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Workshop on Effects of Land Abandonment and Global Change on Plant and Animal Communities
11 - 13 October 2004, Villa Orlandi, Capri



Land abandonment and global change effects both represent expected changes to our environment in the future. While global change includes temperature increase or precipitation change as physical parameters, although partly anthropogenically-induced, land abandonment is a purely anthropogenic influence on the landscape.

Global change effects will be noticeable in the future but land abandonment has already taken place. In the last century, and especially over recent decades, agricultural landscapes have undergone huge changes and two major, opposite trends have been recognised: intensification and abandonment. Here we will focus on land abandonment and its effect on animal and plant communities. The progressive abandonment of marginal and less productive areas has favoured the disappearance of traditional farm landscape, replaced by shrubland and finally woodland. The consequences of this process are not well known and this workshop should help to summarise the information and thus hopefully contribute to maintaining biodiversity at a higher level.

Global change effects will affect the distribution, abundance and life cycles of most species. The distribution will change with shifting vegetation zones resulting from shifting climatic zones. Community structures and compositions will change according to individual adaptation of species of which some may not adapt at all. Vegetation shifts will determine consequent shifts in animal distribution, resulting in changed patterns of predator-prey interactions as well.

Effects of land abandonment and global change will be considered at the local to regional level with results of dynamic global vegetation models as boundary conditions. Contrary to expectation, land abandonment in the Mediterranean is not contributing to biodiversity but it helps invasion of northern species while diminishing local species which had adapted over centuries to the mosaic landscape of traditional farming practices there. The maintenance of these practices will be discussed.

The difficulties of the conflict between conservational aspects and other human interests, for example for the tourist industry, can be dealt with as well. Another clash between interests is the invasion of wolves into formerly wolf-free regions: would the inhabitants accept this on behalf of the higher interests of biodiversity or would they hunt and kill them?

Please see here for the detailed programme with pdf files of the presentations. And in case you are curious about the place where the workshop took place go to the photo gallery to get an impression of the Villa Orlandi, Anacapri and our field trip to the Monate Solaro. Here is the pdf list of the participants and speakers with address details.

Workshop Conveners:
Wolfgang Cramer, Sandra Lavorel,
Stefano Mazzoleni, Volkmar Wolters

Sunday, 10 October 2004
Arrival and registration at Villa Orlandi

Monday, 11 October 2004
Global change and land abandonment: Past and present

Tuesday, 12 October 2004
Effects of land abandonment and global change on biodiversity

Field trip with the funiculare to the Monte Solaro

Wednesday, 13 October 2004
Managing biodiversity under land abandonment and climate change
Land abandonment under special risks: Fire and mountain ecosystems

Thursday, 14 October 2004

The entrance to the Villa Orlandi

The workshop took place at the International Centre for Scientific Culture of the University of Naples "Federico II":
Villa Orlandi
Anacapri, Capri, Italy
Tel.: +39 - 081 - 2537206

The travel directions (pdf: 100KB) from Naples to Anacapri and your hotel can be downloaded as well as a map of the whole island of Capri. A detailed map of Anacapri is here.

Please have a look at the timetable of ferries.

Villa Orlandi

(All fotos © by Villa Orlandi)

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
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Last updated 16.11.04 by Sabine Luetkemeier