John T. Pierce

Current Research Project

Mount Ainos and its Changing Socio-Ecological System: Retrospect and Prospect

It has been just over 50 years since the creation of Mount Ainos National Park on the island of Cephalonia. The park itself and the potential identification of a specially managed periphery zone is an effort to preserve one of Greece’s, and for that matter the Mediterranean region’s, most important and valued ecological systems and biogenetic reserves.

In this project, John T. Pierce and his colleagues examine a number of questions relating to natural and human induced threats to the resilience of the ecosystem as well as the success and efficacy of previous protective efforts. Building upon this multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary evaluation, they offer possible changes, if not innovations, to the collective management of Ainos as a protected area and its environs, particularly the immediate periphery zone, within the context of an increasingly complex constellation of forces.

These forces include new and diverse stakeholders; government uncertainty (within a context of economic recession and increasing social tensions); emergent interests/rights; and evolving interpretations of the values of ecosystems that are quickly reshaping traditional ties among the social, ecological and management systems. At the same time, this new complexity is matched by new dynamics in vegetation and landscape responses which have their own unique challenges for understanding, management and long term sustainability.