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Abstract

Through traditional practices that typically impact the surrounding natural areas, rural communities worldwide have created and maintained landscapes forming a diverse mosaic of species-rich habitats. In Europe, where a high portion of species is dependent on the persistence of traditional rural landscapes, the progressive abandonment of agricultural activities has been often accompanied by a biodiversity decline, although the precise implications of landscape transformation for species and habitat conservation are not sufficiently well-known. This study applies ethnobiological and historical data collection methods (i.e., semi-structure interviews, participation in public meetings, literature review, and participant observation) to examine changes in traditional management practices and local perceptions of impacts on ecosystems diversity derived from the abandonment of traditional land uses in a mountain region in Spain that preserved a complex traditional farming system until the mid-20th century. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis and quantitative data analysis methods. Our results illustrate that traditional management practices, such as hay making, pastoralism of small ruminant livestock, lopping, prescribed burns, gathering of firewood, branch beating, or beekeeping, are locally perceived as favourable to habitat diversity. Our study also reveals that local perception of landscape changes in the area dovetails with scientific information, providing further understanding of the particular ecological implications of each underlying driver of land use change identified. We conclude that the combination of local and scientific knowledge on ecological dynamics can help in the development of effective regional conservation strategies based on management practices simultaneously favourable to biodiversity and economically profitable. Our study provides evidence that rural communities can be a valuable source of information to document landscape historical dynamics and to monitor environmental changes, which might be particularly relevant for landscape-orientated conservation policies aiming to prevent the biodiversity loss resulting from the abandonment of traditional land uses.

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... In many cases, we find a deep demographic desertification (Molina, 2002) in a landscape that had been shaped by more than 5000 years of human activities, first by the use of fire and later by grazing, agriculture and wood collection (Bauer, 2003;Blondel, 2006). In fact, the value of the Mediterranean cultural landscape as a hotspot of global biodiversity (Myers et al., 2000) is precisely the consequence of the integration between its natural heterogeneity and human processes developed over millennia (EFI, 2009;Guadilla-Sáez et al., 2019;Muñoz-Rojas et al., 2019;Otero, 2010). ...
... Deep knowledge of the Mediterranean forest evolution is essential for its future sustainable management, planning the use of resources and preventing the risks related to the vicious circle formed by the abandonment of agroforestry management and climate change (Guadilla-Sáez et al., 2019;Van Leeuwen et al., 2019). Regarding this, the disturbance regime should also be taken into account for any forecast on forest evolution. ...
Article
The second half of the 20th century has been characterised by the rural abandonment in several regions of the Mediterranean basin. The general collapse of traditional agriculture and livestock activities brought about an intensive migration movement from inland to coastal areas, which produced a massive forest cover increase in abandoned rural areas. This socioeconomic, spatial and environmental change has led to a situation unknown for centuries in the Mediterranean landscapes. As a consequence, large wildfires have increased enormously in importance in a society with a predominant urban vision over the rest of the territory. Indeed, public opinion considers wildfires as major natural disturbances related to climate change causing at the end deforestation, while its prerequisite, a substantial increase of forest cover due to rural collapse, is less known. This research aimed to deepen the knowledge about forest evolution and its implications after the land abandonment process that started in the second half of the 20th century. The substantive source of information was obtained from a photointerpretation by sampling, using five general land-cover and land-use types and four specific land-cover types over a period of 50 years (1957–2007) in the province of Castelló (Valencian Region, Spain). Results showed that the area dominated by dense forests (shrublands and woodlands) has increased from 17% to 28%, and the area dominated by their transitional land uses after farming abandonment has increased from 8% to 21%. Transition matrices enabled a precise identification of changes among dominant categories over the studied period. Random and systematic transitions between categories have been analysed and a map of forest evolution pathways could be drawn, in which a double alternative path was identified. In the general context of progressive evolution to dense forests in the Mediterranean region, we have also found different evolution rates which may depend on site conditions. Their specific soil and climatic factors should be further analysed in order to improve our understanding of future forest evolution in the Mediterranean region at a local scale. A robust knowledge of these processes will contribute to improve forest management and land-use planning while optimising resilience, carbon storage and the provision of environmental services.
... As a result of the application of management systems based on LEK, much of today's world's wild and domesticated biodiversity lies in areas traditionally owned, managed, used, and/or occupied by IPLC . In Europe, some of these managed ecosystems are local "hotspots" of native biodiversity, including mountain hay meadows in central Europe , dehesa oak and cereal tree savannahs in southern Spain (Acha and Newing 2015), temperate deciduous forest in northern Spain (Guadilla-Sáez et al. 2019), or high mountain meadows (borreguiles) in Sierra Nevada (Blanca et al. 2001). ...
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Understanding the effects ofClimateclimate changeClimate change and human activities on fragile mountain ecosystems is necessary to successfully managing these environments under future climateClimate scenarios (e.g., global warming, enhanced aridity). This can be done through the study of paleoecological records, which can provide long paleoenvironmental databases containing information on how ecosystems reacted toClimateclimate changeClimate change and human disturbances before the historical record. These studies can be particularly interesting when focusing on especially warm and/or dry past climatic phases. Biotic (pollen, charcoal) and abiotic (physical, geochemistry) analyses from wetland sediment records from the Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada, southern SpainSpainrecordSouthern spain changes in vegetation, fire historyHistory and lake sedimentation since ~11,700 years (cal yr BP). This multiproxy paleoecological study indicates that maxima in temperatureTemperature and humidity occurred in the area in the Early and Middle HoloceneHolocene, with a peak in precipitationPrecipitation between ~10,500 and 7000 cal yr BP. This is deduced by maxima in water runoff, the highest abundance of tree species and algae and high total organic carbon values recorded in the alpine wetland’s sedimentary records of the Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada during that time period. In the last 7000 cal yr BP, and especially after a transition period between ~7000 and 5000 cal yr BP, a progressive aridification process took place, indicated by the decrease in tree species and the increase in xerophytic herbs in this region and a reduction in water runoff evidenced by the decrease in detritic input in the wetland sedimentary records. An increasing trend inSaharan dustSaharan dust depositionSaharan dust deposition in the Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada wetlands is also recorded through inorganic geochemical proxies, probably due to a coetaneous loss of vegetation cover in North Africa. The process of progressive aridification during the Middle and Late HoloceneHolocene was interrupted by millennial-scale climatic oscillations and several periods of relative humid/droughty conditions and warm/cold periods have been identified in different temperatureTemperatureand/or precipitationPrecipitation proxies. Enhanced human impactHuman impact has been observed in the Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada in the last ~3000 cal yr BP through the increase in fires, grazing, cultivation, atmospheric pollution as well as reforestation by Pinus and the massive cultivation of Olea at lower altitudes.
... It has already been shown that a small-scale mosaic supports the co-occurrence of diversified communities of insects, specifically favoring the coexistence of light-demanding, ecotonal and shade-tolerant species [65]. Indeed, forest disturbances (e.g., natural disturbance such as fire, the activity of wild ungulates or human-induced disturbance such as traditional practices, in particular pastoralism of small ruminant livestock, lopping, prescribed burns, branch beating), when not too intensive, create and maintain forest canopy gaps that increase species richness, habitat quality and local diversity [66][67][68]. Moreover, those small clearings support a higher presence of taxa when subpopulations are connected and not isolated [69]. ...
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Megaprojects radically change the landscape due to their large-scale and high investments. Forests are often one of the most affected habitats, as they are frequently included in megaproject construction sites. These habitats support rich animal communities that the new settlement may threaten. Among all species present in any construction site, those listed in the Habitats Directive (92/43/CEE) deserve particular attention as they are protected throughout Europe. Here, we present a case study related to the expansion of an industrial site, part of the megaproject Turin–Lyon high-speed railway, where forest compensations were used to reverse biodiversity loss. The site expansion scheduled for 2020 included mature forests and clearings that used to host a butterfly species and at least 15 bat species protected by the Habitats Directive and other taxa of conservation concern. Forest compensations are usually used to finance tree plantations and forest improvements. In this case study, for the first time, we used them to maintain local biodiversity, which otherwise would have been severely compromised by the site expansion. Indeed, our approach has made it possible to allocate forest compensation funding to restore or improve habitats to favor biodiversity. This approach may be exported to other megaprojects to support local biodiversity.
... Finally, the traditional management of meadows (i.e. mowing for haymaking once or twice per year plus light grazing) is relatively well preserved in these three regions compared with their European context (Prince et al., 2012;Guadilla-Sáez et al., 2019). ...
