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About this book
About this book
This book analyses processes of desertification from a social science perspective and unravels the policy related to drivers of desertification. Desertification is addressed both as a concept surrounded by a multitude of different discourses and as a tangible unsustainable process that is connected to a complex set of policies and changing land management practices.
The focus is on Southern Europe, where desertification has been a long-standing problem in many areas, and where in some places the loss of productive capacity has worsened considerably over the last few decades. By focusing on four specific case study areas in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece, the scope of the book will cover the 'human dimension' of desertification, exploring in particular how the framework of existing policies has affected land management decisions and desertification processes. The emphasis will be on how policies may have contributed to desertification alleviation and mitigation, as well as to a worsening of desertification processes.
By using an actor-network approach, the book specifically investigates the importance of networks of actors that shape the nature and direction of policies that affect desertification processes. In this sense, this book aims at providing a first glance into the complex policy, economic and socio-cultural networks that operate at the local, regional and national levels in areas of Southern Europe affected by desertification, and to analyse how these networks hinder, or promote, the implementation of policies aimed at alleviating the threat of desertification.
List of figures 11; List of tables 13; List of contributors 15; Acknowledgements 17; List of abbreviations 19; Part I - Setting the scene: desertification and policies in Southern Europe 21; 1. Introduction 23; M. Juntti and G.A. Wilson; 1.1 Setting the scene 23; 1.2 Understanding 'desertification': definitions and debates 24; 1.3 Addressing the human dimension of desertification: the EU-funded MEDACTION project 26; 1.4 Nature, networks and interpretative power 29; 2. Desertification and policies: the global, European and national arenas 31; J.J. Onate, M. Juntti and G.A. Wilson; 2.1 Introduction: linking policies and desertification in Southern Europe 31; 2.2 The UNCCD: genesis, objectives and implementation in the Southern European context 32; 2.2.1 Global desertification policies: compromise or coherent solution? 33; 2.2.2 Implementation of the UNCCD in Southern Europe 41; 2.3 Policy impacts on desertification in Southern Europe: the influence of the policy arena beyond the UNCCD 47; 2.3.1 Implicit and explicit policy effects on desertification: some conceptual considerations 48; 2.3.2 Non-UNCCD policies related to desertification in the EU 51; 2.3.3 Agricultural and environmental policy drivers 55; 2.4 Conclusions 59; Part II - Case studies of policy processes and desertification in Southern Europe 61; 3. Using case studies and actor orientation to explore policy impacts on desertification: conceptual and methodological considerations 63; M. Juntti; 3.1 Introduction: analytical focus and aims 63; 3.2 The case study methodology 64; 3.3 The UNCCD and the influence of policies and actor networks on desertification in Southern Europe 68. 4. Desertification and policies in Spain: from land abandonment to intensive irrigated areas 73; J.J. Onate and B. Peco; 4.1 Introduction 73; 4.2 Methods 75; 4.2.1 Rationale of the study 75; 4.2.2 Methods of inquiry 76; 4.3 Historical and institutional framework 78; 4.4 Farm types and perceptions of desertification 82; 4.4.1 Characteristics of surveyed farms 82; 4.4.2 Stakeholder perceptions of desertification 84; 4.5 Policy effects over the past 20 years 85; 4.5.1 Irrigation farming 86; 4.5.2 Dryland farming 90; 4.5.3 Landuse planning policies and the National Action Plan to Combat Desertification 96; 4.6 Conclusions 97; 5. Desertification policies in Italy: new pressures on land and 'desertification' as rural-urban migration 101; A. Povellato and D. Ferraretto; 5.1 The Italian case study area 102; 5.2 Desertification issues 104; 5.2.1 Natural and anthropogenic drivers of desertification 104; 5.2.2 Demographic dynamics in southern Italy 105; 5.2.3 Desertification and depopulation issues in the Agri basin 107; 5.2.4 The influence of farm structural, social and economic factors in the Agri basin 109; 5.2.5 