the period from 1950 to the
present, there was a polarisation of land use in the cork oak
landscape: market liberalisationand the resultant decline in
profitability led to the abandonment of less productive sites,
whereas the most productive sites were cultivated even more
intensively. These developments were additionally fostered
by the use of agrochemicals and the over-exploitation of
the landscape. A labour shortage due to outmigration fur-
ther accelerated this evolution. In particular, in recent years
droughts and pests have applied further pressures on the
cork oak landscapes.
Cork oak inExtremadura, Spain Cork oak landscapes con-
stitute a traditional form of land use in Spain and have been
used for multiple goods as a major source of livelihoods.
Fig. 2 Location of the nine
tree-crop landscapes across the
Mediterranean Basin
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1271Sustainability Science (2020) 15:1267–1283
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In the period from the 1800s to the 1950s, the cork oak
landscape of Extremadura expanded. Among other reasons,
the turmoil that resulted from the Napoleonic Wars and the
associated abandonment of the pastures facilitated cork
oak’s expansion in south-western Spain, as the absence of
livestock allowed young cork oaks to become established.
Moreover, the over-exploitation of other crops like vines
leached the soil and necessitated the use of less demanding
crops like cork. The rising demand for cork combined with
market liberalisation increased the profitability of cork pro-
duction in the second half of the nineteenth century. Popula-
tion growth as well as a privatisation wave further fostered
this evolution in the first half of the twentieth century. How-
ever, the situation changed from the 1950s to the 1990s with
the polarisation of land use, primarily driven by industri-
alisation (e.g. the input of agrochemicals) and the related
loss of profitability of traditional production. During this
period, fertile areas were intensified and often converted to
intensive agricultural croplands, whereas steeper and unfer-
tile areas were abandoned. Outmigration led to even greater
polarisation. However, agricultural subsidies supported cork
production and some conservation measures prohibited tree
felling which, despite some considerable losses, ultimately
saved vast areas of cork oak landscape. The renaissance of
the cork oak landscape began in the 1990s and is still taking
place today. It has been driven by conservation programmes
that support the traditional management and replanting of
oak trees. Nowadays, new marketing strategies, such as the
labelling of “organic agriculture” ora “protected designa-
tion of origin”, further enhance the profitability of other
landscape products like ham while contributing to multi-
Cork oak intheKroumerie‑Mogod Mountains, Tunisia Tuni-
sia’s cork oak history is rather young: cork oak landscapes
were planted around 1860 and were first harvested in the
1880s. The land covered by cork oak (and therefore also
the exploited cork) is state-owned. Nevertheless, these
landscapes have offered multiple goods and subsistence to
locals. The 1930s until the 1950s saw the intensification
and the over-exploitation of the cork landscape, driven by
new government restrictions on what was previously free
utilisation (e.g. of firewood) by locals. These restrictions
as well as droughts threatened local livelihoods and led to
the disregard of these laws. Since the 1950s, there has been
an ongoing decline of cork oak landscapes, mainly driven
by population increase connected with over-exploitation,
which has prevented tree and grass regeneration. Given that
locals are allowed to engage in grazing, there has been an
ongoing conversion to treeless rangelands. Furthermore,
natural forces like droughts and fire have played a major role
as driving forces of abandonment.
Chestnut cultivation
Chestnuts inCorsica, France In Corsica, chestnuts have not
only represented a natural resource for multiple purposes
and a key component of local livelihoods, but also an impor-
tant part of cultural identity, expressed for example through
the traditional craft products developed by local people.
French rule aimed to defame chestnuts as a staple food. It
labelled chestnut as “the food of laziness” and restricted
chestnut growing to undermine Corsicans’ quest for inde-
pendence. However, this restriction did not stop the cultiva-
tion of chestnuts and ultimately made Corsicans more aware
of their independence from global food systems. Chestnut
cultivation became a symbol of resistance and Corsican
freedom. From the 1850s, the chestnut culture collapsed and
chestnut cultivation was increasingly abandoned for multi-
ple reasons. One driver was the changing lifestyle of the
people on the French mainland and the desire of Corsicans
to adapt to this. An outmigration wave commenced, result-
ing in Corsicans migrating to the French mainland and other
European countries. World War 1st and 2nd led to worker
shortages for the harvest season. In addition, chestnut dis-
eases (mainly chestnut blight and ink disease) reduced the
number of chestnut stands, while economic profitability
suffered from the opening up of the market and resultant
greater competition. During the 1980s, the chestnut land-
scape began to undergo a period of renaissance, driven by
local initiatives that revived the chestnut culture and the
related economy, buttressed by technological progress in
processing (e.g. shell-opening machines). To date, there
have been tensions between the aim of multifunctional and
diverse traditional systems and less diverse, economically
more profitable production systems, the former often being
more labour-intensive.
Chestnuts in the Northern Apennines, Italy Traditional
culture in the Northern Apennines has been closely linked
to chestnut cultivation as a staple crop. The entirety of the
nineteenth century was a period of the expansion of chest-
nut cultivation, driven by population growth. In this region,
chestnuts were grown for multiple uses (e.g. food, fodder
for animals, heating) within subsistence agriculture, but also
constituted a profitable trading good. From the 1900s until
the present day, a period of abandonment of the chestnut
landscape emerged, driven by multiple forces. Increasing
pest pressure and hence high tree damage and yield losses
have led to a reduction in profitability. Simultaneously, the
changing lifestyle of the local population has led to outmi-
gration and a loss of interest in chestnut cultivation. In the
last decade, the preservation of local knowledge about chest-
nut management and the prevalence of cultural connections
to chestnuts as well as rising consumer interest have given
hope for a renaissance of the chestnut culture and landscape.
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1272 Sustainability Science (2020) 15:1267–1283
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Chestnuts in the Aegean region, Turkey From ancient
times up to the middle of the twentieth century, chestnut
landscapes prospered in the Aegean region of Turkey. They
contributed as a profitable good to locals’ livelihoods for
multiple purposes, such as by constituting an importance
source of food, timber and honey. However, since the begin-
ning of the twenty-first century, the land use of chestnut
stands became polarised across the region. The demand for
chestnuts in Turkey was higher than the supply, but it was
risky to plant traditional chestnut trees that are not resistant
to widespread diseases. High demand for chestnuts led to a
transformation of chestnut landscapes to industrial produc-
tion as well as the abandonment of marginal areas owing
to a lack of profitability. To control the diseases that were
threatening chestnut cultivation, the state restricted the
management of chestnuts to local people in nature reserves.
However, this prevented people from removing infested
trees, which enhanced the spread of the disease problems
and further instigated abandonment. Although local peo-
ple have increased the sustainability of chestnut stands by
developing small-scale agriculture and fostering tree health,
more work-intensive, small-scale agriculture is no longer
profitable because of the competition posed by global mar-
kets. This presents an uncertain future for the conservation
of these landscapes.
Olive crop landscapes
Olives onLesvos, Greece On the Greek island of Lesvos,
olive cultivation expanded from 1800 until the 1920s. At
this time economic development and population growth
combined with high demand for olive oil promoted olive
cultivation. Technological developments in the transport
sector supported this evolution, meeting overseas demand.
An intensification process of olive land use started in the
1920s and persisted until the 1970s. It was driven by an
economic crisis and associated outmigration to the main-
land. Unlike other land uses (e.g. annual crop cultivation),
olive production remained in demand and profitable. How-
ever, the use was specialised on olive oil production instead
of multiple demands. Since the 1970s, olive cultivation is
no longer profitable. Therefore, there has been an ongoing
abandonment process, driven by the low profitability of
olive cultivation and reinforced by an economic crisis, out-
migration and a lack of appreciation of farming related to
a changing lifestyle. However, this process has been some-
what offset by the cultural connectedness of farmers to their
olive trees, continuing to grow them despite their uncertain
Olives in Baena, Spain In the period 1800–1820, olive
growing continued as before, representing an aspect of local
livelihoods and an important tree species within diverse
agroforestry systems. From the 1820s to the 1930s, olive
cultivation was intensified and expanded simultaneously.
