Rural case studies
The four rural case-study regions (see location map below) are characterized by a range of features and issues which are likely to render them particularly vulnerable to climate change.
Tuscany, Italy: Rural areas of Tuscany are dominated by agricultural and tourist activities. In particular, grapevine and olives are two of the main agricultural crops grown in Tuscany. In the last 15 years, rural tourism has increased exponentially in Tuscany so that it now represents the main income for many farmers.
Apulia (Puglia), Italy: A gentle topography with high population density has led to an intensification of agricultural farming in Apulia. Tourism in the Apulia region is a growing economic resource, whose development could be affected by climate change and coastal management strategies.
Judean Foothills, Israel: This region is located in the southern-central part of Israel and occupies the transition zone between the northern sub-humid and southern semi-arid Mediterranean climate zones. Tourism, a developing sector in the area, relies on the rich historical, cultural and natural heritage of the Judean Foothills.
Tel Hadya, Syria: In this area of northern Syria agricultural systems are mainly rain fed with cereals and legumes dominating the land area. Supplemental irrigation is practiced in winter and in summer, crops are fully irrigated. Communities in rural areas tend to be poor and underdeveloped and are particular vulnerable to drought.
Key hazards and vulnerabilities
The fragile balance of these complex rural systems is threatened by environmental and social pressures, rendering these regions particularly vulnerable to climate change. The main climate threats for the rural case studies are related to: atmospheric warming, shifts in rainfall patterns, and extreme events (such as flood, dry spells, heat waves, storms). These climate hazards are expected to have direct negative consequences for agricultural production and the stability of natural ecosystems. In particular, a reduction in available water will have repercussions for water resource management as the competition between different sectors intensifies. There are large economic implications which may alter the characteristics of the workforce at a regional scale and the continuity of water supply to the general population.
The main objectives for the rural case studies are to undertake an integrated assessment of the cross-sector impacts of climate change on: forest fire risk, water resources, biodiversity, and the rural economy including agriculture and tourism. Collaboration with stakeholders will allow us to identify and explore practical and specific adaptation and mitigation measures for the rural case studies.
Briefing notes: Overview of the rural case studies