Pilot Areas

Across the Mediterranean, 8 Pilot Areas in Turkey, Morocco, Israel, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, and Italy have been specifically selected for the capacity to implement large-scale land degradation restoration actions initiated and monitored during the project’s lifetime, and the foundation will be set for organic support after the lifetime of the project.

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, and the 5th largest in the Mediterranean, with a total area of 8,265 km2. The rapid development of Crete in the last 30 years has exerted strong pressure on many sectors of the region. The growth of agriculture in the Messara plain has a strong impact on the water resources and ecosystem services of the area by substantially increasing water demand. The economy of the region is based on agriculture with intensive cultivation mainly olive trees, grapes, citrus, and vegetables in greenhouses.
The case study location is within the Municipality of Archanon-Asterousion (Peza) with a population of 16.692.

The Italian Pilot area named “Stornara and Tara” is a local irrigation consortium and water management authority. Its role is to distribute water to farmers by means of large-scale pressurized and gravity distribution systems.

The pilot area is located in the Valencia region, in Eastern Iberian Peninsula. The Valencia region covers 4,6% of Spain and has 5 million inhabitants (10,6% of the country). The municipality of Montesa was selected as a representative of the most intense changes in agriculture developed in the last three decades. Montesa is now mainly cropping a highly mechanized citrus production with drip irrigation and pesticides, which induced a quick soil degradation where soil compaction increased and soil erosion and runoff discharge were enhanced by bare soils.

The Troodos Mountain region covers an area over 2,000 km2 with a mean slope gradient of 31%. The region includes 140 small communities with a total population of around 50,000 inhabitants (Figure 1 left). Cyprus agriculture suffers from an ageing farm population (average age 59 years) and a small farm holding size (3 ha) (Cystat, 2014). The ageing of the farming population and land fragmentation due to the small size of agricultural plots are profound issues in the Troodos region

The Bethlehem of Galilee food forest, established in 2017, total area of 500 sq km concern over degraded soil and biodiversity loss associated with conventional agriculture. The regeneration of nature and human health were a major motivation for implementing this food forest. Considering the climatic conditions, the main impact of this action is its water conservation and soil formation measures for water (e.g., drip irrigation, rainwater harvesting) and soil (e.g., chop-and-drop, mulching, Terra Preta) together with high species diversity and cultivation of rare varieties (flora), undisturbed areas for fauna, connection to green corridors throughout the area.

The area of study “Merchouch” is located in Bouregreg watershed, in central western Morocco (5.4-6.8W and 32.8-34N). It belongs to the provinces of Rabat-Sale-Kenitra and Beni Mellal-Khenifra. It includes three sub-basins and consists of three main rivers form the hydrographic network, namely: Bouregreg, Grou, and Korifla

The Gediz River Basin is one of the most important basins in the west of Türkiye. The river is 401 km long and has a 60.48 m3 s-1 annual rate of flow on average. The Menemen Plain, located at the end of the River basin, is flat with an altitude is 10 m on average and includes the Lower Gediz alluvial base as well as the adjacent side stream alluvial and colluvial skirts. The Gediz Valley ranks second among the four great plains in Western Anatolia in terms of basin and floor width

Fayoum governorate is a large depression located about 90 km south-west of Cairo, Egypt; it occupies a portion of Eocene limestone plateau at the northern part of the western desert. Agricultural lands in Fayoum governorate are gaining significant importance at the environmental and economic levels. It represents an extension of the physical environment of the Nile River in terms of the nature of the soil formation as well as the waters of the Nile River, as well as being an environmental system characterized by the complexity of systems which controlled by the desert ecosystem characteristics. Generally, at El-Fayoum depression, the alluvial aquifer is currently under contamination stress due to agricultural activities and extensive use of agrochemical fertilizers and pesticides as well as wastewater disposal. In addition, the alluvial soils are being degraded mainly due to waterlogging and salt accumulation. Mismanagement of agricultural fertilizers and pesticides, reuse of drainage water for irrigation, wastewater disposal and inadequate land use planning has a major impact on the degradation of groundwater and soil quality in the study area.

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