Article
Background and Aims European mesic meadows are semi-natural open habitats of high biodiversity and an essential part of European landscapes. These species-rich communities can be a source of seed mixes for ecological restoration, urban greening and rewilding. However, limited knowledge of species germination traits is a bottleneck to the development of a competitive native seed industry. Here, we synthesize the seed ecology of mesic meadows. Methods We combined our own experimental data with data obtained from databases to create a combined dataset containing 2,005 germination records of 90 plant species from 31 European countries. We performed a Bayesian meta-analysis of this dataset to test the seed germination response to environmental cues including scarification, stratification, temperature, alternating temperature and light. We also used multivariate ordination to check the relationship between seed traits (germination and morphology) and species ecological preferences, and to compare the seed ecology of mesic meadows with that of other herbaceous plant communities from the same area. Key Results The seed ecology of mesic meadows is characterized by (1) high seed germinability when compared to other herbaceous plant communities; (2) low correspondence between seed traits and species ecological preferences; and (3) a deep phylogenetic separation between the two major families, Poaceae and Fabaceae. Poaceae produce many light seeds which respond to gap-detecting germination cues (alternating temperatures and light); Fabaceae produce fewer heavy seeds, which need scarification to break their physical dormancy. Conclusions High germinability of meadow seeds will reduce their capacity to form persistent seed banks, resulting in dispersal limitations to passive regeneration. For centuries, human activities have shaped the regeneration of meadows, leading to a loss of seed dormancy and decoupling seeds from seasonal cycles, as has been found in many domesticated species. The same anthropic processes that have shaped semi-natural mesic meadows have left them dependent on continued human intervention for their regeneration, highlighting the importance of active restoration via seed supply.
... En lugar de ello, el creciente corpus de información disponible subraya la necesidad de reconsiderar los paisajes de montaña como el resultado de largas interacciones entre el medio ambiente y las sociedades locales, en concordancia con lo que se ha venido subrayando también desde otras disciplinas como la antropología o la ecología (p.ej. Reyes- García & Martí-Sanz, 2007;Molina et al., 2009;Calvet-Mir et al., 2012;Reyes-García et al., 2014;Hernández-Morcillo et al., 2015;Guadilla-Sáez et al., 2019;. La huella material de estas interacciones se traduce en la activación de los recursos agro-silvo-pastorales mediante la puesta en marcha de determinadas prácticas sociales, y por tanto en una presión selectiva tanto sobre el medio como sobre las poblaciones bióticas presentes en el mismo. ...
Article
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Mountain landscapes reflect past interactions between social groups and their environment, materialised in the space by the activation of environmental resources with a variety of social practices. This paper proposes the development of a multi-proxy archaeological survey methodology, based on the combined analysis of the landcovers and manufacts present in the landscape, with the purpose of reconstructing the social, economic and ecological history that lies beneath its present-day layout, taking as a case study the mountains of Aiako Harria (Oiartzun, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country). The oldest practices documented are wooded pastures, present in the area since the Middle Ages in the framework of diversified silvo-pastoral resource management systems. During the Modern period, the expansion of agrarian lands gave origin to new dispersed settlements, often constructed on previous wooded pastures. In contrast, the 19th-20th centuries are marked by the expansion of industry-oriented forest plantations, which are still nowadays the most common landcover. Despite their progressive marginalisation, these spaces therefore appear as historically built features reflecting complex interactions between societies and their environment, in contrast with the purely naturalistic optic that is widespread in the regulation and management of these spaces nowadays.
... Rural depopulation, low people dedicated to the primary sector and, in the last fifty years, farm modernisation via intensification, replicating lowland breeding schemes, has led to the abandonment of many mountain grasslands. Extensive ranging has been partially replaced by intensified productive systems, which entail larger periods of livestock housing and feeding with fodder and concentrates (García-Ruiz et al., 2015;Guadilla-Sáez et al., 2019;Lasanta et al., 2015;Petz et al., 2014). The decline of grazing in grasslands has resulted in rapid vegetation succession, revealed by pine afforestation (Pinus uncinata, Pinus sylvestris) and shrub encroachment (Buxus sempervirens, Genista scorpius, Ulex europaeus and Juniperus communis, among others) (Gartzia et al., 2014;Komac et al., 2013). ...
Article
Mountain ecosystems face many challenges related to global change. Most high-altitude grasslands in the Pyre-nees, despite representing valuable assets recognised in the European conservation heritage, are at risk due to the decline of traditional extensive ranging. This research intends to quantify economically the loss of the provision-ing service of high-quality food for livestock of an upland area on the western side of the range. The area is experiencing degradation due to the expansion of the native tall-grass Brachypodium rupestre, favoured by disruption of traditional grazing and anthropogenic fire regimes. We implement the substitution economic approach and use floristic and husbandry data to determine that the loss of food rations for livestock results in an unitary cost of 107 €.ha −1 .year −1 , amounting to 21,146 € for the whole degraded area, according to the most conservative estimate. The study also finds evidence that the decline in grassland value is closely associated with the digestibility to herbivores of B. rupestre during the growing season. This approach may be an effective tool to raise awareness of the problem among local and regional stakeholders and encourage further environmental actions to prevent the degradation.
... In the past decades, local environmental knowledge (LEK) of mountain communities has increasingly been at the centre of important field researches and public debates as it is nowadays widely considered a precious resource for sustainable development [1][2][3][4][5][6]. The value of LEK, however, has often been perceived in opposition to modernity which draws from the peripherality of the communities and their distance from cities, the main perceived catalyst centres of "modernity". ...
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Background: Mountain environments are fragile socio-ecological systems and the conservation of their biological and cultural diversities- seen as co-evolving, strongly intertwined entities-represents a crucial issue for fostering their sustainability. Very few ethnobiological studies have assessed in the mountainous regions of Europe how local botanical knowledge, which represents a vital portion of the local environmental knowledge (LEK), changes over time, although this may be quintessential for a better understanding of the factors influencing how knowledge and practices are shaped, eroded, or even re-created. Methods: In the current study, we compared the gathering and use of local medicinal plants in the Upper Sangone Valley, Western Italian Alps, Piedmont (NW Italy) as described in a field study conducted in the mid-seventies and published in 1977 and those arising from field research that we conducted in the spring of 2015 and 2018, during which time ethnobotanical and ethnomycological information concerning both folk medicinal and wild food uses was obtained via 47 in-depth open and semi-structured interviews with community members. Results: In total, one hundred thirty folk taxa represent the past and present medicinal and wild food plant/mushroom heritage of the Sangone Valley: 26 herbal taxa were recorded 40 years ago only; 68 herbal and wild food taxa have been recorded in the current study only; and 36 herbal taxa have been continuously used during the last 40 years. There were no remarkable quantitative differences between the two diachronic medico-ethnobotanical datasets, but the qualitative differences were substantial. The gathering and use of some medicinal plants growing in meadows, forests and higher mountain environments (i.e. Arctostaphylos, Filipendula, Hepatica, Larix, Laserptium, Picea, Polygonatum, Primula, Tussilago and Veronica spp.) disappeared, whereas the collection of plant genera growing in more anthropogenic environments or possibly promoted via popular books and media has been newly introduced (i.e. Aloysia, Apium, Brassica, Crataegus, Epilobium, Fumaria, Geranium, Juniperus, Melissa, Rubus, Rumex, Sedum, Silybum, Taraxacum and Vaccinium spp.). Conclusion: The findings show a renegotiation of the situativity that for centuries forged the embeddedness of local communities in their natural environments, probably heavily informed in the past by prevalent pastoralist and forest-centred activities and thus by a deeper knowledge of higher mountain and forest environments. The re-arrangement of a more domestic and more "globalized" herbal knowledge system was possibly inspired by new urban residents, who started to populate the valley at the end of the Seventies, when the original inhabitants abandoned their homes for the urban centres of the Piedmontese plain. The current study suggests that future directions of ethnobiological research should more carefully look at the adaptive capacity of LEK systems.
... Management actions that could prove beneficial to increase suitable habitat between localities include, for example, the maintenance of extensive livestock farming because livestock maintain open spaces where prey diversity is highest (Garc ıa-Tejero et al., 2013) and limit forest expansion and landscape homogenization (Lasanta et al., 2016;Guadilla-S aez, Pardo-de-Santayana, & Reyes-Garc ıa, 2019). Also, the maintenance of other frequent low-intensity disturbances in the landscape is also a key to maintain bluethroat habitat: experimental treatments in mountain areas in the north of the Iberian Peninsula showed that shrubland communities recover their original state 9 years after burning and clearing, with trees starting to encroach shrublands 15 years after the disturbances (Calvo, T arrega & de Luis, 2002). ...
Article
Numerous studies have highlighted a major role of isolation by both geographic distance and current landscape resistance in controlling bird population genetic differentiation. However, the importance of past landscape features or landscape temporal stability in shaping population genetic structure remains undervalued, particularly in birds. We assessed the role of isolation by landscape resistance – derived from current landscape attributes and measures of landscape stability –, in comparison to geographic isolation, as drivers of genetic differentiation of the Iberian bluethroat (Luscinia svecica azuricollis), a migratory bird whose populations breed in fragmented and dynamic landscapes affected by land use change. First, we characterized bluethroat genetic structure using microsatellite genotypes and evaluated genetic distances. Then, we built species distribution models using as a predictor a time series (two decades) of values of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index as proxies of recent past landscape stability and current landscape features to ultimately generate landscape resistance values through different functions. Finally, we used maximum‐likelihood population effects models to evaluate the relationships between genetic distances and both geographic and landscape resistance distances. We found a genetic structure of four clusters in the Iberian bluethroats populations, as well as a high level of genetic differentiation. Genetic structure was better associated with landscape resistance, rather than with geographic distance. The highest values of habitat suitability corresponded to areas where vegetation remained mostly stable during the two decades prior to bird surveys, with low annual precipitation and spring temperature, being the relationship between gene flow and presence of intervenient habitat among populations linear or quasi‐linear. Our results suggest that conservation policies and land management practices that promote the maintenance of semi‐open pasture‐shrub mosaics (e.g. through extensive livestock grazing) can strongly benefit Iberian bluethroat populations, improving gene flow and population connectivity. The importance of past landscape features or landscape temporal stability in shaping population genetic structure remains undervalued, particularly in birds. We found a genetic structure of four clusters in the Iberian bluethroats populations, as well as a high level of genetic differentiation. Genetic structure was better associated with landscape resistance, rather than with geographic distance. Our results suggest that conservation policies and land management practices that promote the maintenance of semi‐open pasture‐shrub mosaics (e.g. through extensive livestock grazing) can strongly benefit Iberian bluethroat populations, improving gene flow and population connectivity.