This process was fostered by the liberalisation of global
markets and a resulting economic crisis. Olives were valued
for their versatility (e.g. table olives, olive oil, fodder for
animals, wood) as well as general demand in global mar-
kets, increasing their profitability. These developments were
further reinforced by the privatisation of land, population
growth and the mechanisation of land management. In the
period from 1936 to 1975, the disorder of the Spanish Civil
War led to the temporary abandonment of olive cultivation.
From 1975 until the present day, there has been a second
wave of intensification and expansion of olive cultivation,
bringing large-scale olive monocultures to the contempo-
rary landscape of Baena with a particular emphasis on olive
oil production. This process has been driven by high demand
for olive oil and the considerable profitability of olive culti-
vation, reinforced by subsidies. Mechanisation and the input
of agrochemicals have also increased in recent decades.
Olives inthe Rif region, Morocco As a staple food source,
olive landscapes have continuously contributed to the liveli-
hoods of local people in the Rif region of northern Morocco.
In this region, olives have been used for multiple purposes,
such as for fruit consumption, oil, wood harvesting for heat-
ing and as a fodder source for livestock. From the 1910s,
olive cultivation expanded due to the privatisation of land
and as people converted forests into olive agroforestry sys-
tems, fearing that political will would transform their forests
into state- or public-owned land. From 1956 the olive land-
scape of northern Morocco underwent a process of inten-
sification. The main driving force was the global demand
for olive oil and the Moroccan government’s running and
financing of programmes to enhance olive production to
supply global markets. However, industrialisation and the
specialisation on olive oil production have engendered vari-
ous problems, such as vitality losses of olive trees and lower
productivity, for example the fact that tree nurseries cut the
tap-roots, which does not allow the trees to reach ground-
Processes oflandscape change
We have identified and characterised six distinct processes
of change in the chosen Mediterranean landscapes:
Expansion. A tree-crop landscape that is flourishing
and growing in its extent as well as in its importance for
human use.
Continuity. A landscape that is not significantly chang-
ing but rather remaining in the same state over a period
of time. The tree crop is either still one of many trees or
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1273Sustainability Science (2020) 15:1267–1283
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already enjoys a certain level of importance, depending
on the landscape.
Polarisation. Concurrent processes of abandonment on
less fertile, steeper places as well as intensification on
fertile zones.
Abandonment. A tree-crop landscape that is undergoing
a process of decreasing inputs as well as outputs.
Intensification. A tree-crop landscape whose manage-
ment has resulted in an increased yield per area. This
often but does not necessarily coincide with an inten-
sified use of industrial inputs, such as machinery and
Renaissance. The process of returning to expansion fol-
lowing a phase of abandonment, intensification or polari-
Figure3 shows the different processes for each of the
nine landscapes between 1800 and the present. A general
trend that has been observed was an increased dynamic in
land change processes in the last century compared to pre-
viously. It is noteworthy that in all landscapes, sooner or
later there was a time of expansion. However, this process
was interrupted by either abandonment, intensification or
both (polarisation) between 1850 and 1970. Recently, the
cork landscape in Extremadura and the chestnut landscape
in Corsica have evolved towards renaissance.
Driving forces
Table2 shows the main driving forces for each period in
whicha certain process has proved prevalent in each of the
nine landscapes. Some drivers have repeatedly led to par-
ticular processes. The profitability of the crop for land man-
agers, population growth, multiple demands for tree uses
(e.g. food, timber, fodder), being a part of local livelihoods
and shaping cultural identities have represented the main
drivers of expansion. However, uncommon reasons for the
expansion of a tree-crop landscape have also emerged, such
as in Morocco, where political reforms and community deci-
sions have led to the expansion of the olive landscape, even
though most people would prefer a landscape with more
diverse agroforestry systems.
Pests and diseases stand out as a very severe driver as
they have always been accompanied by reduced profitabil-
ity or an economic crisis and have mainly affected chestnut
landscapes. While population growth has often seemed to be
a driver of expansion, outmigration has typically led to the
abandonment. Missing profitability, agrochemicals, market
liberalisation, outmigration, pests and diseases as well as
land-use restrictions have proved to be the main drivers of
polarisation. The simplification of land use has often led to a
process of intensification, but it can also drive abandonment.
Most processes have been driven by multiple interrelated
factors, although for some only a few or even just one driv-
ing force has been responsible (e.g. the abandonment of the
olive landscape in Spain was the result of the Civil War).
Counterintuitively, war may lead to a rise (expansion) and
a fall (abandonment) of a landscape, as seen for the olive
landscape in Baena, Spain (abandonment) and the cork oak
landscape in Extremadura, Spain (expansion).
We can allocate the driving forces into five categories:
socio-cultural, political, technical, economic and natural.
The socio-cultural category contains the highest number
of individual drivers, followed by political and economic
drivers. Natural and technical drivers present a smaller
number of individual drivers (Table3).
For each of the six landscape processes (i.e. expansion,
continuity, polarisation, intensification, abandonment,
renaissance) we may depict the proportional contribu-
tion of the driving force categories to the process of land-
scape change (Fig.4). Socio-cultural drivers have played
a major role across the six landscape processes. This is
particularly the case for continuity, expansion and aban-
donment. Technical drivers have not emerged as drivers
for continuity and abandonment, whereas natural driving
forces only contribute to abandonment, polarisation and
Fig. 3 Historical periods of the nine tree-crop landscapes from 1800 until present
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1274 Sustainability Science (2020) 15:1267–1283
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Table 1 Tree-crop landscape features and key publications used
n.a. information not available, inh. inhabitants
Crop type Landscape Landscape
Tree crop cover Population
Ownership structure Landscape
Key publications
Cork Alentejo (Portugal) Administrative
31,550 In some regions the montados
are dominated by cork oak
22.5 Large estates, privately
Lowlands Costa etal. (2009), Fonseca (2003),
Jones etal. (2011), Muñoz-Rojas
etal. (2019), Pinto-Correia and Mas-
carenhas (1999) and Pinto-Correia
etal. (2019)
n.a Dominating tree species about 130 State-owned Mountains Campos etal. (2007, 2008, 2014),
Zapata (2009) and Mansoura etal.
41,634 In some regions the dehesas
are dominated by cork oak
25.6 Large estates, privately
Lowlands Guzmán Álvarez (2016), Grove
and Rackham (2001), Kizos and
Plieninger (2008), Stockwell (1947)
and Vicente and Alés (2006)
Chestnut Corsica (France) Island 8,882 Dominant tree on major part
of the island
38.6 Small-scale, privately
Mountains Michon (2011), Mouillot etal. (2005,
2008), Perry (1967) and San Roman
Sanz etal. (2013)
Northern Appe-
nines (Italy)
n.a Dominant tree on wide parts
of the mountains
n.a Small-scale, privately
Mountains Agnoletti (2007), Avanzato (2009),
Buonincontri etal. (2015) and Pezzi
etal. (2011, 2017)
Aegean region
90,456 In some parts dominantly
110 n.a Mountains Avanzato (2009), Bozoglu etal. (2019),
Serdar etal. (2014) and Wall etal.
