Land use, water and Mediterranean landscapes: modelling long-term dynamics of complex socio-ecological systems

The evolution of Mediterranean landscapes during the Holocene has been increasingly governed by the complex interactions of water and human land use. Different land-use practices change the amount of water flowing across the surface and infiltrating the soil, and change water’s ability to move surface sediments. 

Conversely, water amplifies the impacts of human land use and extends the ecological footprint of human activities far beyond the borders of towns and fields. Advances in computational modelling offer new tools to study the complex feedbacks between land use, land cover, topography and surface water. 

The Mediterranean Landscape Dynamics project (MedLand) is building a modelling laboratory where experiments can be carried out on the long-term impacts of agropastoral land use, and whose results can be tested against the archaeological record. These computational experiments are providing new insights into the socio-ecological consequences of human decisions at varying temporal and spatial scales.

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