Culture and Wetlands in the Mediterranean: an evolving story

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Warming world temperatures are speeding both rates of decomposition of trapped organic material and evaporation, while threatening critical sources of wetlands recharge by melting glaciers and reducing precipitation. Wetlands slow the decay of organic material trapped and locked away over the ages in low oxygen conditions.

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The project concerned mainly the implementation in the Mediterranean Region of the Ramsar Guidance on Culture and Wetlands. Papayannis, T. and Pritchard, D. (eds) , Culture and Wetlands in the Mediterranean: an Evolving Story, Athens: Med-INA (hard cover and soft cover,

These waterlogged either seasonally or year-round areas contain an estimated gigatonnes billion tonnes of greenhouse gases -- both CO 2 and more potent methane -- an amount in CO 2 equivalent comparable to the carbon content of today's atmosphere. Yet wetlands are essential to the planet's health -- and with hindsight, the problems in reality have turned out to be the draining of wetlands and other 'solutions' we humans devised.

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If the decline of wetlands continues through human and climate change-related causes, scientists fear the release of carbon from these traditional sinks could compound the global warming problem significantly, says Prof. Drained tropical swamp forests release an estimated 40 tonnes of carbon per hectare per year. Drained peat bogs release some 2.

Adds Prof. Speller: "This landmark conference beside the Pantanal will gather an overview of the status of global wetlands, identify knowledge gaps, create greater collaboration and consistency in wetland science worldwide, and offer a plain-spoken policy prescription for decision makers with an appeal to adopt it with urgency. German expert Wolfgang Junk says the impact of climate change on wetlands is small so far compared to the damage caused by poor management at the local level. Junk, of the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Biology, notes that maintenance of wetlands is much cheaper than rehabilitation and that poorer countries will have fewer means to rehabilitate their wetlands to cope with climate change.

Wetland-friendly development alternatives must be elaborated in developing countries, therefore, to minimize losses of their many benefits, he says. He notes too that while pressure on wetlands in poorer countries has risen dramatically in recent years, they have not suffered nearly as much damage as those in the developed world. Notwithstanding recent efforts in such countries as Australia and the U.

Typically high in nutrients, wetlands also offer rich habitats for small organisms which feed fish and other water life, which in turn nourish mammals and birds. Many wetlands feature biodiversity comparable to that of rainforests or coral reefs. Conference organizers say efficient protection of wetlands requires complex, long term management plans that cover their entire catchment areas, often involving agreements between states or countries.

These agreements need to cover activities that affect wetlands both directly and indirectly, such as the use of water and soils, development, waste treatment and disposal, but also harmonization of environmental legislation for protection of wetlands and all that lives in them. Materials provided by United Nations University.

Ecology of Threatened Semi-Arid Wetlands | SpringerLink

Note: Content may be edited for style and length. Science News. Background information Wetlands along the flood-prone Mississippi once stored 60 days of the river's floodwater; today they can store only 12 days' worth. Around Africa's Lake Victoria, wetlands are so degraded they can no longer filter nitrate and phosphate runoff from surrounding land.

The result: eutrophication and an explosive growth of lake-clogging water hyacinth. Before you enjoy this delicacy, a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil should be added. You can use your knife to crack the femminelle open so you can get at the eggs inside them while tasting the soup, or at the end of the meal in order to enjoy the soup while it is still hot. This is a typical meal of the Orbetello area, especially of the local families of fishermen. It is an autumn meal as during that period the lagoon crabs Carcinus aestuarii are in reproduction and females have the cephalothorax full of eggs.

Only female crabs are used for this recipe the term femminelle means small females in Italian. In any case, if you love the claws then choose male whereas if the tail is your favourite part buy female. Yet, for this recipe female crabs are required. There are different versions of this soup, i.

This recipe is the simplest and perhaps the tastier version of the femminelle soup. Let the mixture cook for minutes over high heat. Serve on a large plate with big hunks of toasted whole- wheat bread to soak up all their delicious marinade. Fry the wild asparagus for minutes and then set aside. Let it cook for 5 minutes over low heat. Discard soaking water and rinse the beans well. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 45 minutes. Cut them into palm-sized pieces and boil them over low fire in a large pot of water for about 30 minutes, with the lid on. Remove from heat and drain them.

Be generous as the vegetable oil must cover the inner pan surface. Coat the chicken mushrooms in flour, then dip them in the whisked eggs. Follow with the bread crumbs and then dip them again in the whisked eggs.

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Fry on both sides until the batter turns golden-brown. Remove and drain on absorbent paper or slices of bread. If you are unsure about the mushrooms you have picked, consult an expert. Chicken mushrooms or mushrooms of the woods Laetiporus sulphureus are usually foraged, and can be found growing on the barks of various trees, in the marshes along the coast of River Danube. Because it has the same texture as chicken, the mushroom has been called chicken-of-the-woods and considered a delicacy. Chicken mushrooms or mushrooms of the woods grow in large clusters, from the late summer through autumn.

