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Mapping and modelling adaptation processes in Mediterranean agricultural landscapes

  • 1 April, 2015
  • VU University Amsterdam, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM)
  • Prof. Peter Verburg
  • Dr Nynke Schulp

Farming systems across the Mediterranean Basin are home to unique and traditional agricultural productions, field elements, and cultivation practices. Despite their long-standing occurrence, these features have persisted within dynamic contexts which have seen farmers modify their systems through consolidation, diversification, and extensification processes. This dynamism is very much still characterizing the region today, as it continues to witness shrinking profit margins, climatic anomalies, and a policy environment gradually embracing adaptive and mitigative approaches in what has been identified as one of the world’s fastest warming regions. This research focusses on how two important challenges faced by farming communities in the Mediterranean Basin, notably climate change and declining profits, are likely to drive further changes to the configuration of farming systems in this region. This exploration implements a mixed-method and multi-scalar approach. Field interviews with farmers and agricultural stakeholders within two case study areas aim to identify existing farming typologies, categorizing the structural elements of farms, as well as the internal motivations guiding farmers in their decision-making. By means of spatial analysis and agent-based modelling, this thesis subsequently illustrates how the identified typologies are likely to influence the future implementation of adaptations at both the local and regional scales under contrasting institutional, socio-economic, and biophysical scenarios. In so doing, it provides input for discussions on Mediterranean futures, reflecting on the role of changing agriculture in relation to regional livelihoods and the preservation of the region’s endangered biodiversity, soil, and water resources.

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Cecilia Zagaria

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