Olives Lesvos (Greece) Island 1,632 Dominant tree on wide parts
of the island
53 Small-scale, privately
Mountains Kizos and Koulouri (2006, 2010),
Kizos etal. (2010), Marathianou
etal. (2000) and Zagaria etal. (2017)
Baena (Spain) Administrative
362 70% of land surface 53.2 Large estate, company-
Lowlands Infante-Amate (2012a, b), Infante-
Amate and Molina (2013) and
Infante-Amate etal. (2016)
Rif region
n.a. Increasingly dominating n.a Small-scale, privately
Mountains Aumeeruddy-Thomas etal. (2017),
Daoui and Fatemi (2014), Kholy
(2012) and Kmoch etal. (2018)
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1275Sustainability Science (2020) 15:1267–1283
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Table 2 Main driving forces for each process of landscape change for the nine tree-crop landscapes
Processes Time Socio-cultural Political Technical Economic Natural
Cork landscapes
Alentejo, Portugal Continuity 1800–1820s Low demand for crop
Expansion 1820s–1950s Multiple demands,
cultural identity
Market liberalisation Technological pro-
Polarisation 1950s–present Over-exploitation,
Market liberalisation Agrochemicals Missing profitability Pests or diseases,
Continuity 1800–1860s n.a
Expansion 1860s–1930s Livelihoods, multiple
Intensification 1930s–1950s Over-exploitation Land-use restrictions Drought
Abandonment 1950s–present Over-exploitation,
population growth,
specialised demand
Land-use restrictions Drought, fire
Extremadura, Spain Expansion 1800–1950s Livelihoods, multiple
demands, popula-
tion growth
War, privatisation of
land, market liber-
Demand for crop,
Polarisation 1950s–1990s Outmigration Agricultural sub-
sidies, land-use
Agrochemicals Missing profitability
Renaissance 1990s–present Conservation pro-
Profitability, market-
ing strategy
Chestnut landscapes
Corsica, France Expansion 1800–1850s Livelihoods, multiple
demands, cultural
identification, com-
munity decisions
Land-use restrictions
Abandonment 1850s–1980s Outmigration, chang-
ing lifestyle
War, market liberali-
Economic crisis Pests or diseases
Renaissance 1980s–present Community deci-
sions, awareness
Technological pro-
Northern Apen-
nines, Italy
Expansion 1800–1900s Livelihoods, multiple
demands, popula-
tion growth
Abandonment 1900s–present Outmigration, chang-
ing lifestyle
Missing profitability Pests or diseases
Aegean region,
Expansion 1800–1960s Livelihoods, multiple
Polarisation 1960s–present Market liberalisation,
land-use restrictions
Mechanisation, agro-
Demand for crop,
missing profitability
Pests or diseases
Olive landscapes
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1276 Sustainability Science (2020) 15:1267–1283
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n.a. information not available
Table 2 (continued)
Processes Time Socio-cultural Political Technical Economic Natural
Lesvos, Greece Expansion 1800–1920s Population growth Technological pro-
Demand for crop,
economic growth
Intensification 1920s–1970s Specialised demand,
Demand for crop,
profitability, eco-
nomic crisis
Abandonment 1970s–present Outmigration, chang-
ing lifestyle
Missing profitability,
economic crisis
Baena, Spain Continuity 1800–1820s Livelihoods, multiple
1820s–1936 Multiple demands,
population growth
Privatisation of land,
market liberalisation
Mechanisation Demand for crop,
profitability, eco-
nomic crisis
Abandonment 1936–1975 War
1975–present Agricultural subsidies Mechanisation, agro-
Demand for crop,
Rif region, Morocco Continuity 1800–1910s Livelihoods, multiple
Expansion 1910s–1950s Community decisions Privatisation of land
Intensification 1950s–present Specialised demand Land development
Demand for crop
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1277Sustainability Science (2020) 15:1267–1283
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While sustainable landscape management is a forward-
looking planning practice, considerable knowledge can be
derived for sustainability by focusing on past landscape
evolutions. From 1800 to the present, the Mediterranean
landscapes analysed in this study generally evolved from
expansion towards either abandonment or intensifica-
tion and showed increased spatial and temporal dynam-
ics. Our results (Fig.3) show common patterns among
the crops: Olive systems tended to be intensified, chestnut
systems were generally abandoned and cork was rather
polarised between intensification and abandonment in the
last 70years. The landscapes in the northern fringe of the
Mediterranean Basin have shown a tendency of abandon-
ment due to outmigration from rural areas. The decline
of agricultural population is a typical phenomenon of the
northern Mediterranean fringe (Benoit and Comeau 2005).
By contrast, the landscapes of the southern fringe have
faced considerable population pressure. The driving forces
behind these landscape changes are diverse. However, they
can be categorised into socio-cultural, political, technical,
economic and natural drivers. Remarkably, socio-cultural
drivers have played a major role in most land-use change
Besides the individual landscape histories and their driv-
ing forces, a pattern can be discerned in most of the land-
scape histories: The landscapes faced multiple demands, by
being (for instance) sources of food, fodder and wood, ren-
dering them an important part of local people’s livelihoods.
During the course of the nineteenth and especially the twen-
tieth centuries, there was a substantial decline in traditional
land uses due to the overall industrialisation of agriculture
(mechanisation, agrochemicals) and the reduced profitability
of traditional systems, resulting in either intensification or
abandonment. However, local people’s cultural associations
and initiatives have emerged, valuing cultural heritage and
contributing to its recovery. A similar history has been iden-
tified for other tree crops, such as in almond landscapes in
the Apennines in Italy by Frattaroli etal. (2014).
Landscape processes
We have noted a common trajectory from an expand-
ing, multifunctional landscape towards either intensified
or abandoned systems, similar to Pinto-Correia and Vos
(2004). This polarisation has largely occurred due to mar-
ket liberalisation and the related competition among goods.
Market liberalisation in most cases has brought about a loss
of profitability, due to the presence of competition among
suppliers from different contexts, such as climatic and soil
conditions, labour costs and political restrictions. However,
in the case of cork oak cultivation, which is only distributed
in the Western Mediterranean region, market liberalisation
has had a positive effect, especially because a product like
cork can neither be produced in a different climate nor in a
more industrialised production system.
Our landscape histories demonstrate the overall increased
dynamics of landscape processes in the second half of the
studied period, as additionally observed by Jepsen etal.
(2015). This may partly be an artefact due to a lack of docu-
mentation in the past, but also an expression of an actual
increase in land-use dynamics. We have found that in most
cases the transition from one process to another was not
aligned among different landscapes. The land-use regimes
of the European case studies show more homogeneous pat-
terns of change from one regime to the next. We assume
that we can cover more individual trajectories at a landscape
scale compared to a national scale (Jepsen etal. 2015). There
may also be distinct time lags between land-use regimes and
actual visibility in the different landscapes.
The common trajectory of a trend towards polarisation
can be broken down into trends among the different tree-crop
Table 3 Categorisation of drivers of landscape change
Type of drivers
Socio-cultural Political Technical Economic Natural
Over-exploitation Land development plans Technological progress Low demand for crop Pests or diseases
Livelihoods War Mechanisation Demand for crop Drought
Multiple demands Privatisation of land Agrochemicals Missing profitability Fire
Specialised demand Market liberalisation Profitability
Population growth Land-use restrictions Marketing strategy
Outmigration Agricultural subsidies Economic crisis
Changing lifestyle Conservation programmes Economic growth
Cultural identification
Community decisions
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1278 Sustainability Science (2020) 15:1267–1283
1 3
landscapes for olives, chestnuts and cork oaks. The main
process of chestnut landscapes in the nineteenth century was
expansion, as chestnut culture has a long and widespread
history (Avanzato 2009), while the importance of olives
and cork mainly developed in the twentieth century. In olive
landscapes, intensification has been a prevalent process over
the last 70years, driven by the combination of high demand
for olive oil and the fact that olives can be grown in intensi-
fied systems (cf. the olive landscape in Baena). By contrast
and despite high demand, chestnut systems have been largely
abandoned over the past century, primarily due to diseases.
Cork landscapes have exhibited especially polarised land-
use patterns (i.e. intensification and abandonment). Such
polarisation of cork landscapes in Portugal and Spain has
in both cases been driven by the overall industrialisation
of agriculture and hence the intensification of more profit-
able sites as well as the abandonment of marginal sites. The
driving forces behind the process of abandonment of the
Tunisian cork landscapes have been governmental land-use
restrictions aimed at counteracting over-exploitation.
