The biocultural diversity of historical rural landscapes: a comparative analysis of the Viñales Valley (Cuba), Telouet Valley (Marocco) and the Itria Valley (Italy).
This work aims to contribute to the definition of the scientific basis for the identification, conservation and dynamic management of historical rural landscapes, deepening analytical methods developed for the National Catalogue of Historical Rural Landscapes, for the project Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems of the FAO, as well as for the CBD-UNESCO Joint Program on biocultural diversity. The research highlights how historical rural landscapes can present affinities and similarities in the structure of their landscape mosaic, even if they are related to very different economic, social and environmental situations in time and space. Through photointerpretation the elements of continuity and the diversity in the structure of the landscape mosaic in three rural areas were analysed: the Valley of Viñales in Cuba, the Valley of Telouet in Morocco and Itria Valley in Italy. All of these areas are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, and all of them are caractherized by a prevalence of the rural areas on the woodlands and by a low mean surface of the agricultural patches (0.48 ha in Viñales, 0.29 ha in the Itria Valley, 0.09 ha in Telouet). The Moroccan area shows undoubtedly the greater fineness of the texture of the landscape, due to the characteristics of irrigated crops and of historical agricultural practices, while the number of land use classes is very different between the three areas: 12 classes of land uses for Viñales, 18 for Telouet and 36 for Itria Valley. Another feature that has been studied is the connectivity of landscapes, through the Edge Density, an index that measures the complexity of the landscape mosaic and the type of the borders between the patches. The study area that has a higher Edge Density is the Valley of Telouet (939.67 m/ha) followed immediately by the Itria Valley (891.77 m/ha). It is important that all three sites have in common a high complexity of the landscape mosaic as a result of production needs and traditional farming practices. The strategies of adaptation to the environment of traditional cultures, have in this particular case some common characteristics regardless of the profoundly different environmental determinants and socio-economic conditions. The study of this type of landscapes is useful not only for their conservation, but also for identifying useful models of adaptation to climate changes.
The landscapes of Viñales, Telouet and Itria Valley.
Tab. of the main landscape evaluation indexes