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Mediterranean olive crop ecosystems hold multiple values for human society, culture and the environment:

Quality of life

         •    Human health and nutrition (Mediterranean diet)

         •    Landscape aesthetic value
         •    Contribution to touristic attraction

Environment and Climate
         •    Climate regulation, through CO2 capture and storage,
         •    Protection from soil erosion,
         •    Soil fertilization,
         •    Water cycle regulation,
         •    Soil nutrients cycle regulation,
         •    Viability of plant and animal populations (nutrition, protection),
         •    Biomass production through photosynthesis (plant-health).

For thousands of years, olive crops in southern Greece have been serving as the backbone of rural economy and of the local ecosystems’ ecology. However, the olive crop is rapidly losing interest for Greek farmers. Approximately 50% of the olive crop area in some parts of southern Greece is now receiving inadequate attention of the farmers, due to financial and other reasons. Thus, the potential negative impacts for both the society and the environment are becoming more imminent in these vulnerable areas.
For instance, environmental disturbances that may emerge include:

1) Disruptions of life cycles and  trophic networks, endangering the viability of local fauna species,
2) Soil exposure to erosion and desertification factors,
3) Disruption of water balance, leading to increased losses of soil moisture,
4) Soil fertility reduction,
5) Higher danger for fire outbreak and spread, due to the dried weeds on unattended land.

The above aspects are among the focal points for the scientists’ network of the present project. The development of sustainable farming systems will result in the most efficient use and performance of farmers’ resources, and thus in the conservation of Mediterranean olive groves.


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Wednesday the 6th - Sage © 2011