Mapping Change in Agricultural Landscapes of Lemnos

By Mediterranean Institute For Nature and Anthropos (MedINA)

In the past people in Mediterranean islands have applied complex strategies in production in order to cope with limitations in space, resources and connectivity, resulting in agricultural systems of high diversity and complementarity (Giourga, 1991). This process has produced a unique landscape that characterizes the islands. The agricultural landscape of Mediterranean islands transformed radically over
the last 60 years. The results differ, due to the interplay of macro, national and local factors for each setting.

It has been acknowledged that those changes in some cases are linked with severe environmental problems such as soil erosion, desertification and biodiversity loss, as well as with loss of cultural practices. The study of landscape change and the evolution of landscapes provide a tool to understand today’s land uses and landscape dynamics. As societies and nature are dynamic, change is an inherent characteristic of landscapes (Burgi et al., 2005). The rate of change, the areas where it happens, the process behind it are all subjects of study. Landscapes represent a specific status of the dynamic relation between humans and the environment evolved over time in a specific topographic and spatial setting. 


Land use and management systems that have been formed from this interaction, leave their own imprint on the landscape through land use and settlement patterns, elements such as walls and terraces, and more. Studying traditional rural landscapes can be used as a source of essential knowledge about sustainable management techniques (Antrop, 2005). These agro-silvo-pastoral systems developed through millennia of experience, permit a continuous but sustainable exploitation of environmental resources (Margaris, 1993). For this reason, traditional rural landscapes have been in focus by many studies in landscape history (Malek and Verburg, 2017).

The scope of this work is twofold. The first aim is to explore changes in an insular Mediterranean landscape and to study trajectories of change, understand the processes and the temporal trends. The second aim is to explore the socio-economic drivers that underlie landscape changes or lack of. This is a case study analysis of landscape history and driving forces of past landscape change.

Data and costs for this study have been provided in the scope of the project “Translation of OAP activities into acknowledged landscape approaches (M6) – (17071)” implemented by MedINA and funded by the MAVA Foundation for Nature.