We can see a tendency of the landscape processes in the
northern fringe of the Mediterranean Basin to move towards
abandonment and renaissance. Abandonment has occurred
in the olive landscape on Lesvos as well as the chestnut
landscapes in the Northern Apennines due to the outmigra-
tion of local people. Renaissance has been observed in the
case of the cork oaks in Extremadura and the chestnuts in
Corsica owing to regained profitability, but also awareness
and conservation programmes. The cork oak landscape in
Alentejo has undergone a process of polarisation, whereas
the olive landscape in Baena fails to fit this pattern. Indeed,
this landscape represents a very special case as it is the only
one that has undergone expansion and intensification simul-
taneously and that also did not start as a cultural landscape.
The landscapes of the southern fringe have generally been
focused on intensification, buttressed by a rising demand
for food due to a rapidly growing population (Benoit and
Comeau 2005; Zdruli 2014). We can observe intensification
in the olive landscape of Morocco and polarisation in the
chestnut landscape of Turkey. The abandonment process in
Tunisia can be understood if the context is considered: high
population pressure has led to over-exploitation, resulting in
local people’s restricted use and hence abandonment.
Driving forces oflandscape change
We have found that most of the landscape processes are
influenced by multiple interrelated driving forces that can
be categorised as socio-cultural, political, technical, eco-
nomic and natural.
Socio-cultural factors are important drivers of change and
are essential for expansion and renaissance to occur. Simi-
larly, a review of driving forces of landscape change across
Europe has identified cultural drivers as a key reason for
rural development activities (Plieninger etal. 2016). Multi-
ple demands for the use of a tree-crop landscape are tending
to lead landscapes towards expansion. However, the opposite
trend—the intensified exploitation of a single crop—has led
to landscape simplification. Socio-cultural drivers enjoy con-
siderable importance in landscape management because they
are prevalent in all landscape processes and usually play the
dominant role. However, there is no evidence of their actual
proportional contribution to decision making, which might,
therefore, be investigated in future research via interviews
regarding people’s perceptions.
Political drivers do not only influence the legal frame in
which a landscape develops but also directly determine prof-
itability for land managers through subsidies (cf. Table2).
Fig. 4 Driving forces that shape
the processes of landscape
change. The y-axis refers to the
percentage of drivers contribut-
ing to the processes of land-use
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1279Sustainability Science (2020) 15:1267–1283
1 3
Agricultural subsidies are usually named among the politi-
cal drivers and have contributed to both intensification and
abandonment. Land-use restrictions also play an important
role and seem to instigate polarisation. This is supported by
the European review on driving forces, where political driv-
ers have appeared most often as a driver for intensification
and represent the second-most common driver of abandon-
ment (Plieninger etal. 2016).
In terms of technical driving forces, agrochemicals
emerged most often, followed by mechanisation and tech-
nological progress, indicating an industrialisation of agri-
culture. Technical drivers seem to enjoy considerable
importance in the case of polarisation of a landscape, but
surprisingly no technical drivers were found to lead to aban-
donment. However, indirectly the technical opportunities
for industrial intensification fostered the abandonment of
less productive and particularly steeper slopes that cannot
be managed as mechanised systems (Lasanta etal. 2017;
Strijker 2005).
Economic drivers, in particular profitability or missing
profitability, represent major drivers of landscape manage-
ment, as it is necessary for people to make an income from
the land. Therefore, missing profitability mostly leads to
abandonment, whereas profitability fosters expansion, inten-
sification and renaissance. The demand (or low demand) for
a crop is closely connected to its profitability, as the two rise
or fall together.
In general, natural drivers rarely appear, but within these,
pests or diseases and droughts are prominently mentioned in
the literature included within this study. Natural drivers play
an important role in processes of abandonment and polarisa-
tion but not for expansion and scarcely for intensification.
They mainly reflect negative aspects such as catastrophic
events. Pests and diseases are very influential, especially for
chestnuts. Traditional chestnut landscapes consist of pure
Castanea sativa trees that are not resistant to diseases like
chestnut blight, whereas Castanea sativa that is interbred
with Castanea crenata and/or Castanea molissima can show
resistance (Ramos Guedes-Lafargue etal. 2005). Pests and
diseases determine the yield and thus people’s livelihoods
as well as the profitability of land management.
What isthefuture ofMediterranean landscapes?
Today, external shocks seem to be on the rise: the pressures
posed by pests have increased due to globalisation and land-
scape simplification (Roossinck and García-Arenal 2015;
Rusch etal. 2016), the prices of cork, chestnut and olive
products are dependent on the world market and extreme
weather events are expected to increase in magnitude and
frequency, including droughts in the Mediterranean Basin
(Beniston etal. 2007). Most contemporary forms of land use
are unsustainable, as they are unable to maintain the multiple
societal values of Mediterranean landscapes, such as biodi-
versity, food security, wood, aesthetic value and recreation
for future generations (McIntyre 2008; Kremen etal. 2012).
Our landscape histories demonstrate that tree-crop land-
scapes have met many of these needs in the past and seem
to have considerable potential to meet current and future
challenges (Hernández-Morcillo etal. 2018; Howlett etal.
2011). In fact, most of the renaissance activities in the tree-
crop landscapes have been driven by cultural values such as
tourism, outdoor recreation or sense of place. Nevertheless,
these often fail to lead to increased profitability for land
managers(Flinzberger etal. 2020). With the Mediterranean
Basin being heavily affected by climate change, tree-crop
landscapes may offer manifold adaptation and mitigation
options, in addition to the cultural values they provide. Thus,
finding the right financial instruments that would present
incentives to land managers to support multifunctional tree
crops represents the key to sustainable land management
(Hernández-Morcillo etal. 2018). However, considering the
increasing pressures, traditional systems that are typically
centred on one dominant tree species may be at risk under
changing climatic conditions. Introducing a mix of profit-
abletree-crop species as a crucial component of agroforestry
systems (e.g. combined with pastoralism) may offer a way
forward towards sustainability. Such traditional and novel
systems should be sophisticatedly designed and carefully
managed for diversity, profitability and multifunctionality.
Emerging questions are: how can the attractiveness of sus-
tainable landscape management be enhancedfor locals? And
which will be the incentives supporting this?
Our study has covered some of the most iconic tree crops
that shape landscapes and are important for human liveli-
hoods in the Mediterranean region. We have utilised a novel
approach to analyse and compare the processes and driv-
ers of tree-crop landscapes, hence some limitations of our
method need to be considered. We selected three important
tree crops that occur at the landscape scale in the Mediter-
ranean region, but other tree crops, for example pine nuts
or almonds (Salas-Salvadó etal. 2011), have yet to be con-
sidered. Akin to other studies of landscape history (Frat-
taroli etal. 2014; Turner etal. 2018), published material on
the historic development of our study landscapes remains
limited, especially as regards those landscapes in the Mid-
dle Eastern and North African part of the Mediterranean
Basin. Even if there are no natural risks named in certain
periods, this does not necessarily mean the absence of these
drivers. The authors of the literature that we used could
have regarded them as not relevant for their publication. In
particular, there is scant information available on the peri-
ods of continuity. Furthermore, there may be an inherent
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1280 Sustainability Science (2020) 15:1267–1283
1 3
trade-off between our wish to generalise findings across
time and space and the consideration of the complexity of
these landscape histories. This complicates the unravelling
of processes, driving forces, challenges and solutions of the
system (in this case the landscape) because there are many
interdependencies across scales (Muñoz-Rojas etal. 2019).
Given that our study has been based on a review of primary
literature, biases in the identification of relevant drivers of
change or in the assessment of processes in primary sources
will have translated into similar biases in our study. Fur-
thermore, our cross-site comparative approach has implied
that we could not use literature published in local languages
(with the exception of Spanish), potentially presenting
another source of bias. Especially for the southern fringe
of the Mediterranean Basin, there is little English language
information about landscape history available. We attempted
to reduce these biases via triangulation between different
sources concerning each study landscape and by performing
additional interviews with local landscape experts.