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Local ecological knowledge systems have been the basis of Sierra Nevada’sSierra Nevadasocial-ecological systemSocial-ecological system, which has co-evolved over more than ten centuries until nowadays, based on the knowledge, practices, and innovations deriving from the relationship between people and the ecosystems on which they depend. In Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada, this co-evolution is greatly influenced by the traditional water managementTraditional water management system, generating a “cultural landscapeCultural landscape.” However, during the twentieth-century Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada’s social-ecological systemSocial-ecological system was affected by diverse drivers of changeDrivers of change such as climateClimatechangeClimate change, rural exodus, land-use change, and conservationConservation government policies, which are threatening its stability and the transmission of the related local ecological knowledge. Local ecological knowledge on water management, traditional agricultural systems, and knowledge related to grazing and cattle raising should be included in the co-managementAdaptive co-management of the territory and representatives of this knowledge should be involved and collaborate with administration and researchers developing adaptive plants to reduce negative impacts of global changeGlobal change.
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In recent decades, many mountain areas of the Mediterranean countries show spontaneous reforestation or densification due to depopulation and the consequent abandonment of traditional agricultural and pastoral activities, leading to the loss of open habitats. In this paper, dynamics of natural and semi-natural areas in the summit areas of the Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise National Park are investigated, highlighting changes that occurred from 1954 to present days. Historic Land cover maps have been produced by photo interpretation. A quantitative description of changes and habitats loss in relation to the socio-economic changes is provided. As expected, a forest surface expansion and an open areas decrease are observed similarly to many marginal mountains, where land abandonment and general forest/shrub recovery are the inevitable tendencies. An intense debate is still ongoing regarding the opportunity of rewilding, allowing the natural reforestation processes, versus the management of some areas, in order to preserve habitats and cultural traditional landscapes. For the EU biodiversity conservation policy to be effective, proper planning and management of interventions as well as public support and funding, become crucial when traditional activities are no longer profitable and viable for local inhabitants.
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Over millennia, the combination of controlled burnings and extensive grazing has maintained mosaic landscapes and preserved mountain grasslands in southern Europe. In the last century, deep socio-economic changes have led to an abandonment of traditional uses, to a general decline of the domestic herbivory and to a misuse of burning practices. This study aims to quantify how the decoupling of burning and grazing regimes affects in the long-term the structure, diversity and dynamics of high-mountain, shrub-encroached grasslands. In spring 2012, four treatments (burned-grazed, burned-ungrazed, unburned-grazed and unburned-ungrazed) were set up at three sites in the Special Area of Conservation Roncesvalles-Selva de Irati, in southwest Pyrenees. During seven years, we monitored floristic composition and the height of the native tall-grass Brachypodium rupestre in four plots at each site. In the burned plots, we surveyed the resprout of the dominant shrub Ulex gallii and the dynamics of recovering of the herbaceous vegetation. Plant communities evolved differently in grazed and ungrazed plots. Extensive grazing, despite being lower than in previous decades, maintained plant diversity and limited shrub encroachment. The total absence of grazing fostered the encroachment of U. gallii at two sites and the expansion of B. rupestre at the other site. When B. rupestre cover was greater than 60%, the encroachment of U. gallii was reduced. This research highlights the competition that occurs between shrubs and tall-grasses in the absence of grazing, and the modulating effect exerted by the burnings and the site-specific features. Understanding local plant dynamics is the first step to design the most appropriate practices that help to preserve diversity at the landscape and the community level in high-mountain grasslands of south Europe.
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Local people surroundings Jor Bay in Lombok, Indonesia, have an established knowledge system, which role an important factor that determines the success of bay management. Knowledge, attitudes, and management practices by the community significantly affect the effectiveness of Jor Bay management. The study aims to identify knowledge systems and community management practices in conserving marine resources of Jor Bay which are related to the effectiveness of management of the bay, as well as identifying factors that influence KAP in the management of Jor Bay. This study uses a mix-approach both quantitative and qualitative, with statistical tests. Data collected using a questionnaire. The study found that there were gaps between community knowledge, attitudes, and practices. Community knowledge and attitudes aspects are in the medium category, while community practices are low. Socio-economic factors, which are education, age, and occupation, were affected by KAP status. The community knowledge system is a significant factor that influencing succeeds the bay management. In Jor Bay, fishers are the most active bay users and closest to bay resources; paradoxically, the fisher has the lowest KAP level than other occupations. An adaptive management change in socio-economic, cultural, and knowledge system-based strategy is needed to improve Jor Bay conservation and management.
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Abandonment of traditional farming practices, such as hay-making and pasturing, has resulted in rapid loss of open wet grassland habitats in Europe. The globally threatened Aquatic Warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola L.) is a bird species that occurs almost exclusively in open fen mires, which have virtually disappeared in Western Europe, but still persist locally in Eastern Europe. Focusing on the world’s most important breeding site for Aquatic Warbler, the Zvaniec fen mire in Belarus, we estimated Belarusian citizens’ willingness-to-pay for adequate conservation management of this fen mire and its focal species the Aquatic Warbler. Results from a discrete choice experiment indicated that Belarusian citizens were willing to pay for appropriate conservation programmes of the Zvaniec fen mire. Scything and mechanical mowing were preferred compared to controlled burning, and especially over herbicide treatment of encroaching shrubs. Conservation management was preferred over legal protection of wetland areas without management. Respondents considered such passive conservation to be insufficient to maintain open fen mire habitat and gave a higher priority to active conservation management programmes. These preferences are consistent with evidence-based knowledge about what is effective conservation management for the Aquatic Warbler. Given the gradual disappearance of Europe’s traditional cultural landscapes, we discuss the challenge to fund the maintenance of this biocultural biodiversity legacy.
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Wood bioenergy may decrease the reliance on fossil carbon and mitigate anticipated increases in temperature. However, increased use of wood bioenergy may have large impacts on forest biodiversity primarily through the loss of dead wood habitats. We evaluated both the large-scale and long-term effects of different bioenergy extraction scenarios on the availability of dead wood and the suitability of the resulting habitat for saproxylic species, using a spatially explicit forest landscape simulation framework applied in the Swedish boreal forest. We demonstrate that bioenergy extraction scenarios, differing in the level of removal of biomass, can have significant effects on dead wood volumes. Although all of the scenarios led to decreasing levels of dead wood, the scenario aimed at species conservation led to highest volumes of dead wood (about 10 m3 ha−1) and highest connectivity of dead wood patches (mean proximity index of 78), whilst the scenario aimed at reaching zero fossil fuel targets led to the lowest levels (about 8 m3 ha−1) and least connectivity (mean proximity index of 7). Our simulations stress that further exploitation of dead wood from sites where volumes are already below suggested habitat thresholds for saproxylic species will very likely have further negative effects on dead wood dependent species.
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Understanding the scale, location and nature conservation values of the lands over which Indigenous Peoples exercise traditional rights is central to implementation of several global conservation and climate agreements. However, spatial information on Indigenous lands has never been aggregated globally. Here, using publicly available geospatial resources, we show that Indigenous Peoples manage or have tenure rights over at least ~38 million km2 in 87 countries or politically distinct areas on all inhabited continents. This represents over a quarter of the world’s land surface, and intersects about 40% of all terrestrial protected areas and ecologically intact landscapes (for example, boreal and tropical primary forests, savannas and marshes). Our results add to growing evidence that recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ rights to land, benefit sharing and institutions is essential to meeting local and global conservation goals. The geospatial analysis presented here indicates that collaborative partnerships involving conservation practitioners, Indigenous Peoples and governments would yield significant benefits for conservation of ecologically valuable landscapes, ecosystems and genes for future generations.
