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Eastern Mediterranean Landscape Observatory
About The Project
  • Project Statement
  • Study Areas
  • Partners

    Project Statement

    MedScapes: Development of Landscape character assessment as a tool for effective conservation of natural heritage in the Eastern Mediterranean

    MedScapes Project is funded by the multilateral cross-border cooperation "Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme" which is a part of the new European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) and its financing instrument (European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument - ENPI) for the 2007-2013 period. MedScapes brings together eight partners from four countries for this two-year project: Cyprus, Greece, Jordan and Lebanon. Each country is represented by one non-governmental organization NGO and one University, and are led by the Laona Foundation for the Conservation and Regeneration of the Cypriot Countryside. The project aims to support stronger protection of and reduced risk to the landscape heritage through the introduction of an integrative landscape character assessment (LCA) framework for enhanced and sustainable territorial planning and decision-making. The project’s specific objective is (a) to develop and apply a best-practice methodology for identifying, mapping and assessing Landscape Character in pilot areas, and (b) to promote the results as a tool for sustainable land use decision-making and landscape-scale protection of the natural and cultural heritage in the East Mediterranean context. It will include the cultural, environmental, geological and other spatial elements of the landscape, providing a more holistic understanding of the dynamics created in different areas of each country or region in order to gain a better knowledge of their vibrant and ever-changing landscapes.


    Study Plans

    • Cyprus: is the third largest Mediterranean island with an area of 9,251 km2. The physical environment is characterized by a rugged morphology and varied geology. The island is divided into three geomorphological zones, the Troodos Mountain, the Pentadaktylos Range and the Mesaoria plain. The climate of Cyprus is in general at the drier end of the Mediterranean-type climates. The rural landscape is dominant and usually intermixed with natural elements.
    • Jordan: the study area is located within Madaba and Kerak governorates and extends over 3800 km². The area extends from the Jordan Rift Valley (JRV) escarpment in the west at 420 meters below sea level (m.b.s.l.) to the central highlands plateau in the east with elevations exceeding 700 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l). Besides the biodiversity importance of the area, it is also known for its cultural and religious value. In addition, the area is one of the therapeutic tourism destinations in Jordan.
    • Al Yarmouk catchment area – Jordan: located in the north-western part of Jordan, with a total area 6,790 km², of which 1,160 km² lie within the Jordanian border. Al Yarmouk catchment area has high relief topography with elevations from about 26 m.b.s.l. to about 1,200 m.a.s.l. The catchment comprises of large urban centers (Irbid and Al Ramtha) in addition to extensive agricultural activities (around 50% of the total catchment area), and includes unique heritage and historical places of Jordan.
    • Epirus-Greece: The study area is located in the Region of Epirus, Greece. The area is predominantly mountainous characterized by significant landscape diversity. High mountains with dense forest cover below 1,700 m and alpine meadows at their peaks are traversed by wide cultivated valleys and steep unsettled gorges; cultivated, settled areas and extensive grazed pastures. The rich natural heritage of the area is complemented by its significant historic and cultural heritage, characteristically portrayed through the plethora of traditional settlements, stone bridges and footpaths.
    • Lesvos-Greece: is the third largest island in the Aegean Sea, with an area of 1,632 km2, and 320 kilometers of coastline. Agriculture and tourism are the main economic activities on the island. Approximately 41.3% of the island’s surface is olive plantations, 34% maquis and garrigue, 17% forest, 4.3% other crops, while the remaining land has various uses such as constructions, wetlands, etc.
    • Lebanon: the study area is approximately 4,747.40 km², c.45 % of the total area of Lebanon. It contains 15 cazas that reach an altitudinal range of 1,700 m, with exceptions of high peaks in mountainous areas, and low altitudes in deep valleys. Moreover, it encompasses four distinct geomorphological regions, which are: coastal plain, Lebanon mountain range, Bekaa valley, and the Anti-Lebanon mountain range.




