Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The deterioration of Mediterranean farmland patrimony

Date:
February 28, 2011
Source:
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Summary:
The traditionally irrigated Mediterranean landscape has suffered an important loss of the cultural and ecological patrimony that it holds, especially as a result of the modernization of the traditional watering networks established throughout this countryside, according to researchers.

Photographs of the Murcia farmland taken from the Cabezo de Monteagudo at the beginning of the past century and in 2008. The most important difference is the intense housing development, as well as the different type of farming: horticulture in the old photo and fruit trees in the more recent one. In short, the photos reveal the graphic chronicle of how an agricultural landscape has become a suburban landscape.
Credit: Image courtesy of Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

The starting point for this research is the recent and relentless transformation processes that the traditional irrigation network in the Mediterranean region has undergone and the subsequent degradation of some of its landscape, of great value from the point of view of productivity, patrimony and identity. The study deals with the relation between water and the agricultural landscape as well as the treatment of patrimonial values in public actions.

"It is vital that hydraulic policy and modernization projects for watering infrastructure be designed based on the principle of the multifunctionality of the old irrigation systems, assuming that economic efficiency not be the only parameter for evaluating public decisions. Cultural, patrimonial and even ecological values must be taken into account," concluded the UC3M Professor, Santiago Fernández Muñoz, who is the author of this study, together with Rafael Mata, Full Professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

This research, stemming from the creation of a scientific panel to follow up water policy from an initiative of the Fundación Nueva Cultura del Agua, has been recently been published in Scripta Nova, the geography journal in the Spanish language. In the article, after carrying out a typology proposal of the traditionally irrigated countryside in Spain, its contemporary evolution is characterized, taking the Murcia huerta (farmland) as an example. The researchers have identified a relentless process of transformation of the Mediterranean huertas as a consequence of a reduction in the cultivated surface and encroaching housing developments. At the same time, the professors pointed out, the loss of cultural and ecological patrimony of the traditional irrigation and drainage networks carries with it a high risk of the disappearance of a valuable landscape in need of preservation, from a cultural, territorial, productive and even biological perspective.

A landscape with its own identity

The areas with the historic watering system are an excellent example of the agrarian landscape of Mediterranean valleys in dry and semi-arid areas. "They have been real agricultural oases, one of the most representative types in the Spanish Mediterranean area, which should be included among the most significant agriculture spaces in the European scale, together with the Atlantic bocages and the open fields in the continent's interior," commented Santiago Fernández Muñoz, from the UC3M Humanities Department: History, Geography and Art. "For certain areas, moreover, landscapes such as Valencia's horta or the Murcia huerta are as much identified with those region as are the Retiro for Madrid and Montserrat for Catalonia."

The last part of the researcher's study characterized some of the impact of modernization policies on patrimonial values for historic irrigated landscape and point out proposals to manage and safeguard these areas. "Such conservation has been carried out through the instrument of territorial and urbanistic planning or where appropriate, as in the historical patrimony or preservation of nature model, which might be applied," the researchers pointed out, who also stress "the necessary consideration of certain areas in the traditionally irrigated Mediterranean as "special protected" (as established in the Reglamento de Planificación Hidrológica (Hydraulic Planning Regulations) ; article 23) and which should be incorporated in the hydraulic plans currently being drafted in certain areas," the researchers summed up.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. "The deterioration of Mediterranean farmland patrimony." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110228090605.htm>.
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. (2011, February 28). The deterioration of Mediterranean farmland patrimony. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110228090605.htm
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. "The deterioration of Mediterranean farmland patrimony." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110228090605.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins