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Community‐Based Rehabilitation of Mountain Terraces in Cyprus

Zoumides, Christos, Bruggeman, Adriana, Giannakis, Elias, Camera, Corrado, Djuma, Hakan, Eliades, Marinos, Charalambous, Katerina
Land degradation & development 2017 v.28 no.1 pp. 95-105
afforestation, ecosystem services, land degradation, mountains, profitability, soil erosion, stakeholders, sustainable land management, terraces, youth, Cyprus
Participatory methods and community‐based approaches have an important role to play in combating land degradation. This paper follows a well‐defined participatory framework to identify key stakeholders and to select Sustainable Land Management approaches for reducing soil erosion and land degradation in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus. Among the options suggested and evaluated by stakeholders, terrace rehabilitation had the best overall performance, followed by crop diversification and afforestation. Stakeholders agreed that the rehabilitation of dry‐stone terraces was the preferred option, as it is a practice with high environmental benefits and fits well in the local socio‐cultural context, despite the higher cost compared to other options. In the first year of implementing the approach, three mountain communities co‐organised hands‐on terrace maintenance events, engaging more than 160 people in rehabilitation activities. The community‐based approach has sparked the interest of people within and beyond the research site, and another series of events is scheduled for the coming season. This outcome indicates that social innovations can benefit from the integration of local and scientific knowledge, while participatory process can enhance the self‐confidence and organisational structures of local communities. Sustaining and enhancing the impact of the approach in the long‐run require developing local terrace maintenance institutions, actively engaging the youth in terrace management and improving the profitability of mountain farming through the differentiation of local products. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.