A meta-analysis of land and farming system dynamics in Mediterranean basin

Marta DEBOLINI *±1 – Elisa MARRACCINI 2 – Jean Paul DUBEUF 3 – Ilse GEIJZENDORFFER4  Marian SIMON-ROJO5 – Stefano TARGETTI6  – Claude NAPOLEONE7

2 Ecole    Polytechnique La Salle Beauvais
4 Tour du Valat
5 Surcos Urbanos, GIAU+s, University of Madrid
6 Czech University of Life Sciences Prague
7 UR Ecodeveloppement INRA
± Corresponding author: (



Due to the strong heterogeneity and specificity of the Mediterranean land systems, modeling land use dynamics at large scale requires an integrative multiscale methodology, from local land use to global land cover changes (Lambin et al., 2001). In this perspective, many studies have been carried out in order to identify the main land and farming system dynamics (LFSD) going on for specific case studies around the Mediterranean basin. A comprehensive description of the Mediterranean basin is nevertheless still lacking and a database of available case studies on which an upscaling analysis could occur does not exist. In this study, we have carried out a systematic quantitative review of a case-study database established with the publication in the last thirty years on LFSD in the Mediterranean basin. Our aim is to give a comprehensive view of the existing LFSD in the Mediterranean, starting from the published case studies, and to understand the drivers acting for the analyzed dynamics. This kind of meta-analysis can be considered as a first tool for a multi-scale exhaustive approach on the Mediterranean landscape management.

Materials and Methods

We performed a literature review to collect all the existing case studies dealing with LFSD in the Mediterranean basin, published on the time lapse from 1985 to 2015. We used the ISI Web of Science database (Thomson Reuters, New York, NY, USA) to make our corpus. The following keywords were applied for the bibliographic research: Mediterranean, landscape, land system, farming system, change, dynamic and trajectories. Moreover, we also selected some research areas in order to avoid studies non related to environmental, agricultural or ecological sciences. With this first selection, we obtained 1754 papers. Then, a further selection was made, based on the following criteria: (1) the article needed to present a case study; (2) the studies needed to presents quantitative and explicit results about the LULCC analysis; (3) the studies needed to be focus on agricultural dynamics and not only on agricultural/urban changes (without specification of agricultural classes). Applying these criteria to the whole database, we obtained a final sample of 80 papers.

From the selected articles, we extracted the results in order to build a quantitative database, especially data on the extension of the different land uses and on the observed dynamics. Moreover, we collected data on the analyzed drivers.

Results and Discussion

We distinguish four main types of LFSD for the descriptive analysis: intensification, extensification, abandonment and urbanization. We classified the sample in different categories based on the spatial scales: landscape, region or country. Moreover, we identified the main typology of landscape described in the case study, underlying if it was located in a rural area, in a coastal or internal plain, in a mountainous area or a peri-urban region. For each of these land systems, also the main and the secondary agricultural systems were registered, for instance: annual crop production associated with orchards and vineyards or extensive breeding with grassland and crop production. About the drivers acting on the different dynamics, we classified them using the same classes as proposed by van Vliet et al., 2015, Geist et al., 2006, et Hesperger and Burgi, 2009. This was done in order to have the possibility of comparing the different studies and to understand if and on which extent there are difference between the dynamics and associated drivers in Mediterranean when compared with the whole Europe (Vliet et al., 2015) or the central part of it (Hesperger and Burgi, 2009).

Considering the factors and their classification as described, we can resume the conceptual framework applied for this study on Fig. 2.

Figure 2

Figure 2. Conceptual framework for land or farming system dynamics (click on the image to enlarge)


Lambin E., Turner B., Geist H., et al., 2001. The causes of land-use and land-cover change: Moving beyond the myths. Global Environmental change 11(4): 261-269

Vliet J., Groot H., Rietveld P. et al., Landscape and Urban Planning Manifestations and underlying drivers of agricultural land use change in Europe. Landscape and Urban Planning 113: 24-36.

Geist, H. J., McConnell, W., Lambin, E. et al.,. (2006). Causes and trajectories of land-use/cover change. In E. F. Lambin, & H. Geist (Eds.), Land-use and land-cover change, local process and global impacts. Berlin Heidelberg.

Hersperger, A. M., & Bürgi, M. (2009). Going beyond landscape change description: Quantifying the importance of driving forces of landscape change in a Central Europe case study. Land Use Policy, 26(3), 640–648