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Farmers' participation in conservation of rural landscapes: A case study of the Menorca Biosphere Reserve (Spain)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In an European context of agricultural land abandonment, the role of the farming community as landscape stewards is crucial for maintaining the rural landscape as well as the ecosystem services provided by this landscape. Such stewardship is studied here by assessing the participation of the farming community in the management of Menorca Biosphere Reserve, a small Mediterranean island with very well conserved and rich rural landscape which is not escaping this tendency of land abandonment. A survey of 41 farms and interviews with 15 stakeholders were performed in order to assess the role of the farming community in participatory management processes and the effectiveness of the Menorca Biosphere Reserve Agency (MBRA) in facilitating their participation.The results show that the participatory activities of the MBRA are effective and highly valued by participating stakeholders but could be improved by: 1) engaging non-associated farmers and traditional farmers in the MBRA activities 2) finding a consensual and long-term solution on issues related to the access to private rural land 3) providing rapid feedback to participants after meetings and 4) transforming the MBRA structure in order to deal with changes and an uncertain future. Failing to do this could illegitimate further participatory activities, erode trust among stakeholders and alienate the farming community and the society, thereby affecting the maintenance of the rural landscape.This case study highlights the importance of appropriate management structure for adaptive co-management to benefit from the participation of stakeholders in general and farmers in particular. The findings should be of interest to managers, scholars and practitioners using adaptive co-management approaches to manage complex social-ecological systems such as rural, cultural landscapes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 65 p.
Keyword [en]
adaptive co-management, biosphere reserve, social-ecological system, rural landscape, agricultural land abandonment, Menorca, Menorca Biosphere Reserve Agency, stakeholder, participation, cooