Effects of land abandonment on nature contributions to people and good quality of life components in the Mediterranean region: A review

Año Publicación:  2022
Responsable: C. Quintas-Soriano et al.
Journal, Volumen y páginas:
Land use Policy. 116-106053


C. Quintas-Soriano, A. Buerkert & T. Plieninger


Land abandonment is a process widespread in many regions of the world as a consequence of socio-economic conditions and changes on the use of land. Research has shown that land abandonment can have both positive and negative effects, depending on the local context, location and scale. Research has framed land abandonment either as an opportunity for rewilding these landscapes or as a loss of cultural values. Here, we present a literature review of the effects of land abandonment on social and ecological dimensions in the Mediterranean region, an area where is a common phenomenon. The results show that land abandonment is widely studied throughout the Northern Mediterranean, in particular in Spain, Italy and France, while no studies has been performed in the Southern part, such as in Morocco or Tunisia. Most of the land abandonment outcomes identified were negative, followed by mixed outcomes (being partly positive and negative). Abandonment studies focused more often on outcomes on nature's contributions to people (such as biodiversity and habitat for species), while studies on the effects on the social dimension through the consideration of good quality of life components are scarce. The results highlight the high diversity of effects and outcomes derived from land abandonment. We call for research focusing on how the comprehensive process of land abandonment can impact and promote key changes in the future. Further research should pay greater attention to North African and Middle East countries in the Mediterranean region, where multiple pathways of abandonment are currently emerging, as well as the consideration of the social dimension of the effects of land abandonment to capture the full complexity of this land use change.

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