Landscape Scale Conservation

Ongoing projects

​AgrOassis: Regenerative Approaches for Building Climate Change Resilience into EU Agricultural Regions Prone to Desertification [funded by LIFE+]  

Project Summary

The primary objective of AgrOassis is to assist climate change adaptation in the agricultural sector of the EU’s two most south easterly countries, Cyprus and Greece, and beyond. To meet the objectives of the EU legislation and policy on climate action AgrOassis will develop, demonstrate and promote innovative techniques, best practices, methods and approaches, as well as close-to-market solutions in areas currently exposed to desertification. As a consequence of inappropriate land use and wildfires, these areas are expected to become even more vulnerable under climate change. The project will also markedly contribute towards climate change mitigation, promote carbon farming and biodiversity restoration. The latter will be achieved by promoting effective re-growth of trees and shrubs in degraded field margins and by aiding pollination processes, in regions of poor soil quality and very low natural vegetation cover.

While regenerating ecosystem services within degraded agroecosystems, AgrOassis will also seek to identify and remove obstacles related to inappropriate governance and policies that obstruct the implementation of the EU’s Green Deal Agenda and the aim of reaching climate neutrality by 2050.

Preparatory work for AgrOassis, has identified Cyprus as a hotspot of unsustainable soil management practices connected to widely applied tillage. This appears as an indirect side-effect of government policies aiming to enforce CAP EU legislation, as well as a direct result of inappropriate counselling towards farmers and inadequate training on how to combat desertification. AgrOassis also attempts to mobilize the private sector by utilizing available unexploited resources to promote the circular economy concept in the agro-sector of Cyprus.

At the same time, the project will mobilize private investment towards close-to-market solutions on green waste sustainability and sustainable soil management in line with the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy.

The project is based on three main implementation actions to address resilience in agricultural ecosystems:

The Agricultural Research Institute is coordinating the project. Laona Foundation for the Conservation and Regeneration of the Cypriot Countryside is responsible for the management.

Completed Projects

TakeOff: Translating new Approaches & Knowledge into EnvirOnmentally Friendly Farming [funded by ERASMUS+]  

Project Summary

Agricultural Practices are responsible for 17-20% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but are also the main driver for biodiversity and habitat degradation and loss. Farmers remain the real countryside managers with paramount importance in the effort to meet the targets for EU Biodiversity Strategy (BDS) 2030 and the EU climate targets for 2050.  However, farmers belong to professions where training is not provided to an adequate degree due to lack of Vocation Educational Training (VET) tailored to farmer. 

TAKE OFF project aims to bridge this gab by promoting Environmentally Friendly Farming (EFF), in line with major EU policies and initiatives, such as the EU climate targets and the EU Biodiversity Strategy. In addition TAKE OFF is tailored to the ERASMUS+ Horizontal Priorities for the environment and fight against climate change and stimulating innovative learning and teaching practices. 

The concrete objectives of the project are:

- Produce an e-learning course for Environmental Friendly Farming (EFF) - Activity 1

- Built an online tool for promoting EFF practices - Activity 2

- Produce a replicability e-package for education & training activities related to EFF - Activity 3

- Interact with the target groups and increase outputs uptake by implementing 2 multiplier events, in Cyprus and Italy - Activities 4,5.

EcoWinery: Eco-innovation for the production of low environmental footprint wine [funded by RPF Cyprus]  

Project Summary


​Wine tradition in Cyprus outdates most other wine-producing nations, with a history of more than 5 millennia. Vineyards shape the rural landscape of the island as indigenous vine varieties are one of a few crops able to grow under the dry and warm climate of the island. While in the recent past, vineyards covered close to 30.000 ha, nowadays the area has dropped to less than 7.000 ha, reflecting the intense socioeconomic challenges threatening the sector. Wine imports have progressively captured two thirds of the share of the local market, valued at €75 million annually, outcompeting local SMEs that seem unable to create a unique identity for their product. EcoWinery aims at promoting eco-innovation in Cypriot vineyards and SME wineries and inspiring technological breakthroughs to address the important economic and social challenges of the sector in line with the Europe 2020 strategic framework for smart growth and sustainable development. Through a well targeted approach, Eco-Winery will provide validated tools to enable SME wineries determine and lower the environmental footprint of wine and develop an effective branding strategy build around three inherent characteristics of their product: a) high quality, b) low environmental impact and c) contribution to conservation of indigenous and native animals.  

