The Terra Lemnia project aims to build a common vision for sustainable development of Lemnos Island based on conservation and restoration of the extensive agro-pastoral practices that favour local biodiversity and shape the unique landscape of the island. These practices are mainly characterised by, and organised around, the element of traditional ‘mandras’.
The Terra Lemnia project is coordinated by the Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos (MedINA) and is funded by the MAVA Foundation for Nature under the M6 Strategy “Loss of biodiversity by abandonment of cultural practices” as an example of an insular landscape. Terra Lemnia was launched in September 2017 and will run for a five-year period until 2022. The main project partners are the Agricultural University of Athens, the University of Aegean, the Hellenic Ornithological Society, the local NGO Anemoessa, the Society for the Protection of Prespa and the Tour du Valat (TdV) Research Institute, while the team also includes scientists from the Universities of Gottingen and Patras.
A Mediterranean Alliance
Terra Lemnia is part of a larger Mediterranean program named Mediterranean Alliance for Nature and Culture aimed at “Preserving traditional cultural practices that shape landscapes of high ecological value maintained by sustainable human practices”.
Lemnos is one of the pilot areas, the others being the Dehesas/Montados in the Iberian Peninsula, specifically in Andalusia and Extremadura in Spain and Alentejo in Portugal, the High Atlas in Morocco, Mount Shouf in Lebanon and Menorca in Spain.
These five areas have been selected as excellent indicative examples of areas of high ecological value, in which programs for the preservation and promotion of natural wealth and human practices that shape it are being implemented.
The respective programs are funded by the Swiss Foundation MAVA as part of its Mediterranean Strategy for the years 2017-2022. The aim of this effort is to support those traditional and sustainable management practices of the primary sector, that contribute to the preservation of biodiversity and the unique landscapes of the Mediterranean. Abandonment of these practices and the shift to solely industrialized production can lead to irreversible damage to the ecosystems and biodiversity, with devastating consequences for humans.
As part of the first three years of the Alliance’s action, the #RootedEveryday awareness campaign was implemented. The aim of the campaign was to inform and mobilize the public about the culture, nature, history and biodiversity in the Mediterranean, highlighting the importance of coexistence and connection of the human element with the natural environment. Examining primary sector practices, with an emphasis on agriculture, livestock and forest management in the Mediterranean pilot areas, the campaign focused on the people who practice them, their stories, their wonderful products and their gastronomic tradition. In 2019, the campaign held the #MedStoryPrize literary competition in schools in the pilot areas of the program, but also among adults across the Mediterranean, while the #MedFoodHeroes digital campaign, referring to the gastronomic tradition of the Mediterranean, took place in 2020, uniting the public through practices, the people who work with the land and the rich Mediterranean palette of flavors during the nights of participation in the live broadcasts of #ShareADish night, accompanied by national photo contests on Instagram.
2021 marks the beginning of the second phase of the Alliance, with a variety of partner events and actions being prepared by our team.