Global challenges raise the question of and the need for sus-
tainable landscape management, with agroforestry likely to
play a key role. In this study, we have found that many land-
scapes across the Mediterranean Basin have a long history
of biodiverse and sustainable tree-crop systems, although
they have undergone substantial changes over time. Our
analysis of nine tree-crop landscapes in the Mediterranean
Basin offers the following key lessons for future sustainable
landscape management:
Landscape history enables us to learn lessons for future
sustainable landscape management. It points to the inher-
ent complexity of landscapes, which must be embraced
to guide land uses towards greater sustainability.
Driving forces mostly appear in bundles and interde-
pendencies across natural, political technological, socio-
cultural and economic factors, calling for a multi-sec-
torial and holistic approach to landscape management.
However, in some cases single drivers, such as political
restrictions or civil strife, can transform landscapes and
may require particular attention.
Profitability is a key driver for the existence and the per-
sistence of tree-crop landscapes.
Cultural and social drivers play an important role for
landscape management, but they have not always been
fully acknowledged.
Tree-crop histories present considerable potential for
multifunctional and diverse systems to cope with future
challenges, compared to forestry or annual cropping sys-
Acknowledgements Open Access funding provided by Projekt DEAL.
This research has been funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
(DFG, German Research Foundation), project number 426675955. We
thank the following experts for providing valuable case study informa-
tion: Sana Dallali, Silvo-Pastoral Institute, Tabarka University of Jen-
douba, Tunisia, on cork oak landscapes in Tunisia; Jeffrey Wall, Depart-
ment of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA, on chestnut
landscapes in Turkey; and Ulrich Deil, Institute of Biology II, University
of Freiburg, Germany, on olive landscapes in Morocco.This study con-
tributes to the Global Land Programme ( ) and the Pro-
gramme on Ecosystem Change and Society (www.pecs-scien
Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attri-
bution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adapta-
tion, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long
as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source,
provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes
were made. The images or other third party material in this article are
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need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a
copy of this licence, visit http://creat iveco mmons .org/licen ses/by/4.0/.
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... These different options are encountered in our case studies, although in this study we did not interview farmers that have abandoned farming altogether (unlike Zagaria et al., 2018 in the same area of Lesvos). The rationales offered are similar and many focus on succession, therefore even if some people may want to continue to farm all their fields and still earn money doing so, the lack of successors makes them slowly adapt to a retired farming style, more evident on Lesvos, as olive groves demand less care on an everyday basis compared to sheep husbandry (see also Wolpert et al., 2020). In addition, most of the olive trees are owned, so there is less need to extract a minimum profit from them each year, as opposed to leased land. ...
... More views from former farmers that have already abandoned farming would provide more depth. This is partly in line with the metaanalysis of Mediterranean farm systems by Debolini et al. (2018, p. 706-7), where abandonment is associated with extensification, but only intensification is associated with economic drivers "in particular the profitability of new or different agricultural/farming systems and the changes in market prices, mainly the price of production" (see also García-Martín et al., 2021;Wolpert et al., 2020). Here, the opposite side of this seems to be the case, as abandonment on Lesvos is associated with (lack of) economic profitability. ...
... The type of investments required may also make attachment to olives slightly more important, as olive trees may need up to ten years or more before they produce full yields. But olive trees require less labor than animal husbandry and can be managed "at leisure" by part-time farmers (Wolpert et al., 2020). Animal husbandry, on the other hand, requires everyday labor, is harder physically and therefore has to be practiced full time by "professional" farmers. ...
Full-text available
Farming systems in marginal or less favored areas of Europe have faced a multitude of challenges as a response to so-called "mega-trends". A typical response has been land abandonment. The focus of this paper is on the farming systems of the Greek islands of Lesvos and Lemnos. These neighboring islands are geographically very similar but differ greatly in their farming systems, resulting in different responses to the same megatrends. While land abandonment is widespread in the small-scale olive groves of Lesvos, on Lemnos specialization towards animal and dairy products is more common. We performed land cover analysis and interviews with farmers in both areas, in two complementing rounds: one more quantitative that recorded recent changes and farmer rationales and a more qualitative one that investigated longer term trends and decision-making patterns. The analysis revealed that, among others, land ownership and inheritance patterns matter in both areas in different ways, leading to diverse trajectories. On Lemnos, as part of the traditional mixed-farming system (Mandra), land leasing is dominant, separating land users and landowners. Interviews also reveal the different symbolic capital, as olive trees on Lesvos are considered a family asset and not just a land use, something that cannot be said of the leased grazing lands on Lemnos. The market value of the different products is important, but the different trajectories also demonstrate how the rationales behind the responses to mega-trends can guide which trajectories will be dominant in the area. This article highlights the complexity and mix of local drivers and global trends that drive abandonment at both farm and the landscape scales and guides the formulation and application of agricultural policies and public resources for improved management of marginal areas.
... La adopción de principios estratégicos acerca del estado actual y futuro de los regadíos históricos debe conferir una especial transcendencia al tratamiento y comprensión de la dimensión histórica de estos paisajes tradicionales (Barbera & Cullotta, 2016;Antrop, 2005). Para ello, en su investigación y tareas propositivas se requiere estudios retrospectivos que consideren la historicidad de estos paisajes, teniendo presente tanto su profunda naturaleza biocultural, como una adecuación en las escalas de análisis y representación (Antrop, 1997;Wolpert et al., 2020). ...
... La identificación de una marcada zonificación altitudinal en las dinámicas observadas ha impulsado la realización de un análisis dual, distinguiendo entre los regadíos "litorales y prelitorales" (aquellos que se sitúan por debajo de los 400 m) y los "serranos" (por encima de esta última cota). Siguiendo otros trabajos realizados, se han predefinido cinco tipos de dinámicas paisajísticas asociadas: abandono, intensificación, extensificación, estabilidad o continuidad y urbanización (Wolpert et al., 2020). En las salidas cartográficas de este análisis, dado el reducido tamaño de los perímetros irrigados, se ha optado por emplear una cuadrícula o malla estadística de celdas de 100 m x 100 m, permitiendo una mejor representación y visualización de los resultados. ...
Full-text available
Los regadíos históricos han sido una invariante en los paisajes de una montaña mediterránea semiárida como la Sierra de la Contraviesa (sureste de España). Estos espacios regados han contribuido, pese a su exigua extensión, a diversificar el mosaico agrario serrano y la economía local, presentando unas constantes paisajísticas relativamente estables durante siglos. Pese a todo, desde 1950, la marginalidad socioeconómica de este ámbito dentro de la actual dinámica territorial de la región, ha desencadenado profundos cambios. Este trabajo tiene por objeto interpretar en clave paisajística la evolución histórica y multiplicidad de funciones de estos sistemas y su papel actual en el mosaico de los agrosistemas presentes en el macizo. Para ello, se profundiza, en primer lugar, en las bases físicas que sustentan el regadío y en el proceso de conformación histórico-geográfica (ss. IV-XX) de estas estructuras heredadas. En segundo lugar, y partiendo de la cartografía histórica catastral, se realiza un análisis diacrónico de su extensión y configuración en los principales perímetros de regadío para los últimos 70 años. Los resultados obtenidos revelan cómo la reciente desarticulación del modelo de gestión tradicional compromete la continuidad de estos sistemas y de sus diversos valores asociados, determinando un progresivo empobrecimiento y homogenización paisajística.
... We consider technical knowledge to be knowledge related to natural resource management specialists, such as forestry extension staff and NGO staff. Following Jepsen et al. (2015) and Wolpert et al. (2020), we first compiled a template narrative for one of the systems (the hima system). This template was in a second step used to structure the information on the three other systems. ...
... In this synthesis, we highlight four biocultural conservation systems-agdal, communal forests, sacred natural sites, and hima-as positive examples of people-nature approaches. These traditional systems are distributed across the Mediterranean, a world region in which community-based conservation has rarely been investigated (Charles 2021), and they are typically characterized by complex agrosilvopastoral management (Wolpert et al. 2020). We drew on regional and international literature on these systems, compiling them into narratives and comparing their characteristics across cases, and analyzed them through the emerging "Values-Rules-Knowledge" (vrk) framework. ...