Perceptions of desertification in the Agri basin 110; 5.3 Institutional networks, power relations and desertification 111; 5.3.1 Actor networks 111; 5.3.2 Policy agendas in the Agri basin 113; 5.4 Desertification and policies 115; 5.4.1 The national framework for landuse planning and natural resource management 115; 5.4.2 The role of agricultural and forestry policies in natural resource management 119; 5.4.3 Policies and desertification in the Agri basin 123; 5.5 Conclusions 128; 6. Desertification and policies in Portugal: landuse changes and pressures on local biodiversity 131; M. Vieira and P. Eden; 6.1 The Alentejo: case study area and methodology 131; 6.2 Key policy phases influencing landuse change in Portugal and the Alentejo 133; 6.3 Structural and environmental characteristics of the Alentejo 135. 6.3.1 Socio-economic and geographical features 136; 6.3.2 The current status of protective vegetation cover in the Alentejo 137; 6.4 Desertification issues and policies in the Alentejo 142; 6.4.1 CAP policies as drivers of change 142; 6.4.2 Recent policy drivers of landuse change and desertification 143; 6.4.3 Perceptions of desertification 145; 6.4.4 Desertification and the recent policy arena 148; 6.5 Conclusions 154; 7. Desertification and policies in Greece: implementing policy in an environmentally sensitive livestock area 157; N. Beopoulos and G. Vlahos; 7.1 Introduction 157; 7.1.1 The island of Lesvos 157; 7.1.2 Case study area and methodology 159; 7.2 The role of sheep farming in the north-west of Lesvos 160; 7.3 CAP-related policy drivers and their influence on landuse changes 162; 7.3.1 The importance of Less Favoured Areas policies 162; 7.3.2 Special aid for small islands in the Aegean 163; 7.3.3 Policy measures for the modernisation of holdings 164; 7.3.4 Subsidies linked to sheep and goat meat CMOs 165; 7.4 Policy impacts on farm survival and livestock farming in north-west Lesvos 167; 7.5 Land management practices on sheep farms and implications for desertification 169; 7.6 The local dimension of policy promotion 172; 7.6.1 The role of institutions in charge of policy implementation 172; 7.6.2 Farmers' perceptions of policy implementation mechanisms 174; 7.7 Conclusions 176; Part III - Desertification, policies and actor networks in Southern Europe 179; 8. Actor networks, policies and desertification: some theoretical considerations 181; M. Juntti and G. A. Wilson; 8.1 In search of new concepts of environmental governance 182; 8.2 Contextualising Actor-Network Theory as a part of post-modern interpretations of societal change 185; 8.2.1 Actor-Network Theory: towards a new understanding of human-nature interactions? 185; 8.2.2 Actor-Network Theory and the politics of nature 186; 8.2.3 Actor-Network Theory as a theorisation of power 187; 8.3 Combining Actor-Network Theory and new institutionalist approaches to better understand desertification 189. 9. Actor networks and the implementation of policies affecting desertification in Southern Europe 191; M. Juntti and G.A. Wilson; 9.1 Introduction 191; 9.2 Actor networks and power in policy implementation 193; 9.2.1 Power relationships and networks of interaction 193; 9.2.2 The need to understand discourses, agendas and central actors in the four case study areas 194; 9.3 Discourses of desertification at local level 195; 9.3.1 The 'anthropocentric' interpretation: desertification as depopulation 197; 9.3.2 The 'reductionist agrarian' interpretation: desertification as a non-farming issue 197; 9.3.3 The 'fatalistic' interpretation: desertification as a climate-induced phenomenon 199; 9.3.4 The 'post-productivist' interpretation: desertification caused by agricultural practices 199; 9.3.5 The 'holistic' interpretation: desertification embedded in notions of human intervention with nature 200; 9.3.6 The importance of these interpretations of desertification for actions on the ground 201; 9.4 Policy agendas and desertification in Southern Europe 202; 9.4.1 Policy agendas that enhance desertification 202; 9.4.2 Policy agendas that act towards desertification mitigation 209; 9.4.3 Inter-dependencies between the four policy agendas 210; 9.5 Interfaces between policies and desertification in Southern Europe 212; 10. Conclusions: desertification in Southern Europe - the way forward? 217; G.A. Wilson and M. Juntti; 10.1 The global and international dimensions 217; 10.2 Recommendations for future desertification mitigation in Southern Europe 219; References 223; Index 239.