Special Issue "Landscapes in the Eastern Mediterranean between the Future and the Past"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2017).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ioannis N. Vogiatzakis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Pure and Applied Sciences, Open University of Cyprus (OUC), P.O. Box 12794, 2252 Latsia, Nicosia, Cyprus
Interests: ecology and biogeography of Mediterranean islands and mountains; the links between geomorphology and vegetation distribution patterns; predictive vegetation and habitat mapping; landscape based approach to nature conservation delivery; effectiveness of protected areas for biodiversity conservation; effects of landscape structure and habitat quality on biodiversity; spatial scale effects on ecosystem services and sustainability assessment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Theano S. Terkenli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geography, University of the Aegean, University Hill, 81100 Mytiline, Greece
Interests: human and cultural geography; landscape studies; tourism; geographies of everyday life
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Maria Gabriella Trovato
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences American University of Beirut, P.O. Box 11-0236 Riad El-Solh, Beirut 1107 2020, Lebanon
Interests: migration, conflict and the role of landscape planning and design; everyday landscape practices; cultural landscapes design; landscape risk assessment; landscape decision support system; reading and mapping the landscape
Prof. Dr. Nizar Abu-Jaber
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center for the Study of Natural and Cultural Heritage, German Jordanian University, Amman 11180, Jordan
Interests: surface and groundwater resources and their shaping and interaction with the landscape; climate change as a key to understanding landscape changes; human interventions that shape the landscape to maximize available resources; pedagogical approaches to explain the importance of sustainability as a cornerstone for planning and the role of understanding landscape in attaining that goal

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Landscapes have long been viewed as ‘multi-functional’, integrating ecological, economic, socio-cultural, historical, and aesthetic dimensions. Landscape science and public awareness in Europe have been progressing by leaps and bounds. The challenges involved in landscape-related issues and fields, however, are multiple and refer to landscape stewardship and protection, as well as to the development of comprehensive theoretical and methodological approaches, in tandem with public sensitization and participatory governance, and in coordination with appropriate top-down planning and policy instruments. Landscape scale approaches are fundamental to the understanding of past and present cultural evolution and are now considered to be an appropriate spatial framework for the analysis of sustainability. Methods and tools of landscape analysis and intervention have also gone a long way, since their early development, in Europe and the U.S. Although significant progress has been made, there remain many issues which are understudied or not investigated at all—at least in a Mediterranean context. This Special Issue will focus on the application of landscape theory and practice in the Eastern Mediterranean and mainly, but not exclusively, report on the outcomes of an international conference held in Jordan, in December, 2015, with the title “Landscapes of Eastern Mediterranean: Challenges, Opportunities, Prospects and Accomplishments”. The focus of this Special Issue, landscapes of the Eastern Mediterranean region, thus, constitutes a timely area of research interest, not only because these landscapes have so far been understudied, but also as a rich site of strikingly variegated, long-standing multi-cultural human-environmental interactions. These interactions, resting on and taking shape through millennia of continuity in tradition, have been striving to adapt to technological advances, while currently juggling with manifold and multi-layered socio-economic and climate–environmental crises.

Dr. Ioannis N. Vogiatzakis
Prof. Theano S. Terkenli
Dr. Maria Gabriella Trovato
Prof. Nizar Abu-Jaber
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Landscapes in the Eastern Mediterranean between the Future and the Past
Land 2018, 7(4), 160; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land7040160 - 18 Dec 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1244
Abstract
Landscapes have long been viewed as complex, synthetic entities reflecting the human imprint upon the land. [...] Full article

Research

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Article
Landscape and Urban Governance: Participatory Planning of the Public Realm in Saida, Lebanon
Land 2018, 7(2), 48; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land7020048 - 12 Apr 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3257
Abstract
The political shift in Lebanon since the 1990s towards market-led development has encouraged the incremental appropriation of public spaces and state lands, and their conversion into gated, monitored enclaves that serve a privileged few. The process disregards the role of the urban public [...] Read more.