They become harder and more brittle with age, so try to identify fresh young specimens. Also, look for caps that are juicy with a tender texture. Ideally they should ooze clear liquid when sliced. The latter is the product of salting, drying and seasoning of grey mullet eggs Mugil cephalus.

Bottarga can be used not only as seasoning but also in fine slices over bread toasted croutons, buttered or oiled with extra virgin olive oil. For the pasta recipe, a seasoned bottarga is required, i. The pasta must be cooked to perfection, al dente in Italian, with a little salt.

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Spaghetti is better suited, but short pasta or tagliatelle can also be used. Mix all ingredients well and serve hot. In , the King of Spain established the presidios. The presidi was not a state in the modern sense. Rather, it was a group of military units and Orbetello was the headquarters of State of Orbetello Presidia of the Tyrrhenian coast th century. It is said to be a Spanish custom to salt and store mullet eggs, which was eventually adapted by local fishermen. Bottarga is simply an end-result of the cultural exchanges of that era. Blanch it in lightly salted water for minutes and, then, plunge it into cold water to stop further cooking.

Fry until golden brown and crunchy. Add the glass of white wine and bring to a boil. Stir in the shrimps and simmer minutes until they are just cooked through. Add the prepared Salsola soda, stir, taste and season if necessary with salt and pepper. In the meantime, boil the orecchetti in lightly salted water till al dente, save a mug of the boiling water, and drain. Return the pasta to the empty pot, stir in the sauce, loosening with some of the saved boiling water if necessary.

Top with fried breadcrumbs as prepared above. The smooth green leaves of this annual plant are fleshy and the stalk has a reddish colour. It should be harvested in spring, from mid-March to May. Always ensure that the wild plants picked for culinary use grow within clean areas and are not rare or endangered. For instance, although there is much one can do with Salicornia ramosissima, it should not be picked or used in Malta, as the species is considered to be rare.

The photo that accompanies the recipe is an approximation of the dish, as not all ingredients were in season during the time of the publication. Add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Check that the pan is properly levelled, especially if cooking over a wood fire, and when the oil is hot add the pieces of meat chicken, rabbit and optionally duck and season with salt. Stir-fry over low heat until the meat is well sealed and turned golden. Keep stirring carefully, to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the pan bottom.

If you are using snails, add them at this point. Then, add the grated tomatoes, crushed garlic and sweet paprika. Keep stirring and once everything is well cooked, add the chicken stock to reach a level of one centimetre below the edge of the pan and the saffron. Let boil over low heat for approximately 30 minutes, until the stock reduces at least one centimetre below the previous level. Stirring with a wooden spoon, distribute it carefully all over the pan and spread the meat and vegetables proportionally.

After that point, avoid stirring the ingredients until the paella is finished. Cook the mixture over a fairly high heat for 5 minutes, then lower to medium heat. For the final 4 or 5 minutes lower further the fire to very low heat. The total cooking time needed for the rice is approx. Once the paella is done and all the liquid has been absorbed, let it stand for 5 more minutes before serving.

Alternatively, any other short-grain variety can be used but avoid long-grain rice. A large metal cm diameter approximately flat and shallow wide frying pan is necessary for cooking a paella. The olive oil does not scale up to the same proportion as other ingredients. It is always a good idea to have extra chicken stock in case the liquid evaporates more quickly than expected and some more needs to be added. These flat and shallow wide metal frying pans allow the rice to cook in a thin layer instead of a thick one, distinguishing the paella recipe from other rice recipes.

Coastal Wetlands and Us: Why We Should Protect this Ecosystem

The proper way of cooking Valencian Paella is over a wood fire, using preferably orange tree wood. The recipe yields 10 portions. Traditionally, paellas are cooked in very large pans, as the layer of rice must be very thin to be cooked properly. That is why paellas are cooked over a wood fire or over a large gas stove. Cook over a moderate fire for 30 minutes. In a cup, use some of the boiling liquid to dissolve the ink from the sac and then add the mixture in the pan.

Reduce heat to low and slow cook the rice for approximately 15 minutes until it absorbs all water. Top the dish with large spoonful of Alioli sauce and serve. Then stir in very slowly ml of olive oil until it becomes homogenous. Cut the eel into 3cm pieces. Mix the flour and the salt. Roll the eel pieces in the mix. Fry eels on both sides until half ready. Remove the eels from the pan and cover them with foil. Do not let them dry. Add the wine, let it simmer for 2 minutes and then add some water and the tomato puree.

Keep adding layers in the same order until the pot is filled. Check the clay pot occasionally to add water if necessary so that the rice will not dry. Defrost the octopus, clean it, cut it in pieces, and boil for 10 minutes. Ras Hanout, Coriander, Carvi, etc. To do it in the traditional way, scrub them in the sand, if possible. This is a perfect dish for Christmas Eve a partially fasting period. It is also a typical dish of the wider region of Southern Albania.

