Water, Environment and Business for Development

Links Between Agricultural Practices and Biodiversity in Mediterranean Landscapes

 In Projects (en)


Extensive agricultural systems have contributed to livelihood subsistence in the Mediterranean basin for centuries as well as playing an important role in shaping the Mediterranean biodiversity. It has contributed to shape landscapes, culture and society through often complex and multidirectional relations. However, the relationship between cultural practices in extensive agricultural systems and biodiversity has not been well studied.


The objective:

This study explored the relationships and reactions between cultural practices (agriculture, pastoralism, forestry, etc.) and biodiversity in the Mediterranean basin. These practices and cultural links were documented and verified through peer reviewed literature and expert interviews with key local focal points.


Type of services provided:

WE&B used a combination of structured interviews held with experts on the nexus between biodiversity and cultural practices from 9 case studies in the Mediterranean, as well as a literature review.

The study found that a significant amount of cultural practices related to biodiversity exist in the Mediterranean basin. There is a link between Practice-Biodiversity Nexus in (i) Genes (local livestock breeds and selection of land varieties); (ii) Species (Pruning and thinning maintains Q. ilex, Q. pyrenaica and Castanea spp.) and (iii) Ecosystems (Transhumance and transtermitance; Herding by shepherds; Governance norms and rules).

The study also found the relationships between biodiversity and cultural practices that should be further explored including:

  • Dry Stone Wall Management
  • Water ditches and semi-permanent ponds
  • Soil Fertility and soil biodiversity
  • Governance practices




Mediterranean region


Start: 07/2019
End: 10/2019

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