The political shift in Lebanon since the 1990s towards market-led development has encouraged the incremental appropriation of public spaces and state lands, and their conversion into gated, monitored enclaves that serve a privileged few. The process disregards the role of the urban public realm and undermines its potential as an inclusive space and enabling platform for urban governance. This article advocates a participatory approach to urban development, one that engages local stakeholders, institutions, and the public at large as active partners working towards sustainable urban futures. We draw on a case study in Saida, Lebanon, to illustrate participatory planning methods and demonstrate the role of landscape architects in enabling community-led development that is place responsive and sensitive to local narratives of heritage and identity. The project’s participatory methodology and landscape architecture’s expansive framing, the paper argues, democratizes the planning process and contributes to urban governance that empowers local authorities and local stakeholders in the face of privatization and market-led development. Full article
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Article
The Cultural Landscape Past of the Eastern Mediterranean: The Border Lord’s Gardens and the Common Landscape Tradition of the Arabic and Byzantine Culture
Land 2018, 7(1), 28; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land7010028 - 26 Feb 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1937
Abstract
An evaluation of landscape tradition, in Near and Middle East area, could emphasize a profound past of agricultural experience, as well as of landscape and garden art. In reference to this common past, Byzantine and Arabic landscape and garden art paradigms appear to [...] Read more.
An evaluation of landscape tradition, in Near and Middle East area, could emphasize a profound past of agricultural experience, as well as of landscape and garden art. In reference to this common past, Byzantine and Arabic landscape and garden art paradigms appear to be geographically and culturally correlated, as proved by a Byzantine 12th century folksong, presenting the construction of a villa, with its surrounding gardens and landscape formations, in the territory of Euphrates River. This song refers to Vasilios Digenes Akritas or ‘Border Lord’, a legendary hero of mixed Byzantine-Greek and Arab blood; ‘Digenes’ meaning a person of dual genes, both of Byzantine and Arabic origin, and ‘Akritas’ an inhabitant of the borderline. At the end of the narration of the song, contemporary reader feels skeptical. Was modern landscape and garden art born in the European continent or was it transferred to Western world through an eastern originated lineage of Byzantine and Arabic provenance? Full article
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Article
A Stakeholders’ Analysis of Eastern Mediterranean Landscapes: Contextualities, Commonalities and Concerns
Land 2017, 6(4), 90; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land6040090 - 14 Dec 2017
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2155
Abstract
This study aims at demonstrating and critically assessing high-level landscape stakeholders’ perceptions and understandings of landscape-related issues, threats and problems, in the Eastern Mediterranean, through a purposive comparative research survey of four case studies: Cyprus, Greece, Jordan and Lebanon. Employing qualitative data analysis [...] Read more.
This study aims at demonstrating and critically assessing high-level landscape stakeholders’ perceptions and understandings of landscape-related issues, threats and problems, in the Eastern Mediterranean, through a purposive comparative research survey of four case studies: Cyprus, Greece, Jordan and Lebanon. Employing qualitative data analysis of intensive stakeholder interviews, performed in the broader context of the MEDSCAPES ENPI-MED project (www.enpi-medscapes.org), the paper draws together the insights and concerns of a total of 61 public entities, private entrepreneurs, academicians and NGO representatives, on landscape knowledge, understanding, management and public awareness, in these four countries. The results point to significant commonalities among them and begin to show relational and synthetic nature of the interrelationship between humans and the landscape, as it developed in the context of the local and regional geographies and histories of this broader region, affected by and involving a series of relevant geophysical, economic, political, social, moral, institutional and other parameters. Full article
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Article
Landscape Risk Assessment Model and Decision Support System for the Protection of the Natural and Cultural Heritage in the Eastern Mediterranean Area
Land 2017, 6(4), 76; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land6040076 - 03 Nov 2017
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2865
Abstract
In recent years, the competition of uses for scarce and highly valuable natural resources, and the frequency and severity of natural and technological disasters have increased, and this trend is likely to worsen in the years to come. In the Mediterranean area, especially [...] Read more.
In recent years, the competition of uses for scarce and highly valuable natural resources, and the frequency and severity of natural and technological disasters have increased, and this trend is likely to worsen in the years to come. In the Mediterranean area, especially in its Eastern part, the high human exploitation driven by different economic sectors and interests is resulting in intensive use of the land and its resources. Tourism intensification, rapid growth of urban settlement and related sprawl, movement and displacement of populations, rural abandonment, and adoption of different agricultural techniques are profoundly and rapidly changing the landscape character of the East Mediterranean. In view of the risks to cultural and natural heritage, a Landscape Risk Assessment Model (LRA) and Decision Support System (LDSS) were developed through the MedScapes-ENPI project. This paper reports the experience conducted at the Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management Department (LDEM) in the American University of Beirut (AUB) in developing the two tools, LRA and LDSS. It aims to provide insight into the methodology designed and tested during the length of the project to take into account the protection of landscapes of particular interest as well as the rational planning of all the landscapes with special emphasis on the use of natural resources. The assessment was applied in the study area of each partner country of the ENPI project, allowing for a better understanding of the implications in land-use and conservation decision-making. Full article
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Article
Investigating the Diversity and Variability of Eastern Mediterranean Landscapes
Land 2017, 6(4), 71; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land6040071 - 20 Oct 2017
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2608
Abstract
The aim of the paper is to examine the variability of eastern Mediterranean landscapes using a common mapping framework relying on Landscape Character Mapping (LCM). LCM was adapted to the region’s specificities placing emphasis on the area’s coastal nature, landform variation, land use, [...] Read more.
The aim of the paper is to examine the variability of eastern Mediterranean landscapes using a common mapping framework relying on Landscape Character Mapping (LCM). LCM was adapted to the region’s specificities placing emphasis on the area’s coastal nature, landform variation, land use, in particular pastoral tradition, and settlement patterns, an important output of this study. We selected six study areas, in four countries namely Cyprus, Greece, Jordan and Lebanon, based on their rich cultural and natural heritage, covering a NW to SE gradient of both environmental and cultural settings. We used commonly employed landscape metrics to quantify landscape diversity in the study areas. Similarity in landscape types among study area was measured using Sørensen similarity index. The Kruskall–Walis test was used to test the variability among countries in terms of landscape character variation due to physical and cultural factors. Linear regression was used to assess whether landscape diversity increases with area size. The work has identified and mapped a total of 69 landscape types, of which 18 are rare. Rare landscape types were related to specific geomorphology or intensive anthropogenic activities, which do not occur elsewhere in the East Mediterranean region. The highest similarity was recorded between islands and between mountainous areas. The larger the area the higher is its landscape diversity. This works fills a gap in Mediterranean and sets a benchmark standard for landscape characterization work in the East Mediterranean, so as to enable much greater consistency between countries in future landscape mapping exercises and, ultimately, facilitate trans-boundary cooperation in landscape-scale nature and culture conservation. Full article
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Article
Using Historical Maps within a GIS to Analyze Two Centuries of Rural Landscape Changes in Southern Italy
Land 2017, 6(3), 65; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land6030065 - 19 Sep 2017
Cited by 49 | Viewed by 5128
Abstract
The current characteristics of a rural landscape may be better understood if suitable information related to its past is available. The availability of a Geographical Information System (GIS) can enable the analysis of landscape features in relation to several aspects, e.g., the evolution [...] Read more.
The current characteristics of a rural landscape may be better understood if suitable information related to its past is available. The availability of a Geographical Information System (GIS) can enable the analysis of landscape features in relation to several aspects, e.g., the evolution and mutual inter-relation among different ecosystems, the impact and sustainability of human activities, the visual characteristics of a landscape, etc. The analysis of geographical information, derived from historical maps, within a GIS could, therefore, prove to be a very powerful tool, for a better-informed decision-making and management of a rural landscape. With the aim to identify the land use changes in a rural area located in the Basilicata Region (Southern Italy), a territorial analysis was conducted through a GIS, in which data taken from historical maps—covering a period of 184 years, from 1829 to 2013—were implemented. Three-dimensional reconstruction of the rural landscape during different periods were obtained through digital terrain models (DTM). The land cover changes were also evaluated, demonstrating how they have affected the quality of the forest ecosystem in the area. The final results that were obtained comparing historical documents and current maps enabled the evaluation of the multi-temporal, morphological, and vegetation variations in this rural landscape. The analysis that was conducted has great potential for assessing and monitoring landscape diversity and typical changes of vegetation, even in different geographical locations, where appropriate interventions in landscape structures may be so planned. Full article
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Article
The Influence of Geology on Landscape Typology in Jordan: Theoretical Understanding and Planning Implications
Land 2017, 6(3), 51; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land6030051 - 31 Jul 2017
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2937
Abstract
Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) has been introduced into Jordan through the MEDSCAPES project. The purpose of this project was to streamline landscape studies and integrate them into the land use planning practices in Jordan. Two areas within the Mediterranean and arid climatic zones [...] Read more.
Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) has been introduced into Jordan through the MEDSCAPES project. The purpose of this project was to streamline landscape studies and integrate them into the land use planning practices in Jordan. Two areas within the Mediterranean and arid climatic zones of the country were chosen as test areas for the methodology. These were the Yarmouk River drainage basin in the northwest of the country and the Mujib River area in the west of Jordan within the Dead Sea basin. Landscape Character Mapping resulted in 22 and 64 Land Description Units (LDUs) for the Yarmouk and Mujib areas, respectively, which were then classified into 14 landscape types. The factors which control the spatial distributions of these units are geology, land cover, landform, and settlements. However, the study suggests that the underlying geology, which influences topography, impacts indirectly on soil types, climate zones, and human activities, and hence has a predominant influence on the character of these units. Specifically, the transition between the Dead Sea Rift Valley and the adjacent highlands create variations in the topographical relief, climate, water availability, and human settlements. Implementation of LCA in Jordan has done much to highlight geological hazards, such as sinkholes, as constraints to development in certain areas. Here, we described how the LCA process could be implemented in Jordan and how this can help in improving land use management practices in the country. Full article
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Article
Landscape Archaeology and Sacred Space in the Eastern Mediterranean: A Glimpse from Cyprus
Land 2017, 6(2), 40; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land6020040 - 14 Jun 2017
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3541
Abstract
This article aims to raise issues for discussion about the change in the use and concept of sacred landscapes, which were originally constructed in the era of the Cypriot kings (the basileis), but then continued to function in a new imperial environment, [...] Read more.
This article aims to raise issues for discussion about the change in the use and concept of sacred landscapes, which were originally constructed in the era of the Cypriot kings (the basileis), but then continued to function in a new imperial environment, that of the rule of the Ptolemaic strategos and later of the Roman proconsul and the various Christian bishops. Our archaeological survey project in the Xeros river valley, titled ‘Settled and Sacred Landscapes of Cyprus’, reveals that these new politico-economic structures were also supported by the construction of symbolically charged sacred landscapes. Thus, while outlining the long history of the island as manifested from the diachronic study of Cypriot sacred landscapes, we identify three pivotal phases: first, the consolidation of the Cypriot polities and the establishment of a ‘full’ sacred landscape; second, the transition from segmented to unitary administration under the Ptolemaic and Roman imperial rule and the consolidation of a more ‘unified sacred landscape’; and finally, the establishment of a number of Christian bishoprics on the island and the movement back to a ‘full’ sacred landscape. Moving beyond the discipline of Cypriot archaeology, this contribution aims to serve as a paradigm for the implications that the employment of the ‘sacred landscapes’ concept may have when addressing issues of socio-political and socio-economic transformations. While it is very difficult to define or capture the concept of landscape in a pre-modern world, it offers a useful means by which to assess changing local conditions. We have also attempted to situate the term in archaeological thought, in order to allow the concept to become a more powerful investigative tool for approaching the past. Full article
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Review

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Review
Transferring Landscape Character Assessment from the UK to the Eastern Mediterranean: Challenges and Perspectives
Land 2018, 7(1), 36; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land7010036 - 15 Mar 2018
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2249
Abstract
Landscape character assessment (LCA) has a significant contribution to make as a spatial framework for the emerging concept of ‘multi-functional landscapes’, a landscape providing a range of functions, services, and human-derived benefits. The paper reviews the development of LCA in Northwest Europe with [...] Read more.
Landscape character assessment (LCA) has a significant contribution to make as a spatial framework for the emerging concept of ‘multi-functional landscapes’, a landscape providing a range of functions, services, and human-derived benefits. The paper reviews the development of LCA in Northwest Europe with a brief description of more recent LCA projects in a Mediterranean context. This is followed by a comparative description of the Living Landscapes approach developed in the UK as applied to Cyprus. The focus is upon the challenges, and limitations, of transferring a method developed in one context to the different physical and cultural setting of the island of Cyprus examining differences in the definition of landscapes, the availability of information on the cultural landscape, the importance of incorporating a strong element of ‘time-depth’, and the potential of LCA for enhancing land use policy at a time of increased land pressures in the Mediterranean. Full article
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