Cultivated terraces are outstanding modifications of mountains and hills to obtain arable land. These terraced agricultural systems are widespread traditional landscapes within the Mediterranean area. The cultivated terraces of the Amalfi Coast (Southern Italy) are outstanding examples of cultural landscapes, and they represent one of the key descriptors of the UNESCO Site. Terraces have characterized the landscape of the Amalfi Coast for a long time as their construction started during the Middle Age. However, their conservation is now threatened by abandonment, which has dramatically risen in the last 60 years, and by the ongoing climatic changes with the increased incidence of heavy rainfall events. We combined interviews with local farmers and vegetation surveys to understand which management activities are carried out to improve the conservation of cultivated terraces on the Amalfi Coast. To this end, we analyzed the linkages between these management practices and their influence on the vegetation growing on the terrace risers. Our informants identified the maintenance of waterways and walls as crucial factors influencing terrace and slope stability. The preservation of the integrity of terraces depends on periodic vegetation control and the maintenance of water drainage systems, which are carried out thanks to the active presence of farmers. According to our informants, the vegetation growing on the walls has a relevant role in the sta- bility of terraces, and we found a prevalence of Hemicryptophytes that increase with the number of interventions over the year. Thus, active and vital agriculture becomes pivotal for the preservation of this cultural heritage.
Cicinelli, E., Caneva, G., Savo, V. (2021). Risk factors and plant management activities for the terraced agricultural systems on the Amalfi coast (Italy): an interdisciplinary approach. RENDICONTI LINCEI. SCIENZE FISICHE E NATURALI, 32(4), 761-774 [10.1007/s12210-021-01018-9].