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Terraced fields and Mediterranean landscape structure: An analytical case study from Antikythera, Greece

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  • Bevan, Andrew
  • Conolly, James

Abstract

Terraces are important capital investments in a range of agricultural landscapes worldwide, typically enduring well beyond any single farming cycle and over many human generations. This paper begins by emphasising that, while human population growth may often be loosely linked to terrace construction efforts, the association is by no means a straightforward one. We then argue that the choice of which parts of the landscape to terrace is driven by a range of cultural and environmental priorities that are most usefully explored by a combination of global, local and auto-correlative modelling, as well as via simulation-based methods. The results demonstrate that surficial geology, terrain slope, pre-existing terraces and pre-existing patterns of human habitation are all important structuring features. We also consider terraces as method for soil conservation, question the uncritical use of meso-scale erosion models and argue that patterns of catastrophic soil loss are often overstated in Mediterranean contexts. However, erosion modelling can, if deployed cautiously and comparatively, nonetheless be used to explore ways in which terraces do indeed manage localised soil movement in agriculturally favoured parts of the landscape, with our results suggesting that a substantial proportion of the erosion in this regions is indeed ameliorated by such measures.

Suggested Citation

  • Bevan, Andrew & Conolly, James, 2011. "Terraced fields and Mediterranean landscape structure: An analytical case study from Antikythera, Greece," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 222(7), pages 1303-1314.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecomod:v:222:y:2011:i:7:p:1303-1314
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2010.12.016
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hengl, Tomislav & Sierdsema, Henk & Radović, Andreja & Dilo, Arta, 2009. "Spatial prediction of species’ distributions from occurrence-only records: combining point pattern analysis, ENFA and regression-kriging," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 220(24), pages 3499-3511.
    2. Miller, Jennifer & Franklin, Janet & Aspinall, Richard, 2007. "Incorporating spatial dependence in predictive vegetation models," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 202(3), pages 225-242.
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    1. Emanuela Cicinelli & Giulia Caneva & Valentina Savo, 2021. "A Review on Management Strategies of the Terraced Agricultural Systems and Conservation Actions to Maintain Cultural Landscapes around the Mediterranean Area," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(8), pages 1-12, April.
    2. Fernando Allende Álvarez & Gillian Gómez-Mediavilla & Nieves López-Estébanez & Pedro Molina Holgado & Judith Ares Barajas, 2021. "Hedgerows and Enclosures in Rural Areas: Traditional vs. Modern Land Use in Mediterranean Mountains," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(1), pages 1-18, January.

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