The Halaesa landscape (III B.C.): the origin of the traditional polycultural Mediterranean landscape

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The entire Mediterranean basin is characterized by landscape patterns whose compositions result from countless, long and complex cultural and historical processes. This paper traces the historic and “agri-cultural” processes that have characterized these complex agricultural systems and landscapes in order to better define:•the concept of a traditional rural Mediterranean landscape (TML); •the concept and importance of the complex-forms of polycultural (coltura promiscua) systems and landscapes, by following the historic development of this landscape; •their most important structural characters, configuration and bio-diversity at the landscape level, because of its environmental complexity and cultural heritage. The characteristics of the Mediterranean polycultural landscape are identified beginning with a historic description of the territory of Sicily (central Mediterranean): the analysed Halaesa landscape (Greek colony founded in 403 BC) as one of the first historical detailed description of a complex TML. The analysis of these landscapes reveal a rich spatial configuration and patchiness of the land mosaic, usually made up of relatively small patches and corridors, and had a great species and interspecies diversity as a consequence of the cyclical disturbances introduced by rotational grazing, cutting and coppice regimes, fire management, as well as of cultivation and other human land use practices. The results show a polycultural agro-silvo-pastoral system and landscape which guarantees biological complexity and richness, environmental and cultural functions. Comparing these results at a wider regional scale, through the other main TML of Sicily, rise the high “bio-diverse” value of these polycultural landscapes . The presence of historical features, of traditional crops and land-uses, and the conservation of the rural architecture and other material and non-material cultural heritage, related to the agricultural activity, are particularly important aspects considered by international and European organization toward their valorisation and conservation.
Lingua originaleItalian
Numero di pagine1
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2014

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