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MED-CORE Résumé de rapport

Project ID: ICA3-CT-2002-10003
Financé au titre de: FP5-INCO 2
Pays: Italy

Proceedings volume of the MEDCORE final conference

From the presentation of the volume by the editor Felicita Scapini,The Mediterranean coastal areas from watershed to the sea: interactions and changes, in press 2006, Firenze University Press :
"The MEDCORE project funded by the EC, ICA-3-CT2002-10003, was carried out from 2002 to 2005 by a consortium of researchers from nine European and Mediterranean partner countries. It focused on a number of selected coastal areas, with particular attention to the interactions and links between elements. Multidisciplinary research and integration of expertise characterised our approach. The international conference, Florence on 10th-14th November 2005, aimed at presenting the main scientific achievements of the project, at extending the collaboration to other interested students and researchers and starting new scientific interactions. Despite the variation of the presentations, we wanted to collect them in a volume to show that interactive research is possible and to build a baseline for an innovative interdisciplinary perspective. Some of the articles of this volume have already started an effort in this sense, other can be used for further developments towards interdisciplinary research. Before starting any interaction, it is important to come together and to know what the colleagues do and what are their approaches and achievements. A cross-reading of the articles will represent a starting point towards integration.

The Mediterranean coastal zone can be considered a centre of interactions at different levels. Sea and land ecosystems here are in contact, coasts extend as a continuous line around a common sea that has represented a space for trades and wars along with the human history, the rivers link the inland and coastal zones and have been the main ROADS of interchanges and development. We have found difficult to define the spatial and temporal scales of our research because each subject of study has its scale. The times of humans, animals, plants and micro-organisms are not the same, depending on the life span of individuals, the turn-over of generations, the historical events and the geological changes. Also their spatial influences vary and the texture can be very different, from the whole Mediterranean Basin, to defined zones and habitats, to particular spots. But all contribute to the sustainability of the ecosystems the more the interactions, the higher the sustainability. Beaches are paradigmatic, as they link terrestrial and marine environments, and are threatened both by land and sea impacts.

Their economic importance is evident along with their fragility as ecosystems. Interactions between elements in a system are only in minimal part competition and struggle for life or negative impacts, as is often expressed when human culture and nature are considered, but they are mainly conjunctions and in some cases cooperation. An interaction or conjunction is always found when spatial and temporal scales of different elements overlap. It would be interesting to explore the outcome of these conjunctions in view of the sustainability of the coastal systems across the Mediterranean. In this perspective, there is no contrast between nature and culture, and conservation of natural elements should be compatible with human uses, environmental management and development.

The layout of this volume has derived from the above said. We followed a SCALE logic, from the general to the particular, from the macro-scale to the micro-scale. Consequently, history and geography come first, socio-economy and management follow, then the river basin with the diversity of habitats it offers along its course, the extended dune and beach environments and the coastal waters. Temporally we analysed pre-historical and historical times, generations and seasons, from the long term to the medium and the short ones.

Overlaps between compartments and phenomena are frequent and most of the authors have stressed them. In some articles, on the other hand such relations were not stressed, whenever they are present. We hope that this volume will offer new inputs and ideas to interested students and researchers, to foster attention in the links between ecosystems compartments and, methodologically, between disciplines. MEDCORE Proceedings should represent a starting point towards further integration. We invite both the authors and readers to suggest further developments to enhance an integrated sustainable development of Mediterranean coastal zones, which is pressingly needed in this region that has experienced rapid global and GLOCAL developments.

The Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze has sponsored the printing of 500 volumes, which will be distributed freely upon request and put in the internet as a PDF file by the Firenze University Press. Each of the 30 articles published was subjected to peer review by two independent experts.

Reported by

Department of Evolutionary Biology - University of Florence
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