Exploring Current and Future Situation of Mediterranean Silvopastoral Systems: Case Study in Southern Spain

Palomo-Campesino S., Ravera F., González J.A., García-Llorente M. (2018) Exploring Current and Future Situation of Mediterranean Silvopastoral Systems: Case Study in Southern Spain. Rangeland Ecology and Management. : 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.rama.2017.12.013

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Extensive range-based livestock production has suffered a sharp decrease in Mediterranean Spain in recent decades due to two opposing trends in land use: progressive abandonment of practices in marginal rural areas and land use intensification in more productive areas. In this study, we explored the visions of key stakeholders on the current and future situation of silvopastoral systems in the Sierra Morena mountain range of southern Spain, where extensive livestock grazing is declining because of competition with other more profitable activities, such as intensive olive groves and game hunting. We performed a discourse analysis using Q methodology and evaluated the existing relationships of information exchange and conflict among local institutions such as farmer's associations, the provincial council, and conservation organizations using social network analysis. Semistructured interviews were conducted with key stakeholders representing local formal and nonformal institutions involved in extensive livestock production. Results showed three distinct discourses among stakeholders related to profitability, conservation, and modernization. There was a strong consensus on the management strategies that should be promoted to support extensive livestock production and preserve the associated silvopastoral systems. Social networks revealed high cohesion and communication exchange and a low level of conflict among stakeholders, with few exceptions. The low influence of livestock producers on policy decision making largely hinders the development of participatory management schemes. Nevertheless, similarities among the visions and opinions of different institutions suggest that new possibilities might emerge for silvopastoral systems through the collaboration among the different socioeconomic sectors present in the area. © 2018 The Society for Range Management

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Contributions of Iberian Silvo-Pastoral Landscapes to the Well-Being of Contemporary Society

Surová D., Ravera F., Guiomar N., Martínez Sastre R., Pinto-Correia T. (2018) Contributions of Iberian Silvo-Pastoral Landscapes to the Well-Being of Contemporary Society. Rangeland Ecology and Management. : 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.rama.2017.12.005

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Assessments of society's perceptions of rangeland systems offer insights into the motivations, cultural beliefs, and values that can support landscape conservation and the everyday decisions of landowners. Silvo-pastoral landscapes, the grazed oak woodlands known as montado in Portugal and dehesa in Spain, are the main rangelands of southwestern Iberia. At the interface of complex interactions between natural processes and human activities, they have potential to deliver multiple services at the ecosystem level. However, the actual rendering of their potential to the well-being of contemporary society has not been comprehensively documented. This paper aims to enrich research perspectives and identify benefits and challenging aspects of silvo-pastoral landscapes through the lens of society well-being. An integrated socioecological perspective is used to examine one case study in Portugal and one in Spain. To better understand their context, montado and dehesa are assessed relative to other landscape types in the studied areas. A qualitative approach assesses tangible but also intangible aspects. The interviewed stakeholders include members of rural communities, public authorities, land managers, and researchers. Results reveal similar benefits and challenges in montado and dehesa. Interviewees considered them to have numerous sociocultural and environmental benefits. These were mainly regulatory services but also intangible benefits such as cultural identity, aesthetic qualities, and local knowledge. Nevertheless, a rendering of their full potential to society well-being has numerous challenges. These systems were believed to struggle economically, due to the low prices for the goods produced and a high dependence on subsidies. Their environmental vulnerability was also highlighted. Critical challenges for future research and policy interventions are identified for both case studies. Moreover, we encourage the wider application of approaches to rangelands focusing on well-being, as they provide a complement to ecological and economic perspectives that can improve understanding of social-ecological systems. © 2017 The Society for Range Management

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Mediterranean landscapes under change: Combining social multicriteria evaluation and the ecosystem services framework for land use planning

Martínez-Sastre, R., Ravera, F., González, J.A., López Santiago, C., Bidegain, I., Munda, G. (2017) Mediterranean landscapes under change: Combining social multicriteria evaluation and the ecosystem services framework for land use planning. Land Use Policy. 67: 472-486.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2017.06.001

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Multiscale scenarios for nature futures

Rosa, I.M.D., Pereira, H.M., Ferrier, S., Alkemade, R., Acosta, L.A., Akcakaya, H.R., Den Belder, E., Fazel, A.M., Fujimori, S., Harfoot, M., Harhash, K.A., Harrison, P.A., Hauck, J., Hendriks, R.J.J., Hernández, G., Jetz, W., Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, S.I., Kim, H., King, N., Kok, M.T.J., Kolomytsev, G.O., Lazarova, T., Leadley, P., Lundquist, C.J., García Márquez, J., Meyer, C., Navarro, L.M., Nesshöver, C., Ngo, H.T., Ninan, K.N., Palomo, M.G., Pereira, L.M., Peterson, G.D., Pichs, R., Popp, A., Purvis, A., Ravera, F., Rondinini, C., Sathyapalan, J., Schipper, A.M., Seppelt, R., Settele, J., Sitas, N., Van Vuuren, D. (2017) Multiscale scenarios for nature futures. Nature Ecology and Evolution. 1: 1416-1419.
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Doi: 10.1038/s41559-017-0273-9

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Factors influencing the perception of ecosystem services in Ecuadorian tropical dry forests [Factores que influyen en la percepción de servicios de los ecosistemas de los bosques secos del sur del Ecuador]

