International Conference on Landscape of the Eastern Mediterranean: Challenges, Opportunities, Prospects and Accomplishments



Mentoring MedScapes partners in implementing the HIMA approach in their countries

The Hima approach has been revived by SPNL to protect nature, birds and biodiversity in Lebanon and to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources through community based managed areas. Many international NGOs have adopted the Hima concept for being an approach for protecting natural resources through involving the communities, that have proven success on environmental, cultural, social, and economic level. READ MORE...



SPNL elected as one of the finalists for the UNDP’s Equator Prize Award 2015

Hima is in the news again. Hima, the Arab practice of collective care for land, which SPNL has promoted for years now, has led to SPNL being elected as one of the finalists for the UNDP’s Equator Prize Award 2015 from a pool of 1,461 nominations from 126 countries all over the world.

The Equator Prize Award 2015 will be awarded to 20 outstanding local and indigenous community initiatives that are advancing innovative solutions for people, nature and resilient communities



Consultation with landscape stakeholders

Following the completion of mapping procedures in all countries, the partners are conducting presentations and consultations with relevant stakeholders. After feedback is received and processed the results will be made ready for publication.



Greece: establishing a HIMA approach management model in the community of Sigri, Lesvos

In order to demonstrate a different, community-based model for planning and decision making in integrated resource management and conservation, based on the principles of HIMA, the Department of Geography of the University of the Aegean held a workshop and a study visit,  in the community of Sigri in Lesvos, with the participation of local and regional stakeholders. READ MORE...



Cyprus: conserving the valley of the river Klokkarkas and reviving the traditional vineyard landscapes in Arsos village

The Cyprus team is currently busy in preparing the ground for the implementation of two different HIMA sites READ MORE...



Formal adoption of the Jordanian Ministry of Municipal Affairs of MedScapes Project Results

As part of the MedScapes project capitalization efforts, the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature RSCN held a series of meetings with the Jordanian Ministry of Municipal Affairs MOMA to discuss the mainstreaming of MedScapes project results in the national land use planning through their integration in the natural and cultural heritage system. MOMA, which is the main governmental body responsible for the national land use planning, agreed to adopt the MedScapes project results including the landscape character assessment LCA and risk model in a formal communication sent to RSCN. RSCN has delivered the LCA report and maps of Mujib pilot area to the Ministry of Municipalities. In a later stage, The German Jordanian University GJU, will also hand their LCA maps and reports of Yarmouk Pilot area to MOMA in order to be integrated in the updated natural and cultural heritage system.



International Summer School: Training in Landscape Character Assessment Methods and Tools

We have the pleasure to announce the successful completion of the University of the Aegean Summer School "Training in Landscape Character Assessment Methods and Tools”, organized by the Department of Geography, on the 7th to the 12th of September 2015, on the Campus of the University of the Aegean and in the village of Sigri, on Lesvos Island, Greece. READ MORE...



Jordan: A study tour for the Swaimeh community to Dana Biοsphere Reserve as part of the introduction of the Hima participative approach/ Medscapes Project

The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature RSCN organized a study tour to Dana Biosphere Reserve for Swaimeh village community members this week. This visit was organized as part of the EU-funded  MedScapes project which aims at the conservation of landscape in East Mediterranean countries though several tools including the re-introduction of the community participative approach, previously known in the Arab culture as "The HIMA". READ MORE...



International Summer School: Training in Landscape Character Assessment Methods and Tools 



Medscapes Project Stakeholder Seminar in Jordan

On May 31st, the Center for the Study of Natural and Cultural Heritage/ The German Jordanian University GJU, in collaboration with the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) held a stakeholder seminar for the EU funded Medscapes project at the Royal Academy for Nature Conservation in Ajloun.
The GJU and RSCN presented the result of Landscape character assessment LCA that was applied through the Medscapes project in Mujib and Yarmouk pilot areas.

30 participants representing several governmental and academic landscape stakeholders attended the seminar and discussed the LCA related findings. RSCN has also presented a brief on the integrated community based land conservation approach. READ MORE...



The OUC and Laona teams presented the progress of the landscape mapping work at the Town Planning and Housing Department, Ministry of Interior, Cyprus



Third International Conference on Remote Sensing and Geoinformation of Environment

Presentation of the project’s  mapping outcomes at the Third International Conference on Remote Sensing and Geoinformation of Environmentʼ  Paphos, Cyprus



MedScapes Project gets trained for implementing a participatory process of land management with the involvement of local communities

Representatives of the eight organizations (four universities and four NGOs) involved in the MedScapes project attended a training workshop on 24th-26th of February in the city of Byblos in Lebanon, where they were trained in applying a method of participatory management of high natural value with the participation of local communities.

The MedScapes project hopes to implement pioneering landscape management methods, involving local communities and their residents in the sustainable management and protection of these landscapes. For this purpose, representatives of the eight organizations participating in the project attended a workshop last week in Lebanon, where they received training on the traditional landscape management methods used by the organization Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL - Project Partner of the MedScapes Project).

Hima means protected area in Arabic; it is a community-based approach used for the conservation of sites, species, habitats, and people in order to achieve the sustainable use of natural resources. It originated from more than 1,500 years ago where it was spread along the Arab Peninsula as a “tribal” system of sustainable management of natural resources. READ MORE...



MedScapes project participates in the workshop of the Local Development Pilot Project of Wine Villages of Limassol - Cyprus

MedScapes Project attended the workshop organized by the Local Development Pilot Project of the Wine Villages of Limassol, entitled "Identification, assessment and management of the Landscape Survey" held on 13 and 14 November in Arsos and Lofou villages in the district of Limassol, Cyprus. READ MORE...




