Main WP3 results

WP3 Human-environmental interaction: perception, adaptation and mitigation

Relations between past Mediterranean civilizations and climate

At the end of the Bronze Age the east of the Mediterranean was marked by the decline of several civilizations (Hittites, Egypt, Palestine, Egea) and the invasions of so-called People of the Sea. Kaniewski et al. (2013a) demonstrated that the period of famine provoked by three centuries of drought (1200-900 BC) accelerated the decline. Kaniewski et al. (2013b) have also shown that the emergence of cities 6000 years ago has durably transformed the environment, reinforcing the effect of drought and the sea level increase (Kaniewski et al. 2014). A post-doc has started in 2015 to build a socio-economical modelling of the reactions in the past of Mediterranean society to environmental change, involving earth sciences to social sciences as well as economics and archaeology researchers.

Legal aspects of Mediterranean environmental policy

Concurrent with the recognized need to improve the management of ecosystem resources worldwide, and in the Mediterranean in particular, is the development of legal and policy instruments to implement measures for sustainability. Mediterranean countries have long standing commitments to protect the environment, but these policies now enter a new phase with the existence of the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). An OT-Med supported PhD project (student: Guillaume Futhazar) investigates the emergence of international conventions and associated legislation through deeply “embedded” observations of the IPBES process.


  • Kaniewski D, Van Campo E, Guiot J, Le Burel S, Otto T, et al. 2013a Environmental roots of the late Bronze Age crisis. PLoS ONE 8(8): e71004, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0071004
  • Kaniewski D, Van Campo E, Morhange C, Guiot J, Zviely D, Shaked I, Otto T, Artzy M 2013b Early urban impact on Mediterranean coastal environments. Scientific Reports 3:3540, doi: 10.1038/srep03540
  • Kaniewski, D, Van Campo, E, Morhange, C, Guiot, J, Zviely, D, Le Burel, S, Otto, T, Artzy, M., 2014. Vulnerability of Mediterranean Ecosystems to Long-Term Changes along the Coast of Israel. Plos One, 9, doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0102090.