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International Conference: The Evolution of Mediterranean Agriculture

22 - 23 Nov 2018

University of Barcelona, Spain

Traditional Mediterranean agriculture generates landscapes of high environmental value, permitting the cultivation of a wide variety of crops with a sustained production. The natural setting of Mediterranean agriculture is distinguished by erratic rainfall, mild temperatures, irregular topography, and close proximity to large bodies of water. Such environmental conditions impose restrictions on the development of modern agrarian practice. As a result, the mean yields are inferior to those of Northern Europe. At the same time, we witness the development of rapidly growing populations, urbanization, climate change effects and environmental problems as well as poor resource management policies in some countries of the Mediterranean region. Consequently its agricultural potential is jeopardized.
Moreover, the Mediterranean ecological landscape is described as the ‘orchard lands of the world’, because of its highly specialized farming and cultivation of citrus fruits, olives, and grapes. The preservation of this unique agricultural land is one of the main goals of this project.

In a first step, a comprehensive understanding of the historical dimension of this specific kind of agriculture will be developed in the framework of an interdisciplinary conference. The past decade has witnessed a quantum leap in our knowledge of the origins, diffusion, and impact of early agriculture in the Mediterranean Basin. The initial steps toward plant and animal domestication in the Eastern Mediterranean can now be pushed back to the 12th millennium cal B.P. Evidence for herd management and crop cultivation appears at least 1,000 years earlier than the morphological changes traditionally used to document domestication. Different species seem to have been domesticated in different parts of the Fertile Crescent, with genetic analyses detecting multiple domestic lineages for each species. Recent evidence suggests that the expansion of domesticates and agricultural economies across the Mediterranean was accomplished by several waves of seafaring colonists who established coastal farming enclaves around the Mediterranean basin.

With the help of a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach high-ranking experts from agronomy, food science, crop breeding and agricultural economy as well as archaeologists and historians will discuss the historical dimension of Mediterranean agriculture to tackle future challenges. In poster presentation, students and young scientists from Germany, Spain and the Arab world have the opportunity to discuss their visions on the development of Mediterranean Agriculture. On the long term, the scientists aim to develop specific policies that take into consideration the particular ecological characteristics and the historic development of the Mediterranean region, thereby safe-guarding the conservation of its interesting agrarian landscapes.

The conference is held in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Potsdam and the University of Barcelona, Spain.

Date, Time & Venue

22 – 23 November 2018,
Faculty of Biology, University of Barcelona, Spain



Contact & Registration

Participation only upon invitation



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