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Background Ethnographic research can help to establish dialog between conservationists and local people in reintroduction areas. Considering that predator reintroductions may cause local resistance, we assessed attitudes of different key actor profiles to the return of the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) to Portugal before reintroduction started in 2015. We aimed to characterize a social context from an ethnoecological perspective, including factors such as local knowledge, perceptions, emotions, and opinions. Methods We conducted semi-structured interviews (n = 131) in three different protected areas and observed practices and public meetings in order to describe reintroduction contestation, emotional involvement with the species, and local perceptions about conservation. Detailed content data analysis was undertaken and an open-ended codification of citations was performed with the support of ATLAS.ti. Besides the qualitative analyses, we further explored statistic associations between knowledge and opinions and compared different geographical areas and hunters with non-hunters among key actors. ResultsLocal ecological knowledge encompassed the lynx but was not shared by the whole community. Both similarities and differences between local and scientific knowledge about the lynx were found. The discrepancies with scientific findings were not necessarily a predictor of negative attitudes towards reintroduction. Contestation issues around reintroduction differ between geographical areas but did not hinder an emotional attachment to the species and its identification as a territory emblem. Among local voices, financial compensation was significantly associated to hunters and nature tourism was cited the most frequent advantage of lynx presence. Materialistic discourses existed in parallel with non-economic factors and the existence of moral agreement with its protection.The considerable criticism and reference to restrictions by local actors concerning protected areas and conservation projects indicated the experience of an imposed model of nature conservation. Opinions about participation in the reintroduction process highlighted the need for a closer dialog between all actors and administration. Conclusions Local voices analyzed through an ethnoecological perspective provide several views on reintroduction and nature conservation. They follow two main global trends of environmental discourse: (1) nature becomes a commodified object to exploit while contestation about wildlife is centered on financial return and (2) emblematic wild species create an emotional attachment, become symbolic, and gather moral agreement for nature protection.Lynx reintroduction has been not only just a nature protection theme but also a negotiation process with administration. Western rural communities are not the “noble savages” and nature protectors as are other traditional groups, and actors tend to claim for benefits in a situation of reintroduction. Both parties comprehend a similar version of appropriated nature.Understanding complexity and diverse interests in local communities are useful in not oversimplifying local positions towards predator conservation. We recommend that professional conservation teams rethink their image among local populations and increase proximity with different types of key actors.
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Land use and spatial patterns which reflect social-ecological legacies control ecosystem service (ES) supply. Yet, temporal changes in ES bundles associated with land use change are little studied. We developed original metrics to quantify synchronous historical variations in spatial patterns of land use and ES supply capacity, and demonstrated their use for two mountain grassland landscapes. Consistent with other European mountains, land use dynamics from the nineteenth century until the mid-twentieth century resulted in increased landscape heterogeneity, followed by homogenisation. In the persistently grassy landscape of Lautaret in France, landscape multifunctionality—the provision of multiple ES—coincided with greatest landscape heterogeneity and within-patch diversity in ecosystem services in the 1950–1970s. In the more complex Austrian landscape, where since the nineteenth century intensive production has concentrated in the valley and steep slopes have been abandoned, grassland landscape-level multifunctionality and spatial heterogeneity across grasslands have decreased. Increasing spatial heterogeneity across grasslands until the 1970s was paralleled at both sites by increasing fine-grained spatial variability for individual ES, but subsequent landscape simplification has promoted coarse-grained ES patterns This novel analysis of landscape-scale turnover highlighted how spatial patterns for individual ES scale to multiple grassland ES, depending on the nature of land use spatial variability. Under current socio-economic trends, sustaining or re-establishing fine-grained landscapes is often not feasible, thus future landscape planning and policies might focus on managing landscape and regional-scale multifunctionality. Also, the trends towards decreasing cultural ES and increasing regulating ES suggest a contradiction with current social demand and regional policies.
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Esta comunicación proporciona una visión histórica de la importancia de las prácticas tradicionales en montes comunales españoles. Desde la Edad Media hasta principios del s. XIX, el papel clave de los recursos forestales en las economías de subsistencia de la mayoría de comunidades campesinas favoreció el desarrollo de técnicas dirigidas a preservar el monte y fomentar su aprovechamiento múltiple. Pese a que en algunas ocasiones dichas prácticas se hayan considerado obsoletas, la literatura científica actual considera algunas de ellas –e.g., trasmochar– como beneficiosas para el mantenimiento de la biodiversidad. La llegada de las políticas liberales del s. XIX supuso que la gestión de la mayoría de los montes de los pueblos se transfiriese al Estado. Con fines conservacionistas, numerosos usos tradicionales considerados incompatibles con el mantenimiento de la cubierta forestal, como la saca de madera o el pastoreo, fueron restringidos. Sin embargo, estudios recientes sugieren que aunque el abandono de las prácticas tradicionales haya favorecido la extensión de la cubierta arbórea, la homogeneización del paisaje forestal ha tenido consecuencias negativas para la conservación de especies. Por ello, esta comunicación describe prácticas tradicionales que favorecen la presencia de mosaicos de hábitats y cuyo progresivo abandono resultó en la pérdida de biodiversidad.
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Unplanned selective logging for charcoal and firewood is a common practice in tropical montane cloud forest (TMCF), a high priority ecosystem for biodiversity conservation at the global scale. However, limited information is available regarding the impact of such logging on forest regeneration. We evaluated the abundance and composition of tree regeneration in four TMCF sites subject to traditional selective logging in southern Mexico. At each site, we calculated a tree extraction index based on the number of stumps, logs and charcoal kilns and established six 200 m 2 plots where the abundance of adult, sapling and seedling trees were recorded and canopy cover estimated. Based on the extraction index and estimated basal area values, two sites each were classified as being of low (L) and high (H) logging intensity; the extraction index was three times lower in L (7.5 and 9.2) than in H (35 and 35) sites, while basal area was significantly higher in L than in H sites (80.2 ± 10.2 vs. 41.9 ± 4.96 m 2 ha-1 , respectively). No significant differences were found among sites in terms of canopy cover, diameter and density of adult trees or in the density of saplings and seedlings (0.72 individuals m-2). In all sites, species of intermediate shade-tolerance dominated the regeneration (76%), followed by the shade-tolerant (23%) and pioneer (1%) species. Regeneration of Quercus spp. (four species) dominated at all sites (50.5%); this is a group of particular interest to the local communities because of its utility for firewood and charcoal. The similarity in composition between adult and regenerating tree species was relatively high in all of the sites (Morisita-Horn Index L1=0.86, L2=0.64, H1=0.69 and H2=0.71). These results indicate that, under the evaluated selective logging intensities, TMCF can sustain sufficient regeneration of Quercus spp. and thus presents an opportunity for sustainable management. The legacy effects of traditional selective logging on TMCF tree regeneration are discussed.
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The mutual dependence of extensive land-use and conservation management has become apparent in Europe in the last 20–30 yr. Extensive land-use often survives in protected areas only, in the form of conservation management. Knowledge of extensive herding and that of conservation management are parts of two knowledge systems (traditional and scientific) which often leads to conflicts between locals and conservationists. We studied two herding/conservation systems (salt steppes and wood-pastures), and developed an inventory on the common/similar and conflicting/different objectives and pasture management practices of herders and conservationists. Data were collected by participatory knowledge co-production in teamwork of the co-authors (herders, conservation managers, and scientists). Data were analyzed and discussed in teamwork too. Herders and conservationists identified 23 objectives and 29 management practices. We found a number of common interests with respect to herding, the ideal state of pastures, legal provisions, and communication. Conflict resolution recommendations (e.g., on time and place of grazing, pasture improvements) were also developed. We argue that by co-production of knowledge, and establishment of a herder “school” the mitigation of the existing conflicts would be more effective. Our conclusion is that a new profession is needed: that of the conservation herder. The conservation herder shall be an individual knowledgeable about herding and pasture management, trained in conservation and ecology, able to design management experiments, and develop novel but tradition-based management practices. As such, he/she could facilitate adaptation of extensive herding in the changing socio-economic environment.
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Agro-pastoral decline in European mountain areas has recently caused changes to traditional landscapes with negative consequences on semi-natural grassland conservation and the associated biodiversity and ecosystem services. In the Italian Alps, grassland patches enclosed in a forest matrix are progressively disappearing. Two alpine valleys (Pesio and Pejo), having similar land-use history, were chosen as representative of management conditions of western and eastern Italian Alps, respectively. This study aims at interpreting the effect of abandonment on grassland patch plant diversity, considering land cover changes of the last 60 years, and assessing the role of ecological, topographic, management and landscape configuration on current grassland species richness. The total area of grassland patches has declined by 54 and 91 % at Pesio and at Pejo, respectively. Actual grassland patch species richness was mostly influenced by ecological factors, such as quantity of light, soil moisture and reaction, then by topographic features, especially slope, and finally by management intensity. Landscape factors exerted a slightly significant effect on plant diversity. In the two valleys, differences on management practices were detected. Even though in the western valley the conservation of several grazing activities contributed to slow down the process of patch reduction, many species-rich grasslands were generally under-grazed. Conversely, in the eastern valley, despite a denser road network, the stronger decline of grassland patch extension was linked to the hay making decline. At the same time, overuse of grassland patches near farms reduced plant species richness. As a conclusion, plant species richness was weakly related to the area of grassland patches and current and historical landscape configuration were of relatively lower importance than ecological, topographic and management factors, when evaluated at patch-level.
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Nagaland dwellings plentiful bee flora is as a natural endowment. Indigenous techniques, equipments and traditional beekeeping knowledge are goldsmith due to simplicity and low cost input, shows great promise to visionaries for their envisage. The suitable agro-climate, plenty bee flora and immemorial practice with rich traditional knowledge offers enormous potential for development and success of apiculture in this state. The outfit survey accomplished in six districts of Nagaland revealed that 26% beekeepers were rearing both species (Apis cerana and Tetragonula iridipennis) and rest only A. cerana. The 74.67% peasantry indulged in apiculture and average number of beehive/ beekeeper was 3.78 where as highest beehive/ beekeeper was observed in Kohima. The 65.33% beekeepers were interested to rear in indigenous box and 34.67% beekeepers were interested to scientific beehive. A keywords: majority of beekeepers responded, the wax moth attack is higher in scientific box, while literate new generation, and trend beekeepers were interested with scientific beehive. The Naga tribes know different indigenous methods of colony capture, different types of traditional bee hives and indigenous methods of pest management. Simultaneously gruesome traditional honey harvesting method and jhoom cultivation direct threaten to bees which require scientific intervention for conservation to A. cerana. Honey bee role as a pollinator to enhance the crop productivity and conserve the plant biodiversity are more valuable than bee hive products.
