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Landscape and Water Heritage in Mountainous Areas: From the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, from Northern Portugal to Southern Morocco

  • Desidério BatistaEmail author
  • Miguel Reimão Costa
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Part of the Trends in the History of Science book series (TRENDSHISTORYSCIENCE)

Abstract

This chapter presents a study of the culture of water and its shared management associated with the traditional irrigation and milling systems in the mountains of both the northwest of Portugal and the High Atlas in Morocco as lands of historical and continued human occupation. The study spans two essential themes that interrelate and overlap. It begins by characterising the historical process of socio-spatial formation of the aforementioned mountain regions, analysing the extremely intricate relationships between the inhabitants, water, and the production of foodstuffs within a context of natural resource scarcity, a climate featuring torrential downpours and a decidedly family and household-based economy. Then, it incorporates fieldwork, by surveying the traditional irrigation system and analysing the collective management of water within the scope of the different types of irrigation associated with the diverse agricultural crops and the seasons of the year, as well as investigating the use of rotating mills. The comparative study of these cases reveals the specific features stemming from the geographic, climatic and historical characteristics that have contextualised the collective usage and management of water in keeping with the irrigation practices and traditional milling methods in each of these mountainous regions. Furthermore, it simultaneously identifies a significant set of shared features that approximate the two models of settlement and territorial organisation on either side of the Mediterranean, alongside their respective modes of habitation and means of food production, whether for the inhabitants or their cattle, based upon the shared community usage of water resources.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth, Sea and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and TechnologyUniversity of AlgarveFaroPortugal

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