Characterizing the Terraced Landscapes of the Island of Gran Canaria (Canary Islands, Spain)
Terraced cultural landscapes provide valuable information on the historical interaction between societies and the environment that can help to ensure their survival. The irruption of tourism and, more recently, globalization, have caused a process of deterritorialization (loss of relationship with the history and memory of places) and an undervaluation of spaces that are characterized by their heritage value and their socio-ecological multifunctionality. This is the case of the terraces of Gran Canaria (Canary Islands, Spain), which suffer the threat of abandonment. The aim of this study is to carry out the first mapping of terraces on the island in order to analyse the environmental and social factors that influence their spatial distribution. To carry out this analysis, the database of a study titled “The Cartography of the Potential of the Natural Environment of Gran Canaria” (Sánchez et al.,1995) was used to obtain the layer of landscape units with terraces. To check its reliability, a cross-validation was carried out, comparing the result obtained from this source (scale 1:18,000, from orthophoto1987) with that derived from the photointerpretation of flight imagery taken between 1951 and 1957 at 1:1,000 scale. For this, a hydrographic basin was used as a pilot area, obtaining a significant level of coincidence of 87.4%. The main results show that terraces cover around 38.8% of the island’s surface and that 55% of them are covered with scrub as consequence of the vegetation recolonization that followed the abandonment of agricultural with the arrival of tourism.
2020 The Journal of Terraced Landscapes A6 Lidija.pdf