The diversity of Mediterranean landscapes contributes to local and regional identity, reflecting the past and present relationship between man and his natural and built environment. A very rich cultural landscapes have been developed through many millennia when different human populations, cultures, religions flourished around the Mediterranean and developed coastal landscapes as a result of transformations in land in order to produce food, build settlements, fortifications, art and alike. Cultural landscapes of the Mediterranean coastal areas are related mainly to agriculture, which has a dominant role in its evolution. Forests, in addition, play a very important visual, biological and climatic role in the Mediterranean landscape.
Nowadays, however, increasing threats to cultural identity, heritage and landscape diversity of the region due to external (e.g. globalisation) and internal factors (e.g. rapid urbanisation of coastal areas) can be witnessed constantly. As a result, natural and cultural (man-made) landscapes have deteriorated significantly in several coastal regions.
In spite of commitments, coastal landscapes of the Mediterranean have never been studied or elaborated in the MAP projects per se. Landscapes are taken into account through proposals of various policy documents (plans, strategies, programmes), in projects oriented to local level, such as CAMP, by using ICZM methodologies or by dealing with individual natural resources. However, the existing landscape-specific methodologies and concepts (such as landscape planning, valuation, assessment, or vulnerability studies, and landscape characterisation) have not been systematically taken into account. Also, knowledge of the landscape typology, i.e. variety of landscapes, and awareness about the landscape values is not adequate, nor are the main processes and forces influencing their transformation.