1. bookVolume 13 (2020): Issue 1-2 (April 2020)
Journal Details
First Published
25 Apr 2013
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
access type Open Access

The Land Use - Land Degradation Nexus in Mediterranean Landscapes – Drivers of Changes And Key Processes at Selected Natura 2000 Sites of Crete, Greece

Published Online: 29 May 2020
Page range: 13 - 24
Received: 14 Jan 2020
Accepted: 24 Mar 2020
Journal Details
First Published
25 Apr 2013
Publication timeframe
2 times per year

The land use–land degradation nexus in Cretan landscapes in regions with Natura 2000 sites was analyzed by an explorative expert driven study based on literature, field work and photo documentation methods with the aim of determining status, drivers and key processes of change. Drivers of current land use changes have been worked out by (1) general tourism developments and tourism related land uses; (2) irrigated olive yard developments; (3) fenced large-scale goat pastures and (4) large scale greenhouses. Key processes of change have been identified and qualitatively assessed for 5 regions with NATURA 2000 areas based on a non-ranked set of 11 descriptive indicators. The analysis includes the status-description and the importance assessment of land degradation processes in selected NATURA 2000 sites. Threats and pressures taken from the NATURA 2000 documentation and the land use – land degradation nexus and the analysis are a suitable basis for future land management in order to reach land degradation neutrality. The result of our analysis opens a new research field for a better integration of the normally thematically isolated analysis in geography, biology/nature conservation and agricultural policy analysis about the drivers and processes in landscape systems towards a better understanding the trends in land cover change (e.g. vegetation/soil degradation), the trends in productivity or functioning changes caused by land uses and as well for the trends in carbon stock change.


Allen, H. d., Randall, R. E., Amable, G. S., and Devereux, B. J. (2006). The impact of changing olive cultivation practices on the ground flora of olive groves in the Messara and Psiloritis regions, Crete, Greece. Land Degradation Development, 17(3), 249–273.Search in Google Scholar

Andriotis, K. (2006). Researching the development gap between the Hinterland and the Coast - Evidence from the Island of Crete. Tourism Management, 27(4), 629–639.Search in Google Scholar

Antón, A., Torrellas, M., Núñez, M., Sevigné, E., Amores, M. J., Muñoz, P., Montero, J. I. (2014). Improvement of agricultural life cycle assessment studies through spatial differentiation and new impact categories: case study on greenhouse tomato production. Environmental Science & Technology, 48(16), 9454–9462.Search in Google Scholar

Barredo, J. I., Caudullo, G., Dosio, A. (2016). Mediterranean habitat loss under future climate conditions: Assessing impacts on the Natura 2000 protected area network. Applied Geography, 75, 83–92.Search in Google Scholar

Cuttelod, A., García, N., Abdul Malak, D., Temple, H., Katariya, V. (2009). The Mediterranean: a biodiversity hotspot under threat. In J.-C. Vié, C. Hilton-Taylor, S. N. Stuart (Eds.), The 2008 Review of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (pp. 1–13). Gland u.a.: IUCN.Search in Google Scholar

Dal Cin D´Agata, C., Skoula, M., Brundu, G. (2009). A preliminary inventory of the alien flora of Crete (Greece). Bocconea. (23), 301–308.Search in Google Scholar

Daliakopoulos, I. N., Pappa, P., Grillakis, M. G., Varouchakis, E. A., Tsanis, I. K. (2016). Modeling Soil Salinity in Greenhouse Cultivations Under a Changing Climate With SALTMED. Soil Science, 181(6), 241–251.Search in Google Scholar

Dimitrakopoulos, P. G., Memtsas, D., Troumbis, A. Y. (2004). Questioning the effectiveness of the Natura 2000 Special Areas of Conservation strategy: the case of Crete. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 13(3), 199–207.Search in Google Scholar

