Historic anthropogenic factors shaping the rural landscape of Portugal's Interior Alentejo
AuthorMartinho da Silva, Isabel
AdvisorWilkin, Donovan C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractEuropean rural landscapes are currently going through a process of degradation. In some regions, degradation arises via the intensification and industrialization of agricultural practices. On others, it results from the extensification of farming or even from its abandonment. This process, which leads to environmental and cultural loss, has been raising concerns about the preservation of European rural landscapes. But, while some conservation measures have already been enacted, the preservation of European rural landscapes faces several problems. One of the main difficulties results from the lack of knowledge about the process of landscape change, as this knowledge is fundamental to control landscape evolution. Within this context, this work brings some knowledge about the evolution of rural landscapes in Interior Alentejo, a region located in southern Portugal. Interior Alentejo is currently going through a process of landscape degradation via the extensification and abandonment of farming practices. The main rural landscapes identified in the region are: forest, montado, permanent crop landscapes, and open fields. Under permanent crop landscapes are classified orchards, olive groves, vineyards, mixed farming areas and tree coplanted fields. This dissertation describes the historic evolution of Interior Alentejo rural landscape from pre-history to present times. This study reveals the emergence of each landscape type and their main changes throughout history. At the same time, it allows the identification of the main anthropogenic factors of landscape change, and corresponding rules of action. To evaluate the effect of the interaction between anthropogenic factors and the main ecological factor varying in the region (soil fertility), the landscape evolution in counties with low and high soil fertility has been studied separately. Cultural heritage, political stability, the market, policies, social structure, population density, and technology have been the main anthropogenic factors of landscape change in Interior Alentejo. Knowledge about their rules of action, i.e., about their effect on the landscape, might be used to predict landscape changes and to control the process of landscape evolution.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Renewable Natural Resources