Full-text available
The Mediterranean Basin is a global biodiversity hotspot, but formal conservation approaches have not been wholly effective to halt species and ecosystem losses in this world region. There is wide agreement that maintaining traditional and diverse land-use systems is key to conserving biodiversity across the Mediterranean region. Biocultural approaches provide a perspective to understand and manage the interplay of nature and culture in various contexts. To develop biocultural systems as positive alternatives to unsustainable land-use systems requires an understanding of the decision-making contexts that enable such approaches. The aim of this synthesis study is therefore to compare how four biocultural conservation systems in the Mediterranean are shaped by values, rules, and knowledge. Our study is based on a synthesis of the literature published on agdal (Morocco), communal forests (Spain), sacred natural sites (Greece), and hima (Lebanon). Our synthesis shows that instrumental, intrinsic, and relational values are all fundamental components of the systems studied. Instrumental values, such as the provision of fodder or firewood, are central, and are often the result of a careful adaptation to the uncertainty inherent to Mediterranean climatic conditions. Systems like agdal and hima have originally been shaped by informal rules (often with the primary motivation to ensure equitable resource use and frequently involving taboos) and were then formalized to varying degrees. All four systems are strongly driven by local knowledge. We conclude that biocultural systems in the Mediterranean represent “people and nature” approaches that support linkages between nature and human well-being. Fostering biocultural conservation in the Mediterranean requires navigating multiple interlinkages between values, rules, and knowledge in decision-making.
... Mediterranean agroforestry is a complex system made of a variety of vegetation types and land usages, as a result of millennial scale human-nature interactions (Blondel 2006;Eichhorn et al., 2006), with trees intercropped in a wide range of ways. These systems are significantly impacted by drastic transformational processes, where either abandonment or intensification that lead to environmental degradation have been more widespread than continuity, preservation or renaissance trends (Cramer et al., 2008Munroe et al., 2013Nerlich et al., 2013;Burriel et al., 2017;Fernández-Manjarrés et al., 2018;Rois-Díaz et al., 2018;Guillerme et al., 2020;Morgado et al., 2020;Wolpert et al., 2020; N o n -c o m m e r c i a l u s e o n l y Karmiris et al., 2022). Today agroforestry systems persist only in rural marginal areas, since due to their adverse geomorphological features (i.e., steep slopes and dry environment) it is nearly impossible to practise intensive agriculture or monoculture. ...
Full-text available
Groves with ancient olive trees (Olea europaea L.) could be considered remnants of old agroforestry systems. Anything but static, these agro-ecosystems have undergone drastic transformational processes in Mediterranean countries, where abandonment or intensification have been observed far more than continuity, expansion or renaissance, leading to environmental degradation of rural areas. Starting from this assumption and inspired by historical ecology and historical geography, we consider centuries-old olive trees as living archives of human-nature interactions and are thus proxies of past agroforestry. Our aim is to better understand what has driven dynamics of change and persistence, happening today as well as in the past. We first travel backward in time, looking at the ecology of land management systems during the Roman period (ca 200 BC-400 AD) and late Antiquity (ca AD 400-700). The special focus is the island of Sicily, the granary of the Empire, well known as a region where cereal production increased around the latifundia economy. We reconstruct the diversity of land tenure and the ecology of such complex systems, by combining records from Roman agriculturalists and palaeoenvironmental evidence of the past. We then zoom out, to look at today’s management practices in olive groves, thus drawing a parallel between Antiquity and today. Our work provides valuable insights into the correlation between certain organisation models, ecological strategies and adaptation capacity over the long term, clearly showing that human and nature dimensions are interconnected. Such entanglement may be a key element for ensuring these agroecosystems resilience. All elements that may contribute to the re-invention of sustainable forms of their management, for the present and the future.
... Examples for traditional agroforestry systems in Europe are olive-, chestnut-, and cork oak-based tree cropping systems in the Mediterranean Basin (Wolpert et al. 2020) and orchard meadows (OM) in temperate Europe. OM are a widespread traditional agroforestry system present from the Atlantic coast in the west through central Europe to Hungary and Romania in the east (Forejt and Syrbe 2019;Herzog 1998). ...
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Europe has a large variety of historic cultural agroforestry systems which provide numerous ecosystem services. Traditional agroforestry landscapes are characterized by a high level of biodiversity, but they lack an economic basis due to considerable time and financial effort required for cultivation, maintenance, and harvesting. Orchard meadows (OM) are a typical example for agroforestry systems. They combine large fruit trees with undercropping or livestock raising. This study investigates consumer knowledge and preferences for OM products and the possibilities of improved communication to increase consumer demand. Focus groups were conducted with German consumers. The results demonstrate that consumers have a very positive perception of OM juice in terms of taste, local production, health, and environmental benefits. In order to increase the demand for OM juice, communication with consumers needs to be improved by highlighting these positive attributes.
... Some Mediterranean alley cropping systems have been successful for thousands of years. e.g.. olive trees intercropped with cereals and legumes (Wolpert et al., 2020;Pantera et al., 2018;Torquebiau et al., 2002). Intercrops of olive trees with cereals and legumes may increase the profitability and sustainability of the farm by the production of biomass and grains from the understory crops and positively affect olive tree productivity (Chehab et al., 2019;Panozzo et al., 2022). ...
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Intercropping of trees with crops on the same piece of land at a given time has been hypothesized to: enhance crop yield, increase land-use and improve land equivalent ratio (LER). To address this hypothesis, we evaluated two legumes faba bean, lentil and three cereals durum wheat, soft wheat and barley grown in olive (Olea europea) agroforestry during two growing seasons (Y) with contrasting weather (Y1: 2015-2016 and Y2: 2016-2017) under a Mediterranean climate of north western Morocco. We assessed the effect of annual crops on olive growth and yield; the effect of trees on annual crop growth, yield components, and final yields; finally, we calculated the land equivalent ratio (LER) of olive agroforestry to assess the productivity of the associations. Legumes had no effect on olive growth and yield, while cereals negatively affected shoot elongation and olive yield compared to olive in sole crop. Olive limited crop growth and yield of all associated crops and yield reduction was around 33 % for legumes and 47 % for cereals in agroforestry than sole crop. The magnitude of reduction was higher in Y1 than Y2. Similar responses were found when comparing crops at different distances from trees. Annual crops generally had lower biomass and yield, near the trees compared to the middle of tree inter-rows, causing significant spatial heterogeneity in crops. The LER reached 1.36 with lentil and 1.33 with faba bean, the lowest LER was recorded with durum wheat in both years with 1.01 in Y1 and 1.02 in Y2, and the highest LER with cereals was registered with soft wheat and reached 1.19 in Y1.
... Opposing spatial trajectories of land cover change characterize this trend. For example, in the northern Mediterranean mountains, abandonment of fields surrounding fruit trees may coincide with the intensification of fruit tree planting in more southerly locations (Wolpert et al., 2020). Often multidirectional trends coincide with new types of use. ...
We identified land use and land cover change (LULCC) trends in mountain regions worldwide. Specific objectives were to (1) identify the recurrent trends of land use change, (2) identify the trends of land cover change, and (3) describe regional patterns. We developed a database of 80 peer-reviewed articles published since 2010 that addressed both land use and land cover change in a mountain environment. We identified five trends in land use change, ranging from “no change” to “increase/intensification of land use over multiple sectors.” Seven trends characterizing varying degrees of natural and anthropogenic land cover change were also identified among the 80 case studies. Within the study period, an increase in anthropogenic activity leading to the replacement of natural land covers with anthropogenic types has been a dominant trend in African and Asian Mountains. Land abandonment has dominated the literature about European mountains. Technological and systemic factors limit the LULCC approach in the mountains of South America. Overall, linking cause and effect, especially through interpretation of remotely sensed imagery, is problematic in mountain regions where complex terrain, climate change, ecosystem sensitivities, rapid geophysical processes, and resource development coincide at different spatial and temporal scales.
