Chapter 5 Processes of Farmland Abandonment: Land use Change and Structural Adjustment in Galicia (Spain)

Agriculture in Mediterranean Europe: Between Old and New Paradigms

ISBN: 978-1-78190-597-5, eISBN: 978-1-78190-598-2

ISSN: 1057-1922

Publication date: 30 May 2013

Abstract

The objective of this chapter is to provide an approach to the farmland abandonment problem in Galicia, the Spain’s north-western region. We describe the land use pattern that characterized the traditional agricultural system, and analyze the process of structural adjustment and changes in land use recorded in the last 50 years. The empirical basis is provided mainly by an original elaboration of agricultural census data for the period 1982–2009. The results show that in the last five decades the area devoted to crops and pastures was constrained to a small portion of the territory (just over 20%), while the agro-livestock uses of hill land which were very important up to the mid-twentieth century disappeared. All this led to a remarkable expansion of abandoned land, which currently occupies at least 20% of the regional area. The drivers of this farmland abandonment are diverse and vary from one zone to another. But among them the conditioners derived from the structure of land ownership must be emphasized, coupled with the poor functioning of the land market and leasing. Land abandonment has had a major impact on the dynamics of the agricultural sector, limiting the size of farms and causing an increasing intensification in a small portion of the territory. This has also led to severe environmental problems, especially forest fires. Consequently, improving mobility and land use should be a priority of agricultural and rural development policies in this region.

Keywords

Citation

López-Iglesias, E., Sineiro-García, F. and Lorenzana-Fernández, R. (2013), "Chapter 5 Processes of Farmland Abandonment: Land use Change and Structural Adjustment in Galicia (Spain)", Ortiz-Miranda, D., Moragues-Faus, A. and Arnalte-Alegre, E. (Ed.) Agriculture in Mediterranean Europe: Between Old and New Paradigms (Research in Rural Sociology and Development, Vol. 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 91-120. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1057-1922(2013)0000019007

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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