The growing concern for life and habitat preservation in certain ecosystems leads to an increasing interest in getting deeper knowledge of various contexts. Moreover, when the problems come from what has been called climate change, concerns arise on specific subjects such as resource management, sustainability and effectiveness of the actions carried out there, etc.

For five years and twice a year, a series of multidisciplinary symposia have been held in Mexico. Those symposia intended to be a space and a forum for scientific and academic reflection on the arid zones, which encompasses almost half the length of this Latin American country. The first three editions were held in Ciudad Juárez (2015), Casas Grandes (2017) and Valle del Mezquital, municipality of Santiago Anaya (2019) and other countries participated such as Argentina, the United States, the France, Morocco or Spain.

The University of Granada has taken over the organization of the 2021 conference in the form of an international congress. Circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic forced the event to be postponed until spring of 2022, but that did not diminish the intensity of the clear intention to continue holding these international meetings.

The fact that this is the first time that it is celebrated in Europe resides in the need to create synergies that allow the exchange between those areas wich have desert or sub-deset contexts in their geographies, seeking to generate dynamics of exchange of scientific and academic reflections on arid zones. An interdisciplinary dialogue that transmits knowledge to society to generate essential development dynamics and diversify socio-economic structures, sometimes too stagnant and ill-suited to the cyclical crises that have affected us in recent decades.

The choice of the title as “Excavated Habitat and Cultural Landscape. International Colloquium Culture of the Deserts”, is justified by the need to respond to two of the most distinctive features of the province of Granada. On the one hand, the cave in its many facets, as housing, space for production, socialization, etc., and which further identifies a very concrete area of ​​its geography as the northern region; and on the other hand to the landscape of a territory which has been modeled both naturally and by the hand of man, giving rise to a perfectly interwoven synthesis and which has real recognition in the declaration as Geo-park of the territory where is concentrated one of the largest proportions of excavated sets in southern Europe. In addition, the figure of the Cultural Landscape is used by UNESCO as a standard bearer for a number of concepts that better explain the footprint of man on the territory in its multiple and diverse varieties and above all it is the space where forms of being in relation with the environment are projected, as a result of its assimilation and endowment of symbolic charge.

As an International Symposium on Desert Culture, we are committed to pursue an initiative from which we have a lot to learn and above all to which we can bring experiences and means of understanding our relationship with a space that participates in the essence of arid areas.

Aerial view of the Granada Geopark. Image property of the Provincial Tourist Office. Provincial Council of Granada.