The evolution of Western Mediterranean agricultural landscapes to better adapt farming to the climate crisis: a diachronic approach

Catalonia constitutes an area with important agricultural records and a well-connected scientific network that can contribute to forming a highly detailed agricultural landscape evolution understanding, that has not yet been studied in detail. The novel spatial interpolation of archeological grains and charcoal records, as well as archaeological literature from these sites, together with historical archives and, since the 1940s to the 2020s highly detailed aerial images and, relatively well-defined production and crop type statistics, will contribute to the objective of building a cross-disciplinary and robust database of agricultural landscapes evolution in the NE Iberian Peninsula. The project will address the evolution of agricultural landscape and associated agricultural conditions through a diachronic approach embracing three key moments.
1) Appearance of agriculture in the region.
2) Agriculture between the twenties and sixties of the last century.
3) Present-time scenario and modelling future sustainable agricultural landscapes. We will run this diachronic approach on the specific locations where archaeobotanical material allows to reconstruct landscape, environmental conditions, and agronomical practices at the onset of agriculture to this date and interpolate spatially the data. The limitations of historical data of our approach, such as for example the long chronological period elapsing between the onset of agriculture and the beginning of the 20th century, including technological innovations (e.g. metal moldboard plow) or large-scale changes in crops (e.g. vineyards, olive groves), will be overcome by using the most of historical agrarian archives and geographic data. Moreover, we will focus on cereal and legumes as the main herbaceous crops
historically cultivated in the region. The datasets will be organized to match data into a geographic information system database in which historical agricultural landscape changes can be linked within a region and overlap with future climatic scenarios.

Ferrio Díaz, Juan Pedro
Principal researcher: 
José Luis Araus
Managing entity: 
Entidades participantes: 
Agrotecnio / Universitat de Barcelona
Agrotecnio / Universitat de Lleida
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Entidad financiadora
Financing entity: 
Collaborative Projects between AT and other institutions
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