LUCINDA
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Desertification-Affected Landscapes

 

C1 - Forests and natural landscapes

by Leopoldo Rojo Serrano, Ramon Vallejo, Alejandro Valdecantos

Abstract
Natural vegetation of the Mediterranean basin is very diverse. The landscape has been exhaustively used by the rural population leading to over-exploitation and land degradation for centuries. Extensive afforestation plans were developed through the 20th century. Nowadays rural abandonment causes a drastic reduction of grazing and wood extraction as well as the recovery of natural vegetation which includes a dramatic increase of wildfires.

This booklet presents the principles and techniques for the restoration of Mediterranean forests, from past to present. Sierra Espuña restoration, started in 1892, is now a Natural Park, and has become the paradigm of the older restoration works.

Current demands focus restoration projects on the prioritisation of soil and water conservation, use of native species, promotion of landscape diversity and heterogeneity, incorporation of fire prevention in the design principles and enhancement of the multifunctional use of forests. Two up to date restoration projects are explained.

 

Booklet

Leaflet

PowerPoint

 

C2 - Traditional and new soil conservation and cultivation structures

by Costas Kosmas, Nicholas Yassoglou, Aikaterini Kounalaki, Orestis Kairis

Abstract
Terraces are constructions built mainly in hilly areas to combat desertification by reducing soil erosion and conserving water. Techniques of terrace construction have been changed through centuries.   In early practice, the land was shaped into a series of nearly level benches or step-like formations bounded on the lower side by an almost vertical, usually stony wall. Modern practice in terracing low-graded channels or parallel benches are constructed either straight or usually curving round the contour lines.  Many of the traditional terraced areas around the Mediterranean have been abandoned with positive or negative effects on the protection of the land depending on soil, topographic, and climatic conditions. Considering that old terraces protect very valuable soil for the growing natural or agricultural vegetation, maintenance and protection of such terraces should be ameliorated with the aid of national or European Union consolidation schemes, particularly in the environmentally sensitive areas to desertification. Land terracing is a serious human intervention in sloping semi-natural landscapes, which must be considered after detailed analysis of the land characteristics, the magnitude of the environmental impacts, and the expected benefits.

 

Booklet

Leaflet

PowerPoint

 

C3 - Intensive agricultural production using irrigation

by Jorge Garcia Gomez and Francisco López Bermúdez

Abstract
The expansion of intensive agricultural production using irrigation can be both a source of wealth and of widespread concern regarding sustainable land use and desertification. The potentially negative environmental impacts of this type of land use on a number of other economic and ecological functions are analysed. These include the depletion of groundwater resources, the partial or temporary disappearance of lakes, wetlands and rivers, seawater intrusion in coastal areas and salinisation and soil contamination. There has been a recent trend for this type of agriculture to expand from the traditional areas of irrigation, for example along river flood plains, to former areas of dryland farming. On the global scale it moves towards southern countries. This booklet will illustrate the impact of intensive irrigated farming but also explain the principles and practises that can be applied to the management of irrigated areas.

Booklet

Leaflet

PowerPoint

 

C4 - Dry agriculture

by Giovanni Quaranta

Abstract
Dry Agriculture or Dryland Farming is the cultivation of crops without irrigation in regions where the annual precipitation is below 500 mm. Dry farming mostly relies on specific cultivation techniques that allow an efficient and effective use of the limited soil moisture.
The objective of this booklet is to identify the critical factors that may contribute to the promotion of desertification under dry agriculture and to define strategies that may efficiently counteract this process. The booklet will mainly address land and water conservation, focusing particularly on non-irrigated crops typical of the Mediterranean environment, which generally rely on seasonal rainfall. Environmental, political and economic issues related to the sustainability of dry agriculture will be also addressed.
Standard measures to combat desertification and novel approaches, including the reintroduction of traditional knowledge and the potential of biotechnologies will also be considered.

 

Booklet

Leaflet

PowerPoint

 

C5 - Grazing land and pastoral landscapes

by Vasilios P. Papanastasis

Abstract
Grazing lands cover more than 20 million hectares in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain and constitute important feed resources for livestock such as sheep, goats and cattle. They form pastoral landscapes which are largely desertified due to a long history of irrational grazing activities. Such activities include overgrazing, undergrazing, the use of inappropriate kind of animals, especially goats, and the application of communal grazing. Desertification is also caused by the interaction between pastoral wildfires and overgrazing as well as by wrong national and European policies. Mitigation measures could be simple, i.e. deferring grazing for some time, or more complicated. In the latter case, regulation of grazing and implementation of the necessary vegetation and soil improvements are needed in order to restore productivity. For the success of such measures it will be also necessary to accordingly adjust grazing policies as well as to solve any administrative or land tenure problems.

 

Booklet

Leaflet

PowerPoint


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LUCINDA Project 2006/2008