Dimitrou, E. (2008). Conservation plan for the Mediterranean Temporary Ponds habitat in W. Crete. In E. Dimitrou A. Diapoulis (Eds.), Actions for the conservation of Mediterranean Temporary Ponds of Crete. Final Report: Institute of Inland Waters Hellenic Centre for Marine Research.Search in Google Scholar

Dimopoulos, P., Bergmeier, E., Fischer, P. (2006). Natura 2000 Habitat Types of Greece Evaluated in the Light of Distribution, threat and Responsibility. Biology and Environment, 106B (3 European Vegetation in the 21st Century), 175–187.Search in Google Scholar

Donatos, G., Zairis, P. (1991). Seasonality of foreign tourism in the Greek island of Crete. Annals of Tourism Research, 18(3), 515–519.Search in Google Scholar

European Commission. Natura 2000 Public Database. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/access_data/index_en.htmSearch in Google Scholar

Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, European Commission 1992.Search in Google Scholar

European Commission. (2014). Farming for Natura 2000: Guidance on how to support Natura 2000 farming systems to achieve conservation objectives, based on Member States good practice.Search in Google Scholar

European Commission. (2015). Natura 2000 and Forests Part I-II. Technical Report - 2015 – 088.Search in Google Scholar

European Economic Interest Group. Scoping study on the review of links and complementary between Natura 2000 and cultural sites. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/financing/docs/Scoping%20study%20N2000%20and%20culture.pdfSearch in Google Scholar

Farina, A. (2000). The Cultural Landscape as a Model for the Integration of Ecology and Economics. BioScience, 50(4), 313.Search in Google Scholar

Gündoğdu, S., Çevik, C. (2017). Micro- and mesoplastics in Northeast Levantine coast of Turkey: The preliminary results from surface samples. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 118(1-2), 341–347.Search in Google Scholar

Hellenic Statistical Authority. (2019). Crops Surveys / 2017. Retrieved from http://www.statistics.gr/en/statistics/-/publication/SPG63/-Search in Google Scholar

Ispikoudis, I., Lyrintzis, G., Kyriakakis, S. (1993). Impact of human activities on Mediterranean landscapes in western Crete. Landscape and Urban Planning, 24(1-4), 259–271.Search in Google Scholar

IUCN. (2015). Land Degradation Neutrality: Implications and opportunities for conservation. Technical Brief 2nd Edition. Nairobi.Search in Google Scholar

Kairis, O., Karavitis, C., Salvati, L., Kounalaki, A., Kosmas, K. (2015). Exploring the Impact of Overgrazing on Soil Erosion and Land Degradation in a Dry Mediterranean Agro-Forest Landscape (Crete, Greece). Arid Land Research and Management, 29(3), 360–374.Search in Google Scholar

Karamesouti, M., v. Detsis, Kounalaki, A., Vasiliou, P., Salvati, L., Kosmas, C. (2015). Land-use and land degradation processes affecting soil resources: Evidence from a traditional Mediterranean cropland (Greece). CATENA, 132, 45–55.Search in Google Scholar

Karydas, C. G., Sekuloska, T., Silleos, G. N. (2009). Quantification and site-specification of the support practice factor when mapping soil erosion risk associated with olive plantations in the Mediterranean island of Crete. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 149(1-4), 19–28.Search in Google Scholar

Kizos, T., Detsis, V., Iosifides, T., Metaxakis, M. (2014). Social Capital and Social-Ecological Resilience in the Asteroussia Mountains, Southern Crete, Greece. Ecology and Society, 19(1).Search in Google Scholar

Kosmas, C., Detsis, V., Karamesouti, M., Kounalaki, K., Vassiliou, P., Salvati, L. (2015). Exploring Long-Term Impact of Grazing Management on Land Degradation in the Socio-Ecological System of Asteroussia Mountains, Greece. Land, 4(3), 541–559.Search in Google Scholar

Kosmas, C., Karamesouti, M., Kounalaki, K., Detsis, V., Vassiliou, P., Salvati, L. (2016). Land degradation and long-term changes in agro-pastoral systems: An empirical analysis of ecological resilience in Asteroussia - Crete (Greece). CATENA, 147, 196–204.Search in Google Scholar

