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Bringing people together to combat land degradation in the Troodos mountains

With the aim of identifying soil threats and solutions in the Troodos, a participatory workshop was organized by The Cyprus Institute’s Water and Natural Resources Group in Polystipos village on November 18th 2014. The workshop was attended by 25 stakeholders, including farmers, community leaders, and government officers from the Agriculture, Forestry, Water Development and Geological Survey Departments.

The workshop was the first of a series of participatory stakeholder workshops for the European-funded RECARE project. The focus of the workshop was to identify soil threats, as well as current and potential measures to combat them. Cyprus Institute’s researcher Christos Zoumides explained that the population of mountain communities has decreased by more than 50% over the past 30 years. The participants identified depopulation of rural communities along with the limited market opportunities for local products as the main factors of land abandonment and degradation in the Troodos region. “Land is developed and maintained by people – without people there’s no land” said Mr. Kleopas, a farmer and retired teacher in Alona village.

A walk through the terraced agricultural land in Polystipos gave participants the opportunity to discuss these issues and identify erosion processes. Practical measures proposed by the group included maintenance of existing terraced and afforestation of abandoned farms plots. Stakeholders also proposed broader measures, such as improving the communication between extensions services and farmers on current policies and support measures, as well as raising awareness of the general public on the importance of maintaining the vital functions of soils.

The Cyprus Institute’s Water and Natural Resources Group will be working with selected stakeholders to evaluate the proposed options in more detail. A second stakeholder workshop to select the measures to be tested and monitored in the field will be held in June 2015.

Dry stone wall expert Antonia Theodosiou presents the identified soil threats and solutions

RECARE is 5-year project (11/2013-10/2018) which is funded by the European Commission FP7 Program ENV ‘Sustainable land care in Europe’. The main aim of RECARE is to develop effective prevention, remediation and restoration measures in 17 case study sites, covering a range of soil threats across Europe. For more information, please contact Adriana Bruggeman: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Charis Nicolaou of the Forestry Department explains the erosion process in the Troodos region

Stakeholders and scientists discuss degradation of terraced agriculture in Polystipos village.

Participants of RECARE’s first stakeholder workshop during a field trip in Polystipos village.


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