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Terraced Landscapes in the Canary Islands: La Gomera, “The Terrace Island”

  • Lidia Esther Romero Martín
  • Antonio Ignacio Hernández Cordero
  • Aarón Santana Cordero
  • Carla Vargas Negrín
  • Juan Manuel Palerm Salazar
Chapter
Part of the Environmental History book series (ENVHIS, volume 9)

Abstract

The aim of this work is to map and characterize the maximum surface area of terraced slopes on La Gomera Island. To do so, two digital orthophotos, from 1964 and 2016, were used and analyzed with GIS. These sources represent two key moments in the recent history of the island, corresponding in the first instance to a peak in population and agricultural activity and in the second to the fall into disuse of the terraces. In this study, terrace characterization was based on a map-based analysis of environmental and human factors which influence this kind of landscape. The environmental factors considered were topographically—(slope, elevation, landforms) and geologically-based, while the human factors analyzed were land use, land cover, and protected natural areas. The results show the enormous, diverse, and vulnerable heritage of the terraces, which are an example of a cultural landscape whose history reveals the isolation, scarcity, subsistence, and identity of La Gomera islanders, as well as the terraces’ current state of abandonment and degradation. This research constitutes the beginning of an inventory process (identification, location, and description) which will serve as a prior step to classification and evaluation, necessary to protect this landscape. It is also the first contribution from an Atlantic-Macaronesian island to the atlas of world terraces, as promoted by the International Terraced Landscapes Alliance (ITLA).

Keywords

Terraces Heritage GIS Mapping Inventory process Cultural landscapes Environmental factors Abandonment and degradation Atlas of world terraces International Terraced Landscapes Alliance Spain Canary Islands Macaronesia La Gomera 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the help of José Mangas Viñuela (Chair in Geology, member of the “Geología Aplicada y Regional” research group (ULPGC)). Thanks are also due to Carolina Peña Alonso for her participation in the making of the cartography of the La Gomera basin slopes and, finally, to Juan Carlos Hernández Marrero, archeologist and head of the Archaeological Museum of La Gomera for sharing his knowledge, such as the history and heritage of the island, and for providing some of the photographic material.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lidia Esther Romero Martín
    • 1
  • Antonio Ignacio Hernández Cordero
    • 1
  • Aarón Santana Cordero
    • 2
    • 3
  • Carla Vargas Negrín
    • 4
  • Juan Manuel Palerm Salazar
    • 5
  1. 1.Grupo de Investigación Geografía Física y Medio Ambiente, Instituto Oceanográfico y Cambio Global, IOCAGUniversidad de Las Palmas de Gran CanariaLas PalmasSpain
  2. 2.Department for Management of Science and Technology DevelopmentTon Duc Thang UniversityHo Chi Minh CityVietnam
  3. 3.Faculty of Environment and Labour SafetyTon Duc Thang UniversityHo Chi Minh CityVietnam
  4. 4.Palerm & Tabares de NavasSanta CruzSpain
  5. 5.Department of Graphic Expression and Architectural ProjectsUniversidad de Las Palmas de Gran CanariaLas PalmasSpain

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