IALE international congress on Landscape Ecology

Presentation from the Cypriot partners of preliminary project results at the IALE international congress on Landscape Ecology, Antalya, Turkey



Cyprus begins the fieldwork validation of the LCA mapping

Laona Foundation and Open University of Cyprus have already begun the process of validating the mapping that have been produced through field research.

On the 27th of May another field validation survey took place in Paphos region with both Cypriot Partners (Laona Foundation and Open University of Cyprus) participating. During the visit, 7 research officers of both organizations were separated into groups and work to validate the Landscape Description Units of the area, based on the Level 2 map that had been developed.

On the 5th and 6th of June the LF teams were conducting field validation visits in Akamas region and during the week 16-19th of June two landscape field researchers of the Laona Foundation were working in the occupied northern part of the island in the Mesaoria region (between Nicosia and Kyrenia districts). Following the field work, extensive desk work was required to upload to the database the data collected during the field validation process and to interpret the geographic information, into landscape types. READ MORE...



1st Pancyprian Conference 'Environmental Outlook: Cyprus 2014'

On May 28th 2014, the Cypriot partners in the project, Laona Foundation and OUC, participated in the 1st Pancyprian Conference 'Environmental Outlook: Cyprus 2014' held by the Cyprus Centre for Environmental Research and Education in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Science and Technology of the Technological University of Cyprus (CUT) .  Dr Ioannis Vogiatzakis, Assoc. Professor at the OUC,  presented the aims of the project as part of his talk entitled "Approaching the Conservation of Nature through Landscape Management". In addition during the conference the team presented a poster on the project’s aims and objectives.



The mapping process begins

All Partners of the project MedScapes are busy developing the Landscape Character Assessment, the process of mapping the landscapes in the countries involved in the project. Level 1 maps (mapping of landscapes at a smaller detail and at 1:250000 scale) as well as Level 2 maps (greater detail at 1:50000 scale) will be produced during the project for the whole of Cyprus island and for pilot areas in Greece, Jordan and Lebanon.

During the desk work, a long time consuming process of data acquisition and manipulation precedes the development of the landscape description units (LDUs), the landscape type of which will be confirmed during the field validation process. READ MORE...



Extra training for the Cypriot team on landscape mapping

In order to ensure common understanding and interpretation of the landscape, the Cypriot scientific team had 2 extra days of training, in order to be prepared for the second level of Landscape Character Assessment (Level 2 mapping) that will follow. During 7th and 8th of April the scientific teams of the Cypriot Partners of the Project (Laona Foundation and Open University of Cyprus) visited curtain Landscape Description Units (LDUs) in Mahairas forest region in order to test and validate the method used for Level 2 Landscape Character Assessment. READ MORE...


31/3 - 4/04/2014

Training the partners for an effective mapping of our landscapes

From the 31st of March until the 4th of April, scientific personnel from all Partners of the Project participated in the Level 1 Landscape Character Assessment training hosted by the Open University of Cyprus at the premises of the University. Two landscape experts from the UK – the country that developed the LCA methodology-, Dr. Geoffrey Grifiths and Mr. Steven Warnock leaded the 5 days training.

The training was attended by 22 representatives from the project partners and from the Cypriot Department of Town Planning and Housing which is an associated organization to the project.

During the 5-days the consortium was trained for the principles governing the LCA methodology, the data collection, desk work, map preparation and field validation processes. The team had the opportunity to conduct field validation trips to landscape description units, prepared during the classwork. The methodology of the LCA is explicitly explained in the training manual that was produced for the need of this training workshop. All representatives are expected to work closely together during the implementation of the LCA methodology in their regions. READ MORE...



Cross-border conference in Limassol for mapping the landscape of the eastern Mediterranean and the exchange of expertise

The cross-border Conference of the Project MedScapes for protection and enhancement of the landscape of the eastern Mediterranean was held on 28-30 March in Limassol. The Conference was attended by experts from European and Eastern Mediterranean countries and was attended by a total of thirty scientists and professionals, experts in the issue of landscape characterization. The aim was to exchange expertize and previous experience for the efficient landscape characterization, with civil participation during the whole process.

The Conference was organized by Laona Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Reading and the Cyprus Department of Town Planning. During the Conference, the best application and similar practices from England, Portugal, Italy and Spain were presented, in order to be implemented during the process of Landscape Character Assessment mapping in Cyprus Greece, Lebanon and Jordan that will be done during the project. READ MORE...



Kick – off meeting of the project “MedScapes” for protection and enhancement of the landscape in the eastern Mediterranean region

The 1st Conference of the European project “MedScapes” was held on 10-12 March in Limassol, Cyprus. This three-day conference brought in collaboration four universities and four NGOs from Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon and Jordan, partners in a new project called “MedScapes” for protection and enhancement of the landscape in the eastern Mediterranean region. The meeting marked the opening of the project, which amongst others aims at the scientific recording and mapping of the unique landscape of the eastern Mediterranean. The conference, which took place in Limassol, was attended by a total of 25 representatives from the above countries. Among the participants were representatives of the local and European managing authority of the project and a representative of the Cyprus Department of Town Planning.

During the conference, the participants prepared the ground for a better implementation and organized the first activities of this ambitious two-year project. This project will contribute towards completion of landscape mapping in order to make better use of topographic data by all stakeholders in countries involved. The Landscape Characterization Assessment (LCA mapping) that will be produced during the project will help the protection and sustainable development of different zones and regions. It should be noted that the program was characterized and evaluated both by government and by European bodies as one of the best initiatives for cross-border cooperation on environmental and development cooperation. READ MORE...