Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Science and Policy

First Advisor

James Tan




deforestation, landscape, human activity, vegetation


This thesis examines the debate surrounding the possible deforestation of the ancient Mediterranean landscape through anthropogenic activities. Until the ancient Mediterranean landscape is understood more clearly, it is impossible to impose current beneficial land-use laws in order to conserve and preserve the future landscape of the region. Currently there are three predominant views surrounding the debate: (1) deforestation did occur and drastically altered the landscape from a forested region to a more desert-like region, (2) human activities did not cause deforestation, rather the Mediterranean has always been home to a distinct and resilient landscape that is able to regenerate following the cessation of these activities and (3) anthropogenic activities carried out in antiquity did not cause widespread deforestation due to the resilience of the vegetation however, areas that were exploited for a long period of time typically show signs of deforestation. Taking into account these three prominent theories, the different forms of evidence used to generate them are evaluated in an effort to determine the validity of the theories. As well as, individual case studies are presented to validate the ultimate conclusion drawn, that widespread deforestation did not occur in the ancient Mediterranean; rather heavy deforestation was rare and confined to small areas such as those that supplied goods to large city centers.