Academic journal article Geopolitics, History and International Relations

Conservation and Management of Greek Landscapes: The Case Study of Lemnos Island

Academic journal article Geopolitics, History and International Relations

Conservation and Management of Greek Landscapes: The Case Study of Lemnos Island

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT. Greek landscapes encompass a wide range of diverse components, which can be seen as invaluable sources of life, as well as an exceptional socio-cultural record. Yet, the numerous sustainability issues that are included in their conservation and management result in a high degree of complexity since important parameters tend to be ignored. The issue of how to develop an integrated tool that will rationalize and facilitate the complicated management process is the area that requires further investigation. Using the Greek island of Lemnos as a case study, the author reports on the effects of Greece's development process on its landscapes and he suggests ways for their integrated management.

Keywords: landscapes, conservation, management, sustainability, integration

Introduction

The European Landscape Convention recognizing that they comprise many cultural, environmental, social and economic aspects defined landscapes as areas "as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factor" (CoE, 2000, 3). However, each and every individual is likely to understand and describe landscapes in their own distinct way, a perception that withholds a deeper meaning. Such levels of subjectivity can be clarified by using criteria agreed beforehand so that all involved stakeholders appreciate the basic functions of landscapes. However, such criteria are not always easily identified since mono-disciplinary approaches could lead in misleading outcomes.

The physical (natural) planning of insular Greece has created a variety of environmental, social and cultural groupings. Lemnos belongs to the purely insular region of North Aegean. Its key geographical position de- termined not only its history but also its landscapes. These landscapes, tangible signs of Lemnos' journey through time, uncover the richness of its natural environment and the diverse aspects of its socio-cultural life. Yet, most economic and socio-cultural changes are depicted in the changes of its landscapes (Dodouras et al. 2009)

The numerous, and inherently complex, sustainability issues related to landscape management result in a high degree of uncertainty since important parameters tend to be ignored. Lemnos' unique natural and cultural heritage should form the basis for development that is sustainable. Strategic landscape management should not be based on rear-view development plans. Rather, the focus must be on integrated approaches that will inspire and engage people in a participative process, coordinate several long-term initiatives and rationalize the complicated management process (Papayannis and Sorotou, 2010).

Site Level Analysis

There is a considerable variation between the landscapes of Lemnos' western semi-mountainous part and those of the eastern part with the extensive flat grazing plains. In the western part of the island, the terrain ranges from flat to hilly and is mostly covered by evergreen shrubs, brushwood and wild flowers. On the east side, the lack of tree vegetation and the cultivated land determine the basic colours of the island and form some dominant landscapes. The island's designated Natura 2000 areas have been classified as Special Protected Areas and Sites of Community Interest according to the EU Habitats and Birds Directives, respectively.

The local geomorphology and microclimate contributed to the development of a vibrant agricultural and stock-breeding community. Unique landraces can still be found under cultivation, especially by people in remote villages, who keep their own seeds and use them mainly for their own consumption. Although landrace production is a rare and excellent example of community-based on-farm conservation and maintenance, it is a production system in crisis (Vetelainen et al. 2009). However, wheat, barley, sesame, dairy products, grapes, figs, wine, honey, pastas are only some of the local quality products with a potential of being recorded as products with a name origin. …

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