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Although the preservation of natural resource, especially at the end of 18th century, was emphasized considerably by naturalists in many countries of the world, the need to preserve and protect the environment was not at that time viewed as urgent as it is viewed today. In the period from the 1970s to late to the early Twenty-first Century, efforts to protect the environment on global scale have significantly increased (Yalınkılıç and Yenilmez Arpa, 2005). Indeed, the first serious and systematic steps to promote sustainable development and the conservation of natural resources on a global scale were taken in the 1970s. In more recent years, efforts to prevent pollution and to set specific consumption limits and benchmarks to preserve the environment have increased. These developments are represented by international summits like the European Union Summit in 1972, held in Paris. Additionally, the conference at Stockholm, held on 5 June 1972, with 113 countries attending, began to deal with broader environmental issues. These conferences had an important impact on international discussions of environmental problems from the end of the 1980s onwards (Cavuş and Tanrisevdi, 2000:151). In the Environment and Development Report with the title “Our Common Future”, which was prepared by the United Nations World Environment and Development Commission in 1987 (also known as Brundtlant Report), it was emphasized that the environmental issues had risen to such a level as to threaten the lives of all living things in global terms. Also, in the report, traditional approaches to development were criticized, and a “sustainable development” approach was proposed. The term “sustainable development”, which means making economic and social development continuous, without damaging the ecological structures of the natural surroundings, was considered, together with actions which could take place at a global level. This was the topic of the United Nations Environment and Development Conference, known also as the World Summit, held with the participation of the leaders of 116 countries, in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. In addition, the issue of sustainable development became the main theme of the Sustainable Development Conference of UNEDC, also named “Habitat II”, and held in İstanbul in 1996.
Natural Environment and Culture in the Mediterranean Region The Mediterranean Basin is located at the intersection of two major landmasses, Eurasia and Africa, which contributes to its cultural and high biodiversity. The greatest impacts have been deforestation, habitat fragmentation, intensive grazing and fires, and infrastructure development, especially on the coast, which have distinctly altered the landscape. In view of the valuable natural heritage there is a great need for weighing our ecological impact in order to achieve a balance between biodiversity conservation and human development and above all, how to maintain traditional rural livelihoods in a way that benefits biodiversity. This book synthesizes knowledge from many disciplines to throw some light on the unpredictability of forthcoming changes.