MEDSCAPES – Development of Landscape Character Assessment as a tool for effective conservation of natural heritage in the Eastern Mediterranean

The MEDSCAPES project aims to develop and apply a Best-Practice Methodology for Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) in the East Mediterranean context, to be used as an integrative planning and risk-assessment tool for sustainable territorial planning and landscape-scale protection of the natural and cultural heritage.

The project is funded by the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) for Cross-Border Cooperation in the Mediterranean (CBC-MED) and it is being implemented by eight (8) partners from four (4) countries of the East Mediterranean –Cyprus, Greece, Lebanon and Jordan.

The project partners are:

  • The Laona Foundation for the Conservation and Regeneration of the Cypriot Countryside (lead partner),
  • The Open University of Cyprus,
  • The Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos,
  • The University of Aegean (Greece),
  • The Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon,
  • The American University of Beirut,
  • The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (Jordan), and
  • The German Jordanian University.

The project’s main expected results are:

  1. A fully tested, regionally-adapted, Best-Practice Methodology for LCA in the East Mediterranean context,
  2. Landscape character typologies and maps for the whole of Cyprus (Level 2 LCA, at 1:50,000 scale) and pilot areas of Greece, Lebanon and Jordan (Level 1 LCA, at 1:250,000 scale, and Level 2 LCA in selected sub-parts),
  3. A model approach for community participation in landscape-scale nature protection, building on the Arab Hima concept,
  4. A risk-modelling software package for land-use planning and decision-making,
  5. Distance-learning and training materials, based on the above results.
  6. A cadre of trained LCA practitioners in each partner organisation.

Med-INA is leading Work Package 4, which is devoted to developing the Best-Practice Methodology (BPM) for LCA in the East Mediterranean. Building on existing knowledge, incorporating input from the implementation of the landscape characterisation process in the pilot areas, and taking into account stakeholder needs and expert views, Med-INA is responsible for drafting and finalising the BPM in close collaboration with all project partners. The output of this exercise will be a scientific paper on the BPM (to be submitted to an international journal by the end of the project) and a BPM summary to be posted on the project website, whereas the BPM is planned to be sent to 20 relevant academic researchers and 20 governmental stakeholder bodies during the second year of the project cycle.

In addition, Med-INA will actively participate in all of the project’s Work Packages, conducting the LCA process in a pilot area of 5 Municipalities in the Prefecture of Ioannina, Region of Epirus (Municipalities of Ioannina, Zagori, Konitsa, Metsovo and Voreia Tzoumerka). The characterisation process will be carried out initially at Level 1 (scale 1:250,000), including desktop study (spatial data collection and on-screen landscape character mapping), fieldwork validation and consultation with the local communities; upon completion of the Level 1 exercise, a Level 2 (scale 1:50,000) assessment will be undertaken in a smaller area (corresponding to one Municipality), which will be selected in the course of the project.