... In Andalusia (Southern Spain), olive groves have become the most extensive crop in recent decades as a consequence of the high demand for olive oil, leading to an increase in the application of agrochemicals to make production more profitable [158]. These crops are normally located on sloping areas which, combined with the Mediterranean climate, favours soil degradation and the mobilization of the agrochemicals used. ...
Soil degradation is a global problem and in Spain is especially important because of its climatic, geographical, and socioeconomic particularities. A large surface of the Spanish territory is occupied by agricultural activities, constituting one of the main land’s uses due to its importance for the country’s economy. Land use linked to agriculture, livestock, and forestry has been present historically, which has generated an impact on the soil that continues today because of the intensification of agricultural activities and inadequate soil management. This chapter brings combined the information on the current state of knowledge of soil degradation in Spain caused by agricultural activities. First, the state of the climate and the main existing soil types are contextualized. Subsequently, in different sections, a review of the main factors causing soil degradation, such as soil erosion, overgrazing, soil contamination, salinization, agrochemical use, and the presence of microplastics is given. The deficit of available information on the degradation rates of Spanish agricultural soils has been highlighted and the processes of desertification have become evident, predicting a more pronounced acceleration of degradation with fatal consequences for these soils. Likewise, the several changes in soil use have caused large areas to be affected by salinity, owing to the use of poor-quality irrigation water and the overexploitation of aquifers and the excessive application of agrochemicals, and soil contamination, have resulted in a reduction in fertility, and have modified the physical, chemical, and biological soil properties. In view of the above, adequate land management and land-use planning is necessary to improve the state of Spanish soils, as well as the remediation of existing degradation problems and the transformation of agricultural productive activities to sustainability. It is essential to comply with existing policies strictly and rapidly and implement adequate management aimed at mitigating their degradation, as their current and future state could compromise the provision of recourses and services by Spanish agricultural ecosystems, exceeding their resilience capacity and implying a negative impact on food production and human health.
... The increasing abandonment of mountain and rural areas, generally triggered by the decline of livestock grazing induced a natural expansion of tree cover arising from secondary succession or closure of pre-existing woodlands. Natural reforestation is a heterogeneous and site-dependent process that is driven by topographic, climate, and socio-economic factors 33,39 . So, we identified common mechanisms in the CNP, in Spain 19,40 and in Italy 41 . ...
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We analyzed trends of air temperature across the Cévennes National Park in Southern France, a mid-altitude coastal mountain experiencing a rapid spread of forests at the expense of rangelands and submitted to Mediterranean Sea influences and so, impacted by local and regional processes of climate change. Since 1980, April to June warming trend reached a maximum temperature increase of + 0.124 °C year−1 and uniform whatever the altitude. Minimum temperature increased by + 0.058 °C year−1 at 500 m altitude and + 0.089 °C year−1 at 1500 m. Concomitantly, forest cover is increasing by + 0.51% year−1. Using an intrinsic biophysical mechanism model, we demonstrated that, at monthly scale, the forest surface is 1.7–3.1 °C cooler than that of nearby grasslands. As a result, the decrease in albedo corresponding to the conversion from grasslands to dense forests, translates into a cooling of maximum air temperatures of 0.023 °C year−1 which contributes to slow down the warming rate enhancement. Spring warming trends co-varied with negative WeMO phases associated with a low in the Gulf of Cádiz and an anticyclone in Central Europe. An east to west pressure gradient increases atmospheric humidity leading to a strong water vapor feedback, enhancing the forcing of thermal long wave radiations and hence the rise in temperature.
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Wildfires are increasing in severity, and magnitude in the Mediterranean Basin in recent years, reaching a yearly average of 450 000 ha over the last decade. Drivers include climate change, land-use change, and land abandonment. Wildfire mitigation requires landscape-level action as impact to each parcel is affected by the conditions of the others. We conducted a case study of a regional-level initiative that develops community efforts to mitigate wildfires through silvo-pastoral agroforestry systems, using an integrated landscape management approach. This approach involves collaboration among stakeholders to achieve multiple objectives. In order to derive insights into its potential, we asked participating land managers: (1) What motivates their participation?, (2) How do they perceive initiative outcomes?, and as urban outmigrants with non-traditional goals are increasing in rural areas, (3) Do responses differ between rural and neo-rural participants? Our results show that managers feel highly affected by wildfires and are strongly motivated to reduce wildfire risk. Land abandonment and inappropriate policy were major concerns. The initiative was seen to have positive outcomes for individual participants as well as the region, and to stimulate community connectedness. We conclude that fit to local contexts, integrated landscape management can be a well-received approach to reducing wildfire risk. Agroforestry systems in Extremadura can act as "productive fuelbreaks" that reduce fire risk over extensive areas, while restoring traditional landscapes. We suggest that programs to reduce wildfire risk can also be used as a leverage point for financing rural revival and provision of multiple ecosystem services. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10457-022-00771-6.
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In the face of unsustainable land-use changes including intensified agricultural production and land abandonment, agroforestry systems have the potential to support a diversity of social and ecological functions in agricultural landscapes. Mediterranean agroforestry landscapes have been conserved through traditional practices, and new concepts are necessary to assure the viability of these practices. Labels bear the opportunity to indicate sustainable management along the supply chain and, at the same time, generate higher incomes for sustainably producing farms. We have used an expert-based Delphi survey with three iterative surveys to analyse (1) the relevance of different sustainability aspects in agroforestry systems, (2) the suitability of derived indicators for labelling, and (3) the specific potentials and barriers for labelling agroforestry production or ecological UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)—are considered relevant for agroforestry systems. Translating these goals into suitable indicators is the more challenging step, revealing the lack of appropriate data, the complexity of sustainability challenges, and a low willingness for producers to adapt their practices as key limiting factors. The assessment of the labelling schemes indicated coherent responses despite the diverse backgrounds of participants. Alongside eco-labels and social labels, Geographic Indications were suggested as the most suitable options for the agroforestry context, although these have not been invented for reflecting sustainability in the first place. Although experts are highly aware of social-cultural values of agroforestry systems, they see little potential to use those social-cultural aspects for labelling agroforestry products. Initial costs and missing consumer awareness for agroforestry are major reasons for not joining labelling schemes. We discuss the possibility of an agroforestry label and why elements of Geographic Indication labels may fit well for this purpose.
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The European chestnut population is enduring multiple compounding exotic pest and disease outbreaks across Turkey. The deeply held value of the chestnut species for the Turkish public is reflected in substantial government conservation programming. Chestnut is predominantly found on state land managed by Turkey’s General Directorate of Forestry (GDF), which generally upholds restrictive policies for chestnut-related livelihood practices other than nut collection and beehive placement. Such policies are justified by a government position that human activities and presence is likely to worsen disease dynamics. Conversely, a growing body of research findings testify that small-scale livelihood practices maintain biological diversity and, furthermore, that this traditional maintenance of diversity has been correlated with decreased pathogen pressure within agroecosystems. However, few studies have investigated this phenomenon in the context of agroforestry systems. At a global ecological moment of increasingly pervasive and severe exotic forest pathogen impact, this paper investigates the influence of diverse small-scale livelihood practices and knowledge on chestnut tree health across the highly heterogenous geography of Turkey. We conducted ethnobotanical questionnaires with 96 chestnut-utilizing households, and chestnut tree health evaluations in georeferenced forest areas they identified, throughout Turkey’s Black Sea, Marmara, and Aegean regions. Using data from 1500 trees, we characterized the effects of subsequently recorded environmental, physiological, and anthropogenic factors on tree health using multiple correspondence analysis (MCA), multiple factor analysis (MFA), and mixed models. Our results show that the traditional human management of tree physiology and ecology has a significant positive effect on tree health, especially through the acts of grafting and culling as well as the maintenance of diversity. We argue that conceptualizing such livelihood systems as human niche construction and maintenance can help forest management agencies to better understand and conserve valuable landscapes, even in increasingly common periods of severe pathogenic pressure.