Project partners:

Cyprus University of Technology (coordinator)

Open University of Cyprus

Nikolaides Winery

National Technicl University of Athens

Aberdeen University

EnveROS: Environmental Education through Roadkills Observation Systems [funded by Erasmus+ Programme] 

Project Summary

EnVeROS (Environmental Education through Roadkill Observation Systems) is an Erasmus+ funded educational project, with the aim to raise public awareness and educate especially young adults about the Wildlife Vehicle Collision situation in Cyprus, Czech Republic and the Autonomous Province of Bolzano/Bozen (Northern Italy). In a first step, modern and innovative e-learning programs will be developed to increase the public knowledge about the local environment, the roadkill issue and road safety. In a second step, a mobile application will be installed, actively involving the large public in Roadkill data collection through a citizen science approach. The final goal of the project is to create a better understanding about Wildlife Vehicle Collision in the partner regions and develop educational approach that could be transferable to other countries.

MEDSCAPES: Development of Landscape Character Assessment as a tool for effective conservation of natural heritage in the Eastern Mediterranean (funded by ENPI – CBCMED Programme) 

Project Summary

MedScapes is a project that aims at the scientific recording and mapping of landscapes in the eastern Mediterranean. Its target is to contribute towards a comprehensive mapping of landscapes conducting a systematic and integrated use of spatial data available, by all stakeholders in the participating countries, contributing towards the protection and sustainable development of the various landscapes of the region.

The outcomes of the project would be useful both for research and decision-making, while the overarching goal is to develop a method that will act as an advisory tool for drawing sustainable development strategies in the participating countries and beyond.

The MedScapes project is a two-year collaboration between Cyprus, Greece, Jordan and the Lebanon. A total of four universities and four non-governmental organisations (NGOs), one each from the above countries participate in the project, led by the Laona Foundation for the Conservation and Regeneration of the Cypriot Countryside. The Cyprus Department of Town Planning and Housing, responsible for the coordination of the implementation of the European Landscape Convention in Cyprus, is an associate partner of the project. MedScapes is funded by the European Neighbourhood and Partnership instrument

(ENPI)1  for initiatives between EU and other Mediterranean countries.

By developing landscape maps as a tool, the project aims to provide support to decision-makers responsible for land use and regional planning in the four participating countries, while raising awareness about the character of local landscapes and the natural environments they support. 

SCALES: Securing the Conservation of biodiversity across Administrative Levels and spatial, temporal, and Ecological Scales (funded by the EU FP7 Programme) 

Project Summary

Human actions, motivated by social and economic driving forces, generate various pressures on biodiversity, such as habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, land use related disturbance patterns, or species invasions that have an impact on biodiversity from the genetic to the ecosystem level. Each of these factors acts at characteristic scales, and the scales of social and economic demands, of environmental pressures, of biodiversity impacts, of scientific analysis, and of governmental responses do not necessarily match. However, management of the living world will be effective only if we understand how problems and solutions change with scale.


SCALES will seek ways to build the issue of scale into policy and decision-making and biodiversity management. It will advance our knowledge of how anthropogenic and natural processes interact across scales and affect biodiversity. It will evaluate how this knowledge can be used to improve the scale-sensitivity and effectiveness of policy instruments for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. SCALES will emphasize approaches that utilize existing biodiversity databases as they are the most widely available information in applied biodiversity conservation. SCALES will integrate the most appropriate assessment tools and policy instruments into a coherent framework to support biodiversity conservation across spatial and temporal scales. SCALES will set-up a Science Policy Dialogue Group to foster exchange with policy and other stakeholders.

ESLAND - European Culture expressed in Island Landscapes (funded by EU- CULTURE Programme) 

Project Summary 

The general concept is to consider the European Island Landscapes as part of our cultural heritage, including the unique identity and values they have for European people. The main goal is to improve consideration of cultural heritage in European island landscapes of different size. Accordingly, this pilot project aims to describe the evolution of European island landscapes and their present conditions, in view of an interdisciplinary approach for a common discussion and agreed methodology on their concepts, classification and identity, leading to publications, mapping and e-tools for a future development of these landscapes which should be more culturally and sustainable oriented than at present. The ultimate goal is to contribute to the implementation of European policies such as the Council of Europe European Landscape Convention, UNESCO World Heritage Convention, IUCN Biocultural Diversity Journey, EC Maritime Spatial Planning & Integrated Coastal Zone Management, UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan and G8 Siracusa Charter.