Briceño, J., Iñiguez-Gallardo, V., Ravera, F. (2016) Factors influencing the perception of ecosystem services in Ecuadorian tropical dry forests [Factores que influyen en la percepción de servicios de los ecosistemas de los bosques secos del sur del Ecuador]. Ecosistemas. 25: 46-58.
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Doi: 10.7818/ECOS.2016.25-2.06

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A synthesis of convergent reflections, tensions and silences in linking gender and global environmental change research

Iniesta-Arandia, I., Ravera, F., Buechler, S., Díaz-Reviriego, I., Fernández-Giménez, M.E., Reed, M.G., Thompson-Hall, M., Wilmer, H., Aregu, L., Cohen, P., Djoudi, H., Lawless, S., Martín-López, B., Smucker, T., Villamor, G.B., Wangui, E.E. (2016) A synthesis of convergent reflections, tensions and silences in linking gender and global environmental change research. Ambio. 45: 383-393.
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Doi: 10.1007/s13280-016-0843-0

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Land degradation assessment through an ecosystem services lens: Integrating knowledge and methods in pastoral semi-arid systems

Tarrasón D., Ravera F., Reed M.S., Dougill A.J., Gonzalez L. (2016) Land degradation assessment through an ecosystem services lens: Integrating knowledge and methods in pastoral semi-arid systems. Journal of Arid Environments. 124: 205-213.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2015.08.002

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This paper develops and applies an integrated and participatory methodological framework to assess land degradation in pastoral systems through an ecosystem services (ES) lens in a semi-arid region of northern Nicaragua. We initially integrated local and scientific knowledge to assess ecological changes and understand the links with ecosystem services supplied by the local grazing system. Hence, we discuss land degradation features and test a state-and-transition ecological model, that is, we developed jointly with local farmers the hypotheses to understand transitions between ecological states and these hypotheses were then evaluated through an inventory of vegetation and an assessment of soil properties and seed bank composition. The assessment reveals that shifts in ecological state do not cause permanent soil properties changes, but that at a landscape scale they can limit production, affecting local livelihoods. The framework proposed provided local farmers with relevant information and facilitated communication with researchers, enabling them to use the co-constructed knowledge to implement adaptive management strategies to improve local productive systems. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

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Developing an integrated framework to assess agri-food systems and its application in the Ecuadorian Andes

Vallejo-Rojas, V., Ravera, F., Rivera-Ferre, M.G. (2016) Developing an integrated framework to assess agri-food systems and its application in the Ecuadorian Andes. Regional Environmental Change. 16: 2171-2185.
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Doi: 10.1007/s10113-015-0887-x

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Land use change trajectories, conservation status and social importance of dry forests in Nicaragua

Ravera F., Tarrason D., Espelta J.M. (2014) Land use change trajectories, conservation status and social importance of dry forests in Nicaragua. Environmental Conservation. : 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1017/S0376892914000186

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Interdisciplinary studies have proved the interconnectedness of history and ecology relevant to forest conservation proposals and management policies. Engaging local views and concerns in the evaluation and monitoring process can lead to more robust knowledge in the pursuit of effective conservation. This study aimed to assess the degree to which land use change trajectories influence the state of tropical dry forest conservation, as evaluated by scientists and local people. Focusing on northern Nicaragua, the research identified three historical trajectories for types and magnitude of forest disturbance. The assessment process included inventorying sites under different trajectories and integrating ecological and social indicators (namely local perceptions of biodiversity value and concern over species threat). The different land use change trajectories had no influence on the present structure of the dry forest, but strongly affected species diversity, composition and their social importance. The study provided evidence of positive species selection by farmers, which suggested a feedback loop between ecological conditions, social value and awareness of conservation. Copyright © Foundation for Environmental Conservation 2014.

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Rural change and multidimensional analysis of farm's vulnerability: A case study in a protected area of semi-arid northern Nicaragua

Ravera F., Tarrason D., Siciliano G. (2014) Rural change and multidimensional analysis of farm's vulnerability: A case study in a protected area of semi-arid northern Nicaragua. Environment, Development and Sustainability. 16: 873-901.
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Doi: 10.1007/s10668-014-9531-z

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This paper presents an empirical research in a protected area of northern Nicaragua, aimed at: (a) classifying predominant narratives surrounding present and future pathways of the local rural system, drivers of change, features of livelihoods' vulnerability; (b) understanding current functioning of local metabolic patterns of rural systems by developing a typology of farms and (c) comparing types' vulnerability to current drivers of change. To achieve these objectives, we integrated qualitative and quantitative analytical approaches. The different visions of rural spaces, which emerge from the analysis of the narratives, and the five types of farms, characterized by specific land-time budget and energy and monetary flows, suggest two emerging dynamics of local restructuration in protected areas: (1) a dominant land re-concentration process which is generating increasing inequality in access to resources and a progressive marginalization of the self-sufficient economy of landless and subsistence households; (2) an emergence of a paradigm of 'environmentalization' of rural spaces together with a valorization of small and medium-scale diversified economies. Moreover, the vulnerability assessment focuses on multidimensional features of types' sensitivity to crisis, i.e. risk unacceptability, production instability, economic inefficiency, food and exosomatic energy dependency, as well as capacity to buffer and adapt to change, i.e. access to assets, including labour for men and women, social safety nets and degrees of economic diversification. The discussion highlights the occurrence of trade-off between the solutions adopted by farms within different development paths, suggesting the relevance of the proposed framework of analysis at the interface between science and policy. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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