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The montado is a silvo pastoral system, and the dominant land-use in the region of Alentejo (Portugal). It bears high nature, socioeconomic , and landscape values, shaping the strong cultural identity of the region. Despite these values, it has been under decay over the last decades, indicating the inefficiency of current governance strategies. In this paper, we argue how three main discourses can be found that underpin different governance strategies in the montado: The heritage discourse, the modern production discourse, and the land stewardship discourse. These discourses frame farmers' decisions, though not always explicitly. The discourse analysis is grounded on an analysis of the relevant literature and research results from diverse projects, including an analysis of media representation of the montado since the 1990s, participatory observations, and 30 in-depth interviews with key stakeholders. Each of the three discourses identified are characterized in terms of key farming developments and defining elements, their time-scopes, the ways in which they are perceived by society, their measures of success, and underpinning institutions and power mechanisms. We argue that these discourses co-exist today, and this is a cause of increased tensions in montado governance strategies, hindering more effective and sustainable potential alternatives for the system.
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The Montado is a silvopastoral system and the dominant land use in Alentejo (Portugal). Its functionalities expand beyond agricultural and forestry production. It is a system where a low-density and heterogeneous tree cover is complemented with livestock grazing and fodder production, resulting in its recognition as a high-nature-value farming system. However, for it to be effectively preserved, a balance between its many components needs to be secured. Despite the relevance and urgency of its conservation, the Montado has long suffered a constant decay. To better understand such decay, it is crucial to unravel why and how land use management decisions are made, and the interplay of drivers influencing such decisions. We applied discourse analysis to identify the various management paradigms that currently co-exist underpinning strategies by land managers and others. Our analysis is based on a review of the scientific literature, a media analysis, participant observations, and in-depth interviews with Montado farmers in Central Alentejo between 2014 and 2017, along with a survey with producers implemented during 2018. We conclude that existing strategies, and underpinning paradigms, are frequently incompatible, leading to the poor progress in halting the current decay of the system, and thus, also in securing its sustainability.
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Turkey is one of the main countries both in producing and exporting chestnut in the world. Objective of this study was to evaluate the structure and developments in the chestnut market of Turkey since the 1960s. The main data were gathered from the databases of the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Turkish Statistical Institute. In 2016, Turkey was the second largest chestnut producer in the world with a share of 2.97%. Chestnut plantation areas in Turkey have decreased from 48,000 to 39,000 ha since 1961. While chestnut production increased to 90,000 tons in 1988 and decreased to 65,000 t recently. Whereas the yield per hectare was over 2 t in 1988, which decreased to 1.6 t recently, due to ink disease and canker blight. Most of the chestnut production is traditionally sold by producers to wholesalers; therefore, producers cannot compete with wholesalers due to lack of sufficient and effective cooperation under farmer organization. In chestnut importation, 43,2% of tariff rate has been applied. Although the net incomes per ton of the chestnut producers have increased from 1,000 US$ to 3,500 US$ since 2001, total and per capita chestnut consumption amounts have decreased since the late 1980s. Turkey’s chestnut export fluctuated between 1,000 t and 12,000 t depending on production and price levels and it accounted for 4.1% of the global chestnut exportation. In recent years, Turkey has imported between 20 t and 700 t chestnut totaling of 5,000-700,000 US$ in value.
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Communities in northern Morocco are vulnerable to increasing water scarcity and food insecurity. Context specific adaptation options thus need to be identified to sustain livelihoods and agroecosystems in this region, and increase the resilience of vulnerable smallholders, and their farming systems, to undesired effects of social-ecological change. This study took a knowledge-based systems approach to explore whether and how tree-based (i.e., agroforestry) options could contribute to meeting these adaptation needs. We analysed local agroecological knowledge of smallholders from the Mèknes–Tafilalet region, to (i) characterise existing farming systems at local landscape scale; (ii) identify possible niches for farm-trees within these systems; and (iii) explore locally perceived barriers to tree-based diversification. An iterative cycle of qualitative interviews, with a purposefully selected sample of 32 farmers, revealed that socio-economic constraints and agroecological conditions in the area differed markedly along a relatively short altitudinal gradient. Agroforestry practices were already integral to all farming systems. Yet, many were at risk of degradation, as water scarcity, low profitability of production systems and uncontrolled grazing constituted critical barriers to the maintenance and diversification of farm-trees. We demonstrate the discriminatory power of local knowledge, to characterise farming conditions at the local landscape scale; and unveil adoption barriers and options for tree-based diversification in northern Morocco.
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Dispersed urbanization has expanded into rural land worldwide. The present work focused on the Athens’ metropolitan area, the capital of Greece, discussing the potential role of a typical rural Mediterranean landscape dominated by olive groves, in urban containment and peri-urban conservation of biodiversity and local traditions. Having a great cultural, culinary and aesthetic importance, olive groves characterize Mediterranean peri-urban landscapes in a distinctive way. This study identifies processes of urban dispersion and changes in the ‘olive landscape’ in the study area, proposing new ideas for a sustainable land management in metropolitan contexts that have recently undergone processes of territorial transformation toward urban sprawl, under the effect of socioeconomic disturbances, including economic crisis. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You can read the full–text view–only version of our paper by using the link below:
Technical Report
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Sustainable Land Management (SLM) represents a holistic approach to achieving long-term productive ecosystems by integrating biophysical, socio-cultural and economic needs and values. SLM is one of the main mechanisms to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN).To foster and facilitate the adoption of SLM practices that address DLDD while mitigating climate change and enhancing climate change adaptation, this report assesses the synergistic potential of SLM practices while also critically evaluating the possible trade-offs between the different objectives. The assessment provides a scientifically-sound basis to understand SLM’s potential to contribute to multiple objectives, and provides practical guidance for creating an enabling environment for selection and large-scale implementation of effective, locallyadapted SLM practices. Overall objective : The objective of the present report is to “highlight the science-based synergistic potential of SLM practices to address DLDD, climate change mitigation and adaptation” as a contribution to the UNCCD’s Science Policy Interface (SPI) work programme 2016-2017. By doing so, the linkages between SLM practices to address DLDD, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and resulting synergies and trade-offs, are considered.
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To understand why historic landscapes changed in the past researchers need to identify when and where changes took place, but in rural landscapes, the origins and development of many historic elements including field systems, roads, terraces and other earthworks remain poorly understood. This paper outlines a practical interdisciplinary method using GIS-based historic landscape characterisation (HLC) to integrate data from different sources and model how historic character varies in space. It pilots an innovative approach using luminescence profiling and dating that can underpin the HLC with significantly improved knowledge of historic processes of change. We focus on four case studies of terraced agricultural landscapes in western Catalonia and demonstrate for the first time that existing terrace systems often have medieval or early modern origins.
Agroforestry, the integration of trees and shrubs with livestock and/or crops, can make a substantial contribution to mitigating and enabling adaptation to climate change. However, its full potential will only be achieved if the challenges to agroforestry implementation are identified and the most efficient and sustainable solutions are made widely known. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to explore these challenges and to determine the most suitable set of solutions for each challenge that combines local effectiveness with European scale relevance. We performed a two-step "solution scanning" exercise. First, the main challenges to sustainable agroforestry in Europe were identified through 42 participatory workshops with 665 local stakeholders. The solutions to each challenge were scanned and classified into either direct solutions (28) to address climate change or indirect solutions (32) that improve the sustainability of agroforestry. In a second step, the direct solutions were prioritized through expert consultation in terms of their potential benefits for mitigation and adaptation. The most commonly reported barriers were a lack of knowledge and reliable financial support to which the most widely suggested indirect solutions were agroforestry training programmes and the development of safe economic routes. The direct solutions considered as holding the greatest mitigation and adaptation potential were the adoption of practices capable to increase soil organic carbon pools and the implementation of multi-functional hedgerows and windbreaks respectively. Our solution scanning approach can inform the implementation of the European climate strategy in general and to the Common Agricultural Policy in particular by pointing to concrete climate beneficial actions.