LIFE Project Cover Photo

EMPLOYING LAND STEWARDSHIP TO TRANSFORM TERRACED LANDSCAPES INTO GREEN INFRASTRUCTURES TO BETTER ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Reference: LIFE16 CCA/GR/000050 | Acronym: LIFE TERRACESCAPE

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

Based on current projections of climatic models for the Mediterranean islands, summer aridity is expected to rise, leading to prolonged droughts, increased frequency of forest fires and aggravated pressure on already vulnerable and scarce water resources. Severe rainfall and flooding are likely to increase, exacerbating soil erosion and land degradation. The situation is expected to impact the local ecosystem resilience and the most important economic sectors on the islands – agriculture and tourism.

The cultivation of drystone terraces constitutes the most significant large-scale human intervention on the landscape of the Aegean Islands since the emergence of their civilisation. Until the mid-1960s, the cultivation terraces provided almost the only network supporting primary production on the islands (cultivation, livestock raising and beekeeping). They supported the island ecosystem services by improving rainwater percolation, reducing soil erosion and favouring local biodiversity (harvest plants and associated animal species). The recent abandonment of cultivation terraces has caused the end of self-sufficiency of the islands in primary goods, and has made the island ecosystem more vulnerable and susceptible to climate change impacts.


OBJECTIVES

The LIFE TERRACESCAPE project aims to demonstrate, on the Aegean island of Andros, the use of drystone terraces as green infrastructures resilient to climate change impacts. The project will promote climatic adaptation by mobilising scientific knowledge, traditional farming and land stewardship (LS) practices for a large-scale revitalisation of island terrace farming. By addressing climatic and environmental extremities and supporting a modern, extensive and climate-smart agricultural sector for the Mediterranean islands, profound benefits for local societies, economies and biodiversity are expected to accrue.

The specific project objectives are to:

  • Demonstrate climate adaptation of island landscapes using innovative farming methods to highlight the significance of terraces as key green infrastructure elements;
  • Establish for the first time in the country an operational LS scheme and a smart local products cluster involving multiple stakeholders;
  • Demonstrate the feasibility of large-scale (>150 ha) restoration and re-cultivation of abandoned terraces in Andros;
  • Produce climate-smart added-value products by establishing a smart local cluster of farmers, food and tourism businesses to contribute to the sustainability and continuation of the approach;
  • Promote the transferability of the approach to other Aegean islands, through a strategic adaptation plan for agriculture, to improve the islands’ resilience to climate change impacts; and
  • Increase awareness of target groups and encourage behavioural changes towards climate-responsible attitudes.
  • Expected results:

  • An effective strategic adaptation plan for the agricultural sector of small Aegean island ecosystems, to provide guidance to local and regional actors;
  • Establishment of a local LS scheme engaging multiple stakeholders in a sustainable land management approach, and introducing the LS initiative in Greece in a well-organised and effective way, including the development of a web platform and a helpdesk to support its replication;
  • Establishment of the Agro-nutritional Cooperation of Andros, a certification label for climate-smart local agricultural products;
  • Propagation of local crop varieties to be cultivated on project terraces;
  • Organisation of the Andros drystone wall school, three workshops and eight training seminars;
  • A good practice guide and a decision support tool for climate-smart agriculture and climate-resilient small Mediterranean islands; and
  • An extensive awareness campaign, including events, preparation of printed material and a documentary.
  • Those results will lead to the following substantial outputs:

  • Climatic adaptation of a significant part (>10%) of island farmlands, with at least 150 ha cultivated with climate-smart agricultural practices and at least 70 farmers signing LS agreements;
  • 760 ha of local habitats with increased resilience to climate change;
  • Demonstration interventions and application of climate-smart practices improving the state of habitats and biodiversity, achieve micro-climate changes (such as a reduction of temperature by 1.5°C and a 10% increase in humidity) and favour threatened endemic plant and bird species;
  • Crops with an estimated total value of €272 000, reaching an expected 10 000 consumers;
  • At least 50 000 entities/individuals reached and made aware of the project’s aims, resulting in an expected behavioural change of 5-30% in the different target groups.
  • The project will significantly contribute to the EU’s climate adaptation strategy. The restoration and re-cultivation of drystone walls and terraces will also contribute to the goals of the EU’s Birds and Habitats Directives in vulnerable island ecosystems. Finally, the LS initiative will emphasise sustainable and resilient smart agricultural and tourism sectors.


    ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


    Reference: LIFE16 CCA/GR/000050
    Acronym: LIFE TERRACESCAPE
    Start Date: 01/07/2017
    End Date: 31/10/2022
    Total Budget: 2,694,038 €
    EU Contribution: 1,562,964 €
    Project Location:

    CONTACT DETAILS


    Coordinating Beneficiary: UNIVERSITY OF THE AEGEAN - RESEARCH UNIT
    Legal Status: PAT
    Address: Lofos Panepistimiou, GR 81132, Mytilini, Ellas
    Contact Person: PETANIDOU THEODORA
    Email: t.petanidou@aegean.gr
    Tel: 302251036406
    Website: http://www.aegean.gr


    LIFE Project Map

    ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

    THEMES

    • Natural resources and ecosystems
    • Resilient communities
    • Sectoral adaptation (industry-services)

    KEYWORDS

    • Agriculture
    • island
    • climate action plan
    • ecosystem-based approach
    • land use

    BENEFICIARIES

    Name Type
    UNIVERSITY OF THE AEGEAN - RESEARCH UNIT Coordinator
    Hellenic Agricultural Organisation - DEMETER, Greece Participant
    National Observatory of Athens, Greece Participant
    Research Committee – National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece Participant
    Municipality of Andros, Greece Participant
    Green Fund, Greece Participant

    READ MORE