Roast the garlic for 30 seconds for extra flavour and add the eels. Once cooked from the one side, turn them over. After a couple of minutes, remove from heat. The 80 year-old cook Phaedra Andreou, a refugee from the north-western part of Cyprus to Polis of Chryssochous in the west where she lives since describes that Cypriots always cooked them in a simple way.

Eels were fished in many parts of Cyprus. Her father and husband fished eels until the Evretou dam stopped the flow of Chryssochous River some 30 years ago. They are now found in the remaining streams and seasonal wetlands in limited numbers. Use some of the mixture to stuff the fish. Add some salt, pepper and a couple of thin slices of lemon. Mix the salt well with water until it has the consistency of wet sand. If the mixture seems too wet, add more salt; if it is too dry add some more water. Add some juniper berries and grated lemon in the remaining herbs mixture.

Mix it well with the rest of the salt and cover the fish well. Once cooked, remove the tray from the oven, and crush the salt crust. It just forms a crust to keep the fish moist and it is low in calories. The same method can be applied to various types of foods, such as poultry, meat, etc.

Culture And Wetlands In The Mediterranean An Evolving Story 2011

Try it for full flavour cooking and in a low-calorie diet. Do not remove the scales from the fish skin because it can become too soft and absorb too much salt. A disposable aluminium tray may be easier to clean than a regular baking tray. Fry the ligdes in the pan until nearly cooked. This acid savory tomato sauce was one way of conserving fish, especially during periods of limited fish stocks.

Put the mix in a baking pan. Transfer to a spray bottle. During cooking, continue to spray the salt and the fish with the aromatic herb spray, so that the aromas and flavours of the herbs and salt will mingle. Before serving, allow the fish to rest for a few minutes on the salt grill without spraying. Rub them with half of the harissa sauce, cumin and some salt. Let them sit in this mixture for two hours. Remove them from the pan before thoroughly cooked, drain and let them rest. As soon as they turn golden, add the rest of the harissa, a pinch of salt, the raisins and cover with water.

Remove from the heat, sprinkle with vinegar and honey and let them stand for a few minutes. It is a very popular dish in all the cities from Sfax, the Kerkennah Islands, to the island of Djerba and Lake Bizerte that used to be Phoenician trading centres before the Carthaginians and later the Romans. For this reason, the nutritional properties of beef —instead of donkey— were examined. Add the vinegar, thyme, bay leaves cut in pieces for extra flavour , celery and carrots and the orange peel.

Marinate in the refrigerator overnight. In a pan, sear the meat with some olive oil. Put the seared meet in a casserole preferably earthenware crockpot and not a metal one and deglaze the pan with the marinade. When still hot, pour the marinade over the meat. Then add the onions from the marinade, thyme, bay leaf, celery, carrots, orange peel, salt and pepper, as well the clove of garlic. If the liquid does not cover the meat, add some more water. Alternatively, cook the meat in a pressure cooker for 1 hour.

The sauce can be thickened by adding some flour or corn starch. Bring back to a boil to further thicken the sauce and serve hot with Camargue rice. Choose the wine carefully, because bull is a firm, rich in taste meet, with a strong but not overwhelming flavour. Traditionally, women in the Camargue put finely grate dried bread into the sauce to thicken it. Boil for minutes, until tender.

When cooked, strain and keep the broth, remove the bones from the meat and shred it. Cover it with a damp cloth and wait for about an hour. Use a teaspoon to put the shredded meat in the middle of the dough squares. Then, turn over the four corners of the ravioli to cover the stuffing.

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Serve the ravioli with yoghurt and red pepper in butter. Mix well using a whisk, and add water slowly until you get a thick paste. Mix well to avoid lumps. Wet a large table spoon in a glass of water. Scoop up about tablespoons of dough per puff with the wet spoon, create a round shape and drop the dough balls into the hot oil in batches, wetting the spoon each time. Fry them in the hot oil until golden-brown. Place the lalagites on a platter and serve with honey and cinnamon.

By this time they should have slightly softened. When the syrup starts to thicken, add the figs, the glucose, the citric acid and the vanilla. Skim off the foam if necessary and let it boil until the syrup thickens more.

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Remove from heat, let it cool and place it in jars. Combine the sugar and water and stir the mixture constantly until the sugar begins to dissolve. Remove from heat. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. If the bottle is small, then fill it up with tsipouro. Let it clear and bottle. Tips and interesting facts If the liqueur is not sweet enough, pour it in a pan, add some more sugar and let it simmer for 15 minutes. If the liqueur is too strong, pour it in a pan, add some more water and let it simmer for 15 minutes. They stand out as hotspots of biodiversity.

Also, they provide immeasurable services to all living creatures. Yet, they remain amongst the most vulnerable and threatened ecosystems on this planet. With pressures ranging from habitat pollution, land use changes and water abstraction to urban development, tourism growth and climate change, in the longer term the first casualties will be the biodiversity they support and the livelihoods of humans who depend on it. Nevertheless, there are encouraging signs that humans have started to re-appreciate and take serious notice of wetlands at different levels, i.