Mediterranean Patchwork

Reinforce Mediterranean landscapes resilience in front of climate and socio-economical changes

Develop rural development as well as new modes of conservation, base on local communities identities

Support the implementation of a new working framework for local, national and international policies of rural development, beyond the logic of grants

The vulnerability of the Mediterranean socio-ecosystems to climate change may be seen as increased by the actual practices and processes lead by Men: they contribute to the reduction of water retention and other regulation functions, and lead to an accelerated degradation and thinning out of landscapes.

Today’s scientists and researchers think that if they go over the critical thresholds, the alterations interrelated in ecological, socio-economical and cultural systems could rapidly lead to domino effects with irreversible changes. The latter may lead to socio-ecological conditions not wanted, impoverishment of the natural and social capital, and to the loss of landscapes capacities in maintaining their human populations and the goods and services related.

Enjoying a high level of biodiversity, a strong regional identity and culturally rich societies, Mediterranean landscapes tend to be socio-ecosystems pretty much reliable. It is possible that this diversity decreases the probability of sudden changes which might lead to ecological and irreversible socio-economical and ecological losses. To avoid to go over the critical thresholds leading to not-wanted changes, it is essential to avoid going over the socio-cultural thresholds. Therefore, the maintaining and restoration of “intelligent face to troubles” Mediterranean Mosaics are the best guarantees for a better resilience in front of climate change.

Facing the negative effects of climate and socio-economical changes, the upholding of viable ecosystems and the improvement of damaged landscapes resilience call for a dynamic and appropriate management as well as governance for resilience. According to the experts’ majority, the main criteria for Mediterranean landscapes conservation and restoration are the following:

• In the largest possible scale, deal with the impacts and real causes of the main environmental and cultural changes, as well as the causal links which brought these impacts.
• Introduce new modes of landscapes multi-functional management, through the combination of traditional and new approaches and adapted practices as regards as conservation and management.
• Assure the conditions –legislation, financing, competent institutions, involvement of all the actors concerned, increase of capacities and awareness- necessaries to support the managers and users of the territory in its fast progress towards management practices which improve the resilience.
• Improve the self-sufficiency capacities of rural economies, and decrease their dependence to the grants.
The concept of the “Mediterranean Patchwork” project was born from a debate between IUCN-Med and experienced organizations from Spain, Italy and Portugal. The objective is to establish a strategic alliance aiming to drive a new work for nature conservation and rural development, when it comes to landscapes.

In order to strengthen the cooperation between North and South in the region and share the knowledge between the excellence hubs mentioned and the less developed rural landscapes, the project counts on the participation of Lebanese and Algerian organizations. Gathering their strengths and learning from each other, these organizations wish to participate to a new initiative aiming to:

     1. Improve and restore the ecological, cultural and social resilience of the rural and natural zones of Southern Europe, whose natural and cultural patrimony is severely threatened by socio-economical changes which lead to alterations in the soil use, and by the climate change disturbances.
     2. Try new approaches giving viable solutions to the decrease of biological diversity and to the socio-economical crisis that affects the marginal rural landscapes of Mediterranean Europe.
     3. Create a network of pilot sites in order to implement this type of solutions, spread them among nature conservation and rural development specialists, and use them to influence the general legislative framework and the key policies at the local, national and European levels.

One programme, five landscapes

A Socio-Ecosystems Resilience Model
The following localities will be the target of one of this initiative’s work:
• Spain – Basin of the Almonte River
• Portugal – Valley bajo del Guadiana
• Italia – Terra dei Vestini
• Lebanon –Shouf Reserve of Biosphere
• Algeria –El Bayadh Steppe

National Cedar, Shouf Reserve, Lebanon

National Cedar, Shouf Reserve, Lebanon

Photo: IUCN WAME

Mediterranean landscape
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