Objectives of this work package were:
1. to produce a baseline integrated description of chosen study sites on the Mediterranean coasts: natural system assessment, land uses, socio-economic assessment;
2. to characterise elements of significant ecosystems and chose suitable descriptors;
3. to describe past evolution and trends of these coastal environments;
4. to propose recommendations for the sustainable management of Mediterranean coastal areas.
General strategy. At each study site, multidisciplinary and international teams conducted research according to the specific needs assessed for the sites by the local teams through bibliographic research, preliminary visits and contacts with the local stakeholders. In Italy (organised by Partner 1, 16-23 May 2003), Morocco (organised by Partner 9 and Partner 10, 29 April – 5 May 2004) and Tunisia (organised by Partner 7 and Partner 8, 8-17 April 2005) work-together meetings were conducted at the study sites, where multidisciplinary and international teams carried out field research according to their specific expertise, met with other teams to integrate approaches and techniques, and contacted local stakeholders to focus research on their needs. At all study sites existing documentation was collected and used to establish a baseline of knowledge. GIS were used to integrate results in the spatial dimension and for communication with the environmental managers. The historical dimension was addressed exploiting archaeological data and carbon dating of remains and relics, old cartography and archival documentation. Biodiversity was analysed at different levels of integration: communities, populations, eco-physiology, behaviour and genetics. Data sets collected at the study sites were exploited in work package 2 to develop indicators of changes and impacts.
Results obtained on the whole were a multidisciplinary description of each core study site, that was produced to be used locally for the development of management plans, with the identification of problems and issues of the areas, recommendations for the solution of these problems locally and in other similar areas in the Mediterranean coastal region, and the identification of descriptors of past evolution and trends. These results are disseminated through the strategies described in work package 4.