Kourgialas, N. N., Karatzas, G. P., Dokou, Z., Kokorogiannis, A. (2018). Groundwater footprint methodology as policy tool for balancing water needs (agriculture & tourism) in water scarce islands - The case of Crete, Greece. The Science of the Total Environment, 615, 381–389.Search in Google Scholar

Kušová, D., Těšitel, J., Matějka, K., & Bartoš, M. (2008). Biosphere reserves—An attempt to form sustainable landscapes. Landscape and Urban Planning, 84(1), 38–51.Search in Google Scholar

Lorent, H., Sonnenschein, R., Tsiourlis, G. M., Hostert, P., Lambin, E. (2009). Livestock Subsidies and Rangeland Degradation in Central Crete. Ecology and Society, 14(2).Search in Google Scholar

Mazzoleni, S., Di Pasquale, G., Mulligan, M., Di Martino, P., Rego, F. (Eds.). (2004). Recent dynamics of the Mediterranean vegetation and landscape (Reprinted.). Chichester: Wiley.Search in Google Scholar

Médail, F. (2017). The specific vulnerability of plant biodiversity and vegetation on Mediterranean islands in the face of global change. Regional Environmental Change, 17(6), 1775–1790.Search in Google Scholar

Médail, F., Myers, N. (2005). Mediterranean Basin. In R. A. Mittermeier, G. P. Robles, M. Hoffmann, J. Pilgrim, T. Brooks, C. G. Mittermeier, J. Lamoreux G.A.B. Da Fonseca (Eds.), Hotspots revisited: Earth’s biologically richest and most endangered terrestrial ecoregions (2nd ed., pp. 144–147). Washington.Search in Google Scholar

Meyer, B. C., Mezősi, G., Kovács, F. (2017). Landscape degradation at different spatial scales caused by aridification. Moravian Geographical Reports, 25(4), 271–281.Search in Google Scholar

Papanastasis, V. P., Ispikoudis, I., Arianoutsou, M., Kakouros, P., Kazaklis, A. (2004). Land-use changes and landscape dynamics in Western Crete. In S. Mazzoleni, G. Di Pasquale, M. Mulligan, P. Di Martino, F. Rego (Eds.), Recent dynamics of the Mediterranean vegetation and landscape (pp. 81–93). Chichester: Wiley.Search in Google Scholar

Price, S., Nixon, L. (2005). Ancient Greek Agricultural Terraces: Evidence from Texts and Archaeological Survey. American Journal of Archaeology, 109(4), 665–694.Search in Google Scholar

Rother, K. (1993). Der Mittelmeerraum: Ein geographischer Überblick; mit 6 Tabellen. Teubner Studienbücher der Geographie. Stuttgart: Teubner.Search in Google Scholar

Tsatsakis, A. M., Tzatzarakis, M. N., Tutudaki, M. (2008). Pesticide levels in head hair samples of Cretan population as an indicator of present and past exposure. Forensic Science International, 176(1), 67–71.Search in Google Scholar

Turland, N. J., Chilton, L., Press, J. R. (1993). Flora of the Cretan Area: Annotated Checklist Atlas. London: HMSO.Search in Google Scholar

UNCCD. (1994). United Nations convention to combat desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa. Retrieved from https://treaties.un.org/doc/Treaties/1996/12/19961226%2001-46%20PM/Ch_XXVII_10p.pdfSearch in Google Scholar

Underwood, E. C., Viers, J. H., Klausmeyer, K. R., Cox, R. L., Shaw, M. R. (2009). Threats and biodiversity in the Mediterranean biome. Diversity and Distributions, 15(2), 188–197.Search in Google Scholar

Watrous, L. V. (1982). Lasithi: A history of settlement on a highland plain in Crete. Hesperia Suppl: Vol. 18. Princeton, NJ: American School of Class. Studies at Athens.Search in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo