Mapping agroecosystems cultural services in 'Beira interior'

Cultural services are deeply linked to agroecosystems and to the millennial history of human management. Cultural manifestations between society and agricultural land are numerous and differ throughout the territory. Thus, the project aims to obtain a global overview of the main cultural services provided by the agroecosystems from the Cultivar study area, particularly, their relationship with selected Endogenous Genetic Resources.

To map these non-material benefits, namely the services that result from physical, intellectual, spiritual or cultural interaction with the agro-ecosystems, ‘SMART indicators’ will be chosen, based on CICES recommendation, properly adapted to the Cultivar context, namely for the identification and evaluation of cultural services that result from physical, intellectual, spiritual or cultural interaction with these ecosystems.

The selected indicators will make it possible to describe (quantitatively or qualitatively) the uses and other established relationships between people and agroecosystems, such as:

        • the number of visitors in predominantly agricultural areas;
        • the density of mapped trails in the agricultural territory;
        • scientific projects and/or publications associated with this territory;
        • the number of educational farms and/or fairs associated with Endogenous Genetic Resources to be promoted, among others.

The number of certified products (e.g. Protected Designation of Origin, Protected Geographical Identification) that often require traditional landscape management may also be considered, as these products directly represent the cultural heritage linked to agroecosystems and, on the other hand, their marketing often supports sustainable agriculture.

Spiritual, religious and emblematic services, which require an in-depth local knowledge and detailed mapping of landscape features, will also be included in this assessment, whenever possible. The quantification of agroecosystems included in conservation areas (e.g. Natura 2000) could also be considered representative of the ‘existence’ and ‘legacy’ services of agroecosystems as considered in the CICES typology. 

The most recent paradigms of territorial development, particularly of rural areas, have been valuing the endogenous characteristics of the territory and its natural resources. This project hopes to contribute for cultural services to become determinants of development in this region, included in an active strategy of promotion and valorisation of endogenous resources.

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