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Conducting Research in Conservation is the first textbook on social science research methods written specifically for use in the expanding and increasingly multidisciplinary field of environmental conservation. The first section on planning a research project includes chapters on the need for social science research in conservation, defining a research topic, methodology, and sampling. Section two focuses on practical issues in carrying out fieldwork with local communities, from fieldwork preparation and data collection to the relationships between the researcher and the study community. Section three provides an in-depth focus on a range of social science methods including standard qualitative and quantitative methods such as participant observation, interviewing and questionnaires, and more advanced methods, such as ethnobiological methods for documenting local environmental knowledge and change, and participatory methods such as the 'PRA' toolbox. Section four then demonstrates how to analyze social science data qualitatively and quantitatively; and the final section outlines the writing-up process and what should happen after the end of the formal research project. This book is a comprehensive and accessible guide to social science research methods for students of conservation related subjects and practitioners trained in the natural sciences. It features practical worldwide examples of conservation-related research in different ecosystems such as forests; grasslands; marine and riverine systems; and farmland. Boxes provide definitions of key terms, practical tips, and brief narratives from students and practitioners describe the practical issues that they have faced in the field. © 2011 Helen Newing, C.M. Eagle, R.K. Puri and C.W. Watson. All rights reserved.
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Urban Ethnobotany studies, among other issues, the botanical knowledge characteristic of those pluricultural contexts that are the urban agglomerations. The botanical knowledge and beliefs guide the strategies of selection and consumption of plants, parts thereof, and plant products. The development of a research in the conurbation Buenos Aires-La Plata (Argentina) enables the characterization of the urban botanical knowledge as a dynamic and complex corpus which includes nontraditional elements and others linked to local family traditions as well as to traditions concerning different groups of immigrants. From this starting point, this chapter includes some theoretical refl ections and innovative methodological tools to understand the composition and dynamic of urban botanical knowledge, based on the evaluation of the diversity of plant elements present in the studied area and their circulation. This is performed both in the restricted context of immigrant groups (Bolivian, Chinese) and the general commercial circuit.
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High biocultural diversity is often found in landscapes where farming practices have preserved diverse habitats and many ‘traditional’ cultural features. We assessed what impacts conservation and agri-environmental regulations had and have on the maintenance of some elements in traditional hay meadow management in two such cultural landscapes (Gyimes—Romania; Őrség—Hungary). Data were gathered by interviews with local farmers and conservation scientists, discussed with farmers. We found that extensive farming was not given adequate weight and explicit function in the regulatory frameworks either in the landscape where traditional farming is still actively practiced, or where it has mostly vanished and/or was transformed. Of the 25 traditional management elements documented in Gyimes, regulations affected seven components directly, and one more indirectly. Four of these impacts were negative and four were positive. Of the 20 traditional management elements in Őrség, 11 elements were regulated, and five more were affected indirectly. Only two elements were affected positively. Our data show that for a more efficient support of traditional farming, more traditional elements must be encouraged, e.g. hayseed scattering, mowing with small machinery, manual cleaning of weeds and shrubs, manual hay gathering and extensive manuring. The role of increasing the spatial scale of regulations, considering the whole socio-ecological system and the need for region-specific regulations are discussed. We argue that in those landscapes where traditional small-scale farming is still actively practiced, decision-makers should understand local management practices and concepts first, instead of imposing requirements on farmers that are alien to the local landscape and society.
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Background: Traditional apiculture has been practised in Ethiopia over a long historical period and still remains a benign means to extract direct benefits from natural ecosystems. While its contribution to economic development and watershed protection is increasingly recognized its cultural significance is however, seldom noticed. This study was conducted using an ethnobotanical study approach to document the honey bee flora and associated indigenous knowledge of local communities in Borena Sayint National Park (BSNP), north eastern Ethiopia. Methods: Data were collected from 170 informants through semi-structured interviews and guided field walks, focus group discussion with 37 informants and 14 key informants and analyzed using standard analytical tools including ranking, comparisons and multivariate analyses. Results: In total, 152 bee forage species in 133 genera and 74 families were documented. The Asteraceae and Rosaceae were represented with six species each over the other plant families. Percentage of mentions per species ranged between 76.9 and 13.5 % for the most salient bee forage species. Dombeya torrida, Erica arborea, and Olinia rochetiana captured high community consensus as measured by rank order of popularity and designated as local appellation names of honey. Cluster analysis of priority ranking data showed relationships between key informants with respect to preferences, but ordination analysis did not indicate environmental proximity as a determinant of their responses. Five honey harvesting seasons occur each corresponding to the floral calendar of a dominant bee forage species that stipulate relocation of hives to appropriate locations within the national park. Conclusion: The apicultural tradition is iconic with economic value and forming part of the local peoples' cultural identity apt to be preserved as a bequest for posterity.
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Human beings have used fire as an ecosystem management tool for thousands of years. In the context of the scientific and policy debate surrounding potential climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, the importance of the impact of relatively recent state fire-exclusion policies on fire regimes has been debated. To provide empirical evidence to this ongoing debate we examine the impacts of state fire-exclusion policies in the chestnut forest ecosystems of two geographically neighbouring municipalities in central Spain, Casillas and Rozas de Puerto Real. Extending the concept of ‘Traditional Ecological Knowledge’ to include the use of fire as a management tool as ‘Traditional Fire Knowledge’ (TFK), we take a mixed-methods and interdisciplinary approach to argue that currently observed differences between the municipalities are useful for considering the characteristics of “pre-industrial anthropogenic fire regimes” and their impact on chestnut forest ecosystems. We do this by examining how responses from interviews and questionnaire surveys of local inhabitants about TFK in the past and present correspond to the current biophysical landscape state and recent fire activity (based on data from dendrochronological analysis, aerial photography and official fire statistics). We then discuss the broader implications of TFK decline for future fire management policies across Europe particularly in light of the published results of the EU sponsored Fire Paradox research project. In locations where TFK-based “pre-industrial anthropogenic fire regimes” still exist, ecosystem management strategies for adaptation and mitigation to climate change could be conceivably implemented at a minimal economic and political cost to the state by local communities that have both the TFK and the adequate social, economic and cultural incentives to use it.
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A B S T R A C T Past the middle of the 20th century, forest fires started to increase markedly in the Mediterranean countries of southern Europe. Hazardous land-use and land-cover (LULC) changes are considered major drivers of increased fire-hazard and fire risk. However, the contribution of various LULC changes to increased fire-hazard, as well as the role of environmental or socioeconomic factors in driving them, including its changing role over time, are poorly known. Understanding how changes in socio-economics in interaction with other factors modify landscape fire-hazard and risk is a major priority in fire-prone areas. Here we determined changes in fire-hazard through time, focusing on the contribution of agriculture abandonment to it, and on the changing role of its driving factors, in a large (56,000 km 2) rural area in West-Central Spain. The study period covers from 1950s to 2000. LULC maps at different time steps (1950s, 1978, 1986 and 2000) were available, as well as environmental and socioeconomic information at various scales. We analyzed trends in LULC change, focusing on those altering fire-hazard, and used general linear models (GLM) with generalized linear mixed models (GLMM) to account for the effects of variables at different spatial scales in determining changes leading to shifts in fire-hazard. We found that the proportion of hazardous LULC types increased twofold (26–42%) from 1950s to 2000. Until 1986, agriculture abandonment was the dominant LULC change leading to increased fire-hazard. Post-1986, LULC changes were mainly driven by deforestation due to fires and densification caused by natural vegetation dynamics. Models showed that the first abandoned lands were driven by local environmental and socioeconomic constraints (small farms, in distant locations, in municipalities with low population), whereas later abandonments were driven by non-local ones (large farms, in more productive soils, closer to towns, populations with high unemployment, and higher employment in the services sector). Throughout the entire period, high proportion of wildland vegetation, low mechanization level, and large number of land-holders older than 55 years favored abandonment. This implies that as the population ages, larger, more accessible and productive areas are abandoned, fire-hazard will increase closer to human settlements, increasing the wild-land urban interface and fire risk. ã
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The harvest of non-timber forest products (NTFPs), together with other sources of anthropogenic disturbance, impact plant populations greatly. Despite this, conservation research on NTFPs typically focuses on harvest alone, ignoring possible confounding effects of other anthropogenic and ecological factors. Disentangling anthropogenic disturbances is critical in regions such as India's Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot with high human density. Identifying strategies that permit both use and conservation of resources is essential to preserving biodiversity while meeting local needs. We assessed the effects of NTFP harvesting (fruit harvest from canopy and lopping of branches for fruit) in combination with other common anthropogenic disturbances (cattle grazing, fire frequency and distance from village), in order to identify which stressors have greater effects on recruitment of three tropical dry forest fruit tree species. Specifically, we assessed the structure of 54 populations of Phyllanthus emblica, P. indofischeri and Terminalia chebula spread across the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Western Ghats to ask: (1) How are populations recruiting? and (2) What anthropogenic disturbance and environmental factors, specifically forest type and elevation, are the most important predictors of recruitment status? We combined participatory research with an information-theoretic model-averaging approach to determine which factors most affect population structure and recruitment status. Our models illustrate that for T. chebula, high fire frequency and high fruit harvest intensity decreased the proportion of saplings, while lopping branches or stems to obtain fruit increased it. For Phyllanthus spp, recruitment was significantly lower in plots with more frequent fire. Indices of recruitment of both species were significantly higher for plots in more open-canopy environments of savanna woodlands than in dry forests. Our research illustrates an approach for identifying which factors are most important in limiting recruitment of NTFP populations and other plant species that may be in decline, in order to design effective management strategies.
