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The evolution of agrarian practices and its effects on the structure of enclosure Landscapes in the Alt Emporda (Catalonia, Spain), 1957-2001

Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment

Abstract

During the last 50 years, mechanisation of the rural environment, and, more recently, the Common Agricultural Policy have led to profound changes in agrarian landscapes throughout Europe, and in particular in the rich and diverse Mediterranean landscapes (Meeus et al., 1990). In the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula, a small area of hedgerow landscape persists as a remnant of what was once an important centre for livestock production. This paper presents the results of a study carried out in this area with the aim of clarifying the relationship between the structural change of this hedgerow landscape and the evolution of farming practices developed by its owners and workers. It also considers these farmers' perceptions of their pastures, of their farms and of the region. Up to 61 statistically significant relationships were found between the physical landscape characteristic variables and the socio-economical variables. Results depict a hedgerow landscape determined by the combination of two management models. Here, and contrary to conclusions reported in similar literature, traditional pasture activity leads to a weaker hedgerow network than a farming model based on crop cultivation. Management guidance required to move from the current situation towards a hedgerow landscape supporting both biodiversity and agrarian activity is discussed. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author(s): Llausas, A; Ribas, A; Varga, D; Vila, J

Journal: Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment

Year: 2009

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