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In the Mediterranean region – a global hotspot of biological and food diversity and a microcosm of world sustainability challenges – agricultural landscape change (e.g. agricultural intensification, land abandonment) is a major sustainability concern. Agricultural landscape changes– though appearing at local levels – are increasingly driven by globally interconnected markets. The complexity of these distant connections poses threats and opportunities to sustainability. Substantial knowledge gaps prevail on how to identify patterns, trade-offs and options for sustainable landscape management across different levels, issues and places. The overall objective of the proposed research is to identify leverage points in the value chains of quality landscape products (cork and edible tree crops) that support a transition to sustainable landscape management, accounting for social and ecological trade-offs across scales and users.
The research is organized into three projects. Project 1 provides a place-based perspective that is referring to actor networks, ecosystem services, and landscape change. It will investigate the social-ecological co-generation of landscape products and their ecosystem services. Project 2 develops a value chain-approach, focusing on flows of products, financial resources, and information. The central outcomes will be brought together in Project 3, integrating all project results and determining key leverage points for sustainable landscape management. The projects will have a comparative study design. The starting point of the multi-scale analyses will be four distinct producer landscapes: Alentejo, Portugal, and Maamora, Morocco (cork agroforestry) and Gata-Hurdes, Spain, and High Atlas, Morocco, (mixed farming and pastoralism). The research will compare: (a) each landscape product in two contrasting landscapes, one in the Southern and one in the Northern part of the Mediterranean Basin; and (b) one landscape product that represents predominantly global, long-distance value chains (cork) and one (edible tree crops) that stands for short- to mid-distance value chains. The overarching hypothesis to be explored is that landscape products empower consumers to connect to producer landscapes and to valorise social-ecological landscape characteristics through multiple flows of goods, investment, and information along value chains.
GLP Methods: GIS, Interdisciplinary methods, Participatory methods, Qualitative social science methods (interviews, observations, document review, surveys), Supply and value chains, Synthesis/meta-analysis/meta-study