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The effect of controlled atmospheres on quality of manually and mechanically harvested chestnuts was investigated. Mechanical harvesting was conducted by using a modified self-propelled vacuum harvester. The modification consisted in upholstering with a high density foam the internal components of the vacuum system. Fruits were treated with ‘water-curing’ and stored for two months. Parameters such as weight loss, color, firmness, acetaldehyde and ethanol concentration, soluble solid and sensory quality were analyzed. Sensorial descriptive data was subjected to principal component analysis (PCA), resulting in a multidimensional space that was related to the consumer acceptance. The results indicated that the effects on sensorial quality and storability were slightly dependent on the harvest method used. Manual harvest was the best harvesting method due to the lower incidence of damage and cracks on the fruit, but the new upholstering system seems to be very effective.
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We used a spatially explicit model of forest dynamics, supported by empirical field data and socioeconomic data, to examine the impacts of human disturbances on a protected forest landscape in Kyrgyzstan. Local use of 27 fruit and nut species was recorded and modeled. Results indicated that in the presence of fuelwood cutting with or without grazing, species of high socioeconomic importance such as Juglans regia, Malus spp., and Armeniaca vulgaris were largely eliminated from the landscape after 50–150 yr. In the absence of disturbance or in the presence of grazing only, decline of these species occurred at a much lower rate, owing to competitive interactions between tree species. This suggests that the current intensity of fuelwood harvesting is not sustainable. Conversely, current grazing intensities were found to have relatively little impact on forest structure and composition, and could potentially play a positive role in supporting regeneration of tree species. These results indicate that both positive and negative impacts on biodiversity can arise from human populations living within a protected area. Potentially, these could be reconciled through the development of participatory approaches to conservation management within this reserve, to ensure the maintenance of its high conservation value while meeting human needs.
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This chapter examines some of the main research methodologies for studying traditional forest-related knowledge (TFRK). Initially, we address ethical issues, asking, for example, what constitutes proper handling of research results. The relationship between TFRK and modern science is then discussed from a methodological perspective, after which an account of some of the main methods used for studying such knowledge—including participant observation, interviews, cultural domain analysis, questionnaires, and workshops—is provided. Ethnographic approaches are recommended for documenting both verbal and tacit knowledge embedded in skills and practices, while the tools of cultural domain analysis allow for both quantitative and qualitative analysis of individual variation in knowledge. Finally, recurring elements of best practice are presented. If ethical and methodological questions are not addressed in a consistent and systematic manner from the outset of the research, the rights of TFRK owners may well be infringed, meaning that benefi ts will not accrue to the owners and that access to resources (such as genetic resources) may be suddenly curtailed. Thus, all parties must address the challenges raised by the maintenance, use, and protection of traditional forest-related knowledge when there is interaction between the holders and users of such knowledge.
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Conservation success is often predicated on local support for conservation which is strongly influenced by perceptions of the impacts that are experienced by local communities and opinions of management and governance. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are effective conservation and fisheries management tools that can also have a broad array of positive and negative social, economic, cultural, and political impacts on local communities. Drawing on results from a mixed-methods study of communities on the Andaman Coast of Thailand, this paper explores perceptions of MPA impacts on community livelihood resources (assets) and outcomes as well as MPA governance and management. The area includes 17 National Marine Parks (NMPs) that are situated near rural communities that are highly dependent on coastal resources. Interview participants perceived NMPs to have limited to negative impacts on fisheries and agricultural livelihoods and negligible benefits for tourism livelihoods. Perceived impacts on livelihoods were felt to result from NMPs undermining access to or lacking support for development of cultural, social, political, financial, natural, human, physical, and political capital assets. Conflicting views emerged on whether NMPs resulted in negative or positive marine or terrestrial conservation outcomes. Perceptions of NMP governance and management processes were generally negative. These results point to some necessary policy improvements and actions to ameliorate: the relationship between the NMP and communities, NMP management and governance processes, and socio-economic and conservation outcomes.
Article
The establishment and maintenance of protected areas is the backbone of global conservation strategies to halt biodiversity loss. However, despite the more than 200,000 legally designated protected sites worldwide, the rate of species extinction has not decreased, for which some debate the real effectiveness of protected areas to preserve biodiversity. Using data from tropical areas, many studies have attempted to test the effectiveness of protected areas by comparing species richness in protected and neighbouring unprotected sites, without reaching a consensus. Here, we extend this line of research with data from temperate deciduous forests inside and outside Picos de Europa National Park and Biosphere Reserve (N Spain). Specifically we compare data from mixed broadleaved woodlands, beech forests (Fagus sylvatica L.) and Pyrenean oak (Quercus pyrenaica Willd.) forests. We conducted botanical inventories and recorded ecological data from 25 0.2-ha concentric plots distributed in forest commons inside the reserve and from other 25 similar plots established in neighbouring not protected forest commons. Data were used to construct a set of ecological indicators and evaluated using modelling methods. We found no significant differences in species composition between plots in protected and non-protected forest commons, likely due to the similar management criteria applied in both land uses. We found less active management outside the protected area, which helps to maintain stands in a semi-natural state. In contrast, we observed the presence of silvicultural treatments inside the protected area, although these treatments were non-intensive, promoting vegetation composition associated to late-successional ecosystems. We only detected significant differences between plots inside and outside the protected area when relation between species richness was analysed with reference to forest habitat type. Precisely, plots of beech forests inside Picos de Europa were more homogenous than plots outside the protected area, which may indicate that management practices inside the protected area do not favour tree species diversity. Non-intensive silviculture management in beech forests inside Picos de Europa seems to promote the presence of the dominant tree species Fagus sylvatica L., which in the absence of perturbations is characterized by conforming monospecific vegetation communities. Overall, our results do not support the idea that protected areas hold more biodiversity than surrounding forest commons. Conservation treatments applied in protected areas should promote the presence of species associated to disturbances, particularly in stands tending to homogeneous species composition at late-successional stages, as this may enhance their resilience under the current rapid global changes.
Article
Local ecological knowledge and the land use practices of forest resource users who rely on this form of knowledge play a crucial role for biodiversity conservation in managed forests. The understandings of, and approaches taken to analyze, such knowledge are diverse. To systematize the available knowledge, we conduct a review of 51 studies addressing local ecological knowledge (LEK) and forest biodiversity conservation practice. We analyze what specific kind of knowledge is considered, who holds the knowledge, how this knowledge is actively applied in practice and how it relates to biodiversity conservation. The review shows that local ecological knowledge and forest biodiversity conservation are linked through various socially shared aspects, such as values and norms, spiritual beliefs and perceptions of ecosystem functions and benefits as well as operational conditions, including livelihood strategies and economic constraints. While many of the reviewed studies evaluate local knowledge as holding great promise for biodiversity conservation, the conclusions regarding practical implications of including this knowledge into forest and conservation management are mixed. In particular, the interaction of “traditional” conservation paradigms rooted in local ecological knowledge and science-based “modern” paradigms is not thoroughly addressed. This applies especially to European countries, where research on local ecological knowledge is scattered. Drawing on these observations, we conclude that a greater focus on the ways in which societies in these countries can (re)generate, transform and apply local ecological knowledge can play a crucial role in integrating conservation objectives into forest management under changing environmental conditions.
Article
Land take is the transformation of agricultural, natural and semi-natural spaces into urban and other artificial uses. It is closely linked to urban sprawl (low-density or dispersed urban development). Land take is a major environmental challenge, especially for biodiversity conservation, as it destroys and fragments natural habitats. In order to assess how the scientific literature dedicated to this topic adresses the determinants of land take, we analyzed 193 scientific articles retrieved through a systematic methodology. We summarized the causal relationships identified between land take and different explanatory factors. Among them, population and income growth, as well as the development of transport infrastructure and automobile use, are widely studied drivers that are most often found to increase land take. Political and institutional factors are extensively mentionned in the literature, suggesting that urban sprawl is not a mere result of “market forces” but is also shaped though public policies. Weak or unadequate planning, subsidies for land consumption and automobile transportation are said to increase urban sprawl, while infrastructure pricing and subsidies for urban renewal would have the opposite effect. The institutional setting, especially administrative fragmentation, reliance on local taxes, and competition between local jurisdictions, is suspected to be a major determinant of land take. The effect of many factors however remains relatively undocumented or controversial in the reviewed literature, including widely used policy instruments.
Conference Paper
Wood is considered humankind’s very first source of energy. Today it is still the most important single source of renewable energy providing about 6% of the global total primary energy supply. Wood fuel is a fuel, such as firewood, charcoal, chips, sheets, pellets, and sawdust. The particular form used depends upon factors such as source, quantity, quality and application. Today, burning of wood is the largest use of energy derived from a solid fuel biomass. In the case of burning wood, stored potential energy (in the form of chemical energy) in the log is released due to heating by other excited atoms. Wood pellets and other agglomerated energy products are made from dried sawdust, shavings or wood powder, with the raw material being compressed under high pressure. Pellets and agglomerates are currently the most economical way of converting biomass into fuel and are a fast-growing source of energy. They can be used for electricity production or directly for combustion in residential and commercial heating. Wood fuels arise from multiple sources including forests, other wooded land and trees outside forests, co-products from wood processing, postconsumer recovered wood and processed wood-based fuels. Wood energy is also an important emergency backup fuel. Societies at any socio-economic level will switch easily back to wood energy when encountering economic difficulties, natural disasters, conflict situations or fossil energy supply shortages. Today wood energy has entered into a new phase of high importance and visibility with climate change and energy security concerns.
Article
Rural depopulation, abandonment of traditional land uses and decrease of extensive stockfarming is accelerating shrub encroachment in mountain areas. In NW Spain, gorse (Ulex gallii Planch.) is expanding, developing dense shrublands that accumulate high fuel-loads, ignite easily and persist during long periods as alternate stable states. Under this scenario, traditional bush-to-bush farming fires are being replaced by high fuel-load burnings performed by specialised teams to reduce fuels and promote mosaic landscapes. This research analyses the effects on soil function and nitrogen (N)-cycling of these new generation of prescribed fires practiced under similar conditions to traditional fires (winter time, moist soils), but differing in the biomass and the continuity of the surface burnt. The results showed significant changes in N-cycle parameters, such as increases in inorganic N and dissolved organic nitrogen (DON), but declines in N microbial biomass and urease activity. At the ecosystem level, potential N losses were high because the pulse of water-soluble forms, DON and nitrate, following fire overlaps with periods of low biological N retention by microorganisms and plants. Although most effects were similar to those observed in traditional burnings done in the same region, the primary concern is the high potential for DON losses following prescribed burning in highly gorse-encroached areas. In N-limited ecosystems, a crucial issue is to attain an equilibrium between frequent burnings, which may prevent an optimal recovery of the soil function, and uneven burnings, which burn high amounts of accumulated fuel and increase the risk of removing large quantities of dissolved N from the ecosystem in a unique fire event. Overall, the use of different techniques combined with fire are needed to promote and consolidate desired changes in dense gorse lands.
Chapter
North and Center of inland Portugal are characterized by mountain areas with low productivity, and susceptible to desertification. The human settlements have low densities and the people are aged leading to agriculture abandonment contributing to the increase of wildfires. The rural population with low resources finds in the extensive livestock production a source of income making possible the survival in those inhospitable areas. The use of traditional agro-silvopastoral practices is essential for rural development, as it includes a set of ecosystem services contributing to the soil and water conservation and biodiversity maintenance. The goat grazing, in particular, is essential for the prevention of wildfires as they feed mainly in the shrubland areas, reducing the biomass load and, consequently, the fuel available for forest fires. The synergies created by goat production result, thus, in a direct economic benefit from cattle production and indirect ecological aspects, by reducing the probability of potential fires. An experimental study using targeted grazing, in the mountain municipality of Vila Pouca de Aguiar, North of Portugal, was carried out between 2012 and 2014 to analyze the feasibility of implementing this technique in order to manage the territory, leading to the minimization of occurrence and severity of fires. Nevertheless, this study needs an additional temporal period for a conclusive analysis, although evidence suggests that this method can play an important role in fire prevention.
Article
Within Europe concerns are rising for the loss of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) as agricultural communities continue to abandon traditional practices. TEK consists of a cumulative body of knowledge, practice and belief concerning environmental management (specifically agricultural management in Europe) that supposedly developed through generations of interaction between local communities and their environment. However, being based on largely oral accounts concern has arisen about the availability and reliability of TEK data − with some studies reporting inaccurate or contradictory information. In this paper we assess the potential of mainly pre-1800 agricultural texts to contribute knowledge to TEK studies. Since 2000, projects to digitise and make freely available out-of-copyright books from the world’s libraries have made many of these pre-industrial agricultural texts easily accessible. These sources, we argue, provide a rich source of information. Specifically, we observe that knowledge emanating from contemporary TEK research can be found within this historical literature and question, therefore, whether contemporary European agricultural TEK is endogenously developed or represents vestiges of a wider pre-industrial agricultural knowledge system. Drawing on the English-language literature and using the case of hay meadow management, we provide examples of the types of information available, as well as detailing three examples of hay meadow management systems that are no longer associated with communities of practice − “fogging” of meadows, ant-hill management, and open-field, common or Lammas management. We conclude that while it may not be possible to reconstruct entire agricultural systems from literature-based knowledge, these sources can play an important role in complimenting and validating our understanding of traditional management systems.
Book
A standpoint of many of the contributions is that it is important or even vital to understand the past, our history, if we are to address effectively future environmental challenges. Often, this is not the case, since the environment and nature, are treated as ‘natural’ rather than eco-cultural. Issues of common ownership and rights to natural resources present major challenges in the contemporary global world and the market forces of capital driven economics. Yet the long-term consequences, of the separation or severance of people from nature, are tangible and potentially disastrous at many levels. However, most contemporary actions towards conservation and sustainability fail to address this fundamental relationship between communities and local environments. This reflects perhaps, the ethos of Hardin’s 1960s ‘Tragedy of the commons’ and from this perspective the chapters in this volume challenge such precepts and assumptions and through this, raise new and critical paradigms. In recent years, researchers have turned their attention to issues of landscape change and the eco-cultural nature of the environment. Combined with the impacts and effects of cultural severance, the break between local people and their environmental resources, the cultural nature of landscape is now better understood. However, the implicit importance and significance for conservation of biodiversity, of heritage and consequently for activities such as tourism, are only just receiving wider recognition. The implications of widespread landscape abandonment, rural depopulation, urbanisation, and severance, are dramatic and sometimes stark, with wildfires raging, ecology often in free-fall, and local communities and their traditions displaced. A first step with all these landscapes is to recognise both the important sites and the critical issues. Then, appropriate protection and conservation must be determined and applied. Finally, there is the potential to develop new and extended commons as part of a landscape approach to future conservation. However, the cultural past, together now with issues of cultural severance, present enormous challenges for the integration of this knowledge into visions of future sustainable landscapes. Not least of these challenges is the loss of indigenous cultural and traditional knowledge, without which, much future conservation action is jeopardised. This book is intended to raise awareness, to stimulate further discuss, debate and research, and to then turn dialogue into action.
Book
Exploring a topic of vital and ongoing importance, Traditional Forest Knowledge examines the history, current status and trends in the development and application of traditional forest knowledge by local and indigenous communities worldwide. It considers the interplay between traditional beliefs and practices and formal forest science and interrogates the often uneasy relationship between these different knowledge systems. The contents also highlight efforts to conserve and promote traditional forest management practices that balance the environmental, economic and social objectives of forest management. It places these efforts in the context of recent trends towards the devolution of forest management authority in many parts of the world. The book includes regional chapters covering North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Australia-Pacific region. As well as relating the general factors mentioned above to these specific areas, these chapters cover issues of special regional significance, such as the importance of traditional knowledge and practices for food security, economic development and cultural identity. Other chapters examine topics ranging from key policy issues to the significant programs of regional and international organisations, and from research ethics and best practices for scientific study of traditional knowledge to the adaptation of traditional forest knowledge to climate change and globalisation. "Forestry, the oldest of the resource management sciences, has been coming under pressure in recent years to incorporate multiple values. Traditional Forest-Related Knowledge is remarkable for its comprehensive coverage of world regions and 'hot' topics such as globalization, climate change and research ethics. It is a unique book, marking a breakthrough with its authoritative treatment of alternative sources of knowledge and multiple perspectives, and contributing to a paradigm change in forest management." - Fikret Berkes, Distinguished Professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Manitoba, and author of Sacred Ecology
Article
Ecosystem services (ES) research has rapidly gained momentum in environmental policy and practice. However, qualitative socio-cultural approaches are still limited, and therefore, ES important for people, are currently not commonly captured. We performed 34 face-to-face semi-structured interviews to describe stakeholders' appreciation of ES from dehesa landscapes in northern Extremadura, Spain. A total of 45 ES were mentioned, and compared among different sectors and levels of governance. At the local level, people appreciated especially provisioning and cultural services. In contrast, regional level respondents showed more appreciation for regulating and supporting services, which included biodiversity conservation and climate regulation. Private and public sector respondents appreciated provisioning services more, whereas the civil sector mentioned supporting and regulating services more. For instance, water regulation was only mentioned by civil and public sector respondents, while genetic resource preservation was only expressed by the private sector. All sectors noted cultural services as key ES. We discuss most mentioned ES by respondents, the co-production nature of ES in wood-pastures, as well as cultural services as key ES of dehesas in coupled social-ecological systems. We conclude with policy recommendations drawn from the insights of this study.
Article
Over the past decades, landscapes worldwide have experienced changes (e.g., urbanization, agricultural intensification, expansion of renewable energy uses) at magnitudes that put their sustainability at risk. The understanding of the drivers of these landscape changes remains challenging, partly because landscape research is spread across many domains and disciplines. We here provide a systematic synthesis of 144 studies that identify the proximate and underlying drivers of landscape change across Europe. First, we categorize how driving forces have been addressed and find that most studies consider medium-term time scales and local spatial scales. Most studies assessed only one case study area, one spatial scale, and less than four points in time. Second, we analyze geographical coverage of studies and reveal that countries with a non-European Union/European Free Trade Association membership; low Gross Domestic Product; boreal, steppic, and arctic landscapes; as well as forestland systems are underrepresented in the literature. Third, our review shows that land abandonment/extensification is the most prominent (62% of cases) among multiple proximate drivers of landscape change. Fourthly, we find that distinct combinations of mainly political/institutional, cultural, and natural/spatial underlying drivers are determining landscape change, rather than single key drivers. Our systematic review indicates knowledge gaps that can be filled by: (a) expanding the scope of studies to include underrepresented landscapes; (b) clarifying the identification and role of actors in landscape change; (c) deploying more robust tools and methods to quantitatively assess the causalities of landscape change; (d) setting up long-term studies that go beyond mapping land-cover change only; (e) strengthening cross-site and cross-country comparisons of landscape drivers; (f) designing multi-scale studies that consider teleconnections; (g) considering subtle and novel processes of landscape change.
Article
Intensive forest harvesting has increased in Fennoscandia over the last few decades. Similar developments may follow throughout Europe as renewable energy replaces fossil fuels. The international literature suggests that intensive harvesting could increase ecological risks to yield, carbon stores, soil fertility, and biodiversity, but geographically specific knowledge is sparse in many countries, and results do not extend beyond 5–30 years after harvesting. We use Denmark as a case for discussing future directions. Forest history is described, and research on ecological effects and their inclusion in governance is reviewed. Denmark was almost completely deforested by the early 1800s, but centuries of afforestation have resulted in a current forest cover of 14.3%. Research commonly uses stem-only harvesting as a reference against which to compare intensive harvesting impacts, but pristine forests would be a more useful reference for ecological processes and biodiversity. However, pristine forests are almost non-existent in Europe, and non-intervention, self-regulating forests provide an alternative. Governance and positions of non-governmental organizations in Denmark focus more on general forest management impacts and conservation of light-demanding biodiversity associated with historic coppicing and grazing than on intensive harvesting. The energy sector drives the development of new governance to verify forest biomass sustainability, but the national knowledge base for such verification is limited. As part of a larger solution, we suggest establishing a network of non-intervention, self-regulating forests that can serve as a reference for long-term research and monitoring of intensive harvesting impacts. This would support the application of adaptive management strategies, and continuous improvements of best management practice guidelines. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.
Article
Farmland abandonment in Europe is a major problem because of environmental, socioeconomic and landscape implications. In this paper, a general view of the extent of abandoned land, the stages of abandonment and the drivers that manage this process in Europe is presented. A scientific literature review shows an abandonment at the beginning of the 19th century, although the largest abandonment in terms of area took place in the mid-20th century. This abandonment had a far greater impact on mountain areas because of rural depopulation as well as biophysical constraints. Since the last decades of the 20th century, abandonment driven by the CAP in European Member States and by the end of the communist regime in Central and Eastern Europe has been taking place. This abandonment affects peripheral marginal areas due to biophysical or socioeconomic conditions. Semi-arid areas in Southern Europe have also seen an important extent of abandoned land over the last few decades. The literature draws on the ongoing abandonment from the following decades, and 3–4% of current farmland is considered to be affected.
Article
Due to the contribution of honey bees (Apis mellifera) to wild flower and crop pollination, beekeeping has traditionally been considered a sustainable practice. However, high honey bee densities may have an impact on local pollen and nectar availability, which in turn may negatively affect other pollinators. This is exacerbated by the ability of honey bees to recruit foragers to highly rewarding flower patches. We measured floral resource consumption in rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris) in 21 plots located at different distances from apiaries in the scrubland of Garraf Natural Park (Barcelona), and related these measures to visitation rates of honey bees, bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) and other pollinators. In the same plots, we measured flower density, and used pan traps to characterize the wild bee community. Flower resource consumption was largely explained by honey bee visitation and marginally by bumblebee visitation. After accounting for flower density, plots close to apiaries had lower wild bee biomass. This was due to a lower abundance of large bee species, those more likely to be affected by honey bee competition. We conclude that honey bees are the main contributors to pollen/nectar consumption of the two main flowering plants in the scrubland, and that at the densities currently occurring in the park (3.5 hives/km2) the wild bee community is being affected. Our study supports the hypothesis that high honey bee densities may have an impact on other pollinators via competition for flower resources.
Chapter
Europe’s rural areas are diverse in terms of geography, population, demography, economic and social structures as well as labour markets. It is this diversity that is part of their richness and that has also created an extraordinary diversity of landscapes, which today are playing an increasingly important role. Europe’s rural landscape represents 91 % of the territory in EU 27 and about 56 % of the population live in predominantly and significantly rural areas. Rural areas generate 45 % of gross value added in EU 27 and 53 % of the employment. Nevertheless, many of Europe’s rural landscapes face a common challenge as their dynamics and quality are mostly triggered by socio-economic developments affecting the rural world.
Article
This paper assesses the role of protected and community managed forests for the long term maintenance of forest cover in the tropics. Through a meta-analysis of published case-studies, we compare land use/cover change data for these two broad types of forest management and assess their performance in maintaining forest cover. Case studies included 40 protected areas and 33 community managed forests from the peer reviewed literature. A statistical comparison of annual deforestation rates and a Qualitative Comparative Analysis were conducted. We found that as a whole, community managed forests presented lower and less variable annual deforestation rates than protected forests. We consider that a more resilient and robust forest conservation strategy should encompass a regional vision with different land use types in which social and economic needs of local inhabitants, as well as tenure rights and local capacities, are recognized. Further research for understanding institutional arrangements that derive from local governance in favor of tropical forest conservation is recommended.
Article
Understanding how indigenous peoples’ management practices relate to biological diversity requires addressing contemporary changes in indigenous peoples’ way of life. This study explores the association between cultural change among a Bolivian Amazonian indigenous group, the Tsimane’, and tree diversity in forests surrounding their villages. We interviewed 86 informants in six villages about their level of attachment to traditional Tsimane’ values, our proxy for cultural change. We estimated tree diversity (Fisher’s Alpha index) by inventorying trees in 48 0.1-ha plots in old-growth forests distributed in the territory of the same villages. We used multivariate models to assess the relation between cultural change and alpha tree diversity. Cultural change was associated with alpha tree diversity and the relation showed an inverted U-shape, thus suggesting that tree alpha diversity peaked in villages undergoing intermediate cultural change. Although the results do not allow for testing the direction of the relation, we propose that cultural change relates to tree diversity through the changes in practices and behaviors that affect the traditional ecological knowledge of Tsimane’ communities; further research is needed to determine the causality. Our results also find support in the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, and suggest that indigenous management can be seen as an intermediate form of anthropogenic disturbance affecting forest communities in a subtle, non-destructive way.
Article
Major changes in land cover can result from distant political, social, and environmental forces. Over the last 50 years, many technological innovations and political changes have transformed agriculture in Europe, resulting in substantial decreases of farmland area in many parts of the continent that potentially signify a shift in European land use systems. However, the relative importance of technological advances and agricultural policy to these changes is not well understood, and our goal here was to disentangle them. Because of its unique political context, Spain offers an ideal laboratory to investigate the impacts of technological and political innovations to regime change in land systems. During the time when agricultural innovation was at its peak (1960-1980) Spain was not part of the European Economic Community (EEC). The Spanish agricultural sector then experienced a shock after joining the EEC in 1986. Using historical aerial photographs, land use maps, and Farm Structure Surveys as our reference data, we compared changes in land cover in Terra Chá, a district of Northwest Spain from 1956-1984 and 1984-2005, i.e., approximately before and after the EEC accession in 1986, using spatially explicit multinomial logit models to quantify the relative impacts of technological innovation and political change on agriculture and forest lands. In our study area much more substantial shifts in agricultural and forest land took place after EEC accession than before. The dominant shift was a substantial increase in forest cover (from 7 to 31% percent of the landscape) and concurrent loss of agriculture (from 45 to 38%) and shrubland (from 46 to 27%). The role of drivers acting at parcel level was constant between time periods, which suggests that accession to EEC was a strong driver of change.
Article
Agricultural land use in Europe has changed considerably in the last decades. However, our understanding of agricultural land use changes, especially changes in land use intensity, is limited because the evidence is fragmented. This paper presents a systematic review of case study evidence on manifestations and underlying drivers for agricultural land use change in Europe. We analyzed 137 studies that together report on 76 cases of intensification and 143 cases of disintensification. Observed changes were manifested as expansion or contraction of agricultural land as well as in changes of land management intensity, landscape elements, agricultural land use activity, and specialization/diversification. Economic, technological, institutional and location factors were frequently identified as underlying drivers, while demographic drivers and sociocultural drivers were mentioned less often. In addition, we found that farmers were very important as moderators between underlying drivers and manifestations of agricultural land use change. Farmer decisions differed between different farmer types, and according to their characteristics and attitudes. We found major land use change trajectories in relation to globalization of agricultural markets, the transition from a rural to an urban society, and the shift to post-socialism in central and eastern Europe.