     Link to Website

    Laona Foundation for the Conservation and Regeneration of Cypriot Countryside, The Foundation is a private non-profit-making organisation established to implement the Laona Project, a rural regeneration and ecotourism project in western Paphos, which was completed in 1994. The project involved five villages on the border of the proposed Akamas reserve area and helped introduce the concept of agrotourism to Cyprus through the project’s activities. Since 1994 the Laona Foundation has broadened the scope of its activities to cover all areas of Cyprus.


    Link to Website 

    The Open University of Cyprus (OUC), the second State Institution of University Education in Cyprus established in 2001, is at the forefront of open and distance education, combining face-to-face meetings with distance studying of specially designed educational material. The University has three faculties (Pure and Applied Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences and Economics and Management), with over 5000 graduate and undergraduate students. OUC actively participates in many of the largest and most significant, international university networks and educational associations. Funding in OUC comes from the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation, FP7, CULTURE, LIFE+, LLP and ICT programmes of the European Union. Work in the project is carried out by the Terrestrial Ecosystem Management Lab (TemLab) Research in TemLab is based on traditional approaches to ecosystem management coupled with landscape ecology principles, namely the importance of spatial configuration of ecological processes.


    Link to Website 

    The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) aims to create, manage and advocate for a national network of protected areas to conserve Jordan’s biodiversity and support local community development, while also promoting wider public support and action for the protection of the natural environment within Jordan and neighboring countries.

    Link to Website 

    The German-Jordanian University (GJU) is a public university located in Mushaqar. It was founded in 2005 by a Royal Decree, in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding reached between the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of the Federal Republic of Germany. In August 2004, a founding committee had taken up its activities in Jordan. The committee was in close cooperation with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. At the same time, the German planning office opened at the University of Magdeburg-Stendal in close cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF and the German Academic Exchange Services DAAD, which is funding the university project for a period of four years. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) under the "German Study Programmes Abroad" programme.

    Link to Website 

    SPNL, the BirdLife national partner in Lebanon, aims at protecting nature, birds and biodiversity in Lebanon and to promote sustainable use of resources with people through reviving the concept of Al Hima. As a national environmental NGO in Lebanon, SPNL contributes to both raising awareness on environmental issues and concretely protecting natural areas in Lebanon. SPNL bases its work on sound science and passionate commitment, which through transparent and democratic processes, leads to a well-informed public. SPNL strives to advocate a better quality of life for people and nature, through conserving sites, protecting species, and assuring sustainability.

    Link to Website


    AUB Founded in 1866, the American University of Beirut bases its educational philosophy, standards, and practices on the American liberal arts model of higher education. A teaching-centered research university, AUB has around 700 instructional faculty and a student body of around 8,000 students. The University encourages freedom of thought and expression and seeks to graduate men and women committed to creative and critical thinking, life-long learning, personal integrity, civic responsibility, and leadership. The University, which was granted institutional accreditation in June 2004 by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools in the United States and reaffirmed in June 2009, includes six faculties: Agricultural and Food Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Architecture, Health Sciences, Medicine (which includes the Rafic Hariri School of Nursing), and the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business. AUB currently offers more than 120 programs leading to the bachelor's, master's, MD, and PhD degrees. The University became coeducational in 1922; its student body is 50 percent male and 50 percent female. The language of instruction is English (except for courses in the Arabic Department and other language courses). The student faculty ratio is 13 to 1. 

    Link to Website 

    Med-INA is a non-profit organisation, legally established in Athens, Greece, in September 2003. Its Board consists of eminent scientists, while its Scientific Secretariat of seven staff members is multidisciplinary. Its activities are supported financially by donations from individuals and foundations (especially the MAVA Foundation for Nature) and by public, project-related funds.Med-INA collaborates closely –providing administrative and scientific support– with the Ramsar Culture Working Group, the MedWet Culture Network and the Delos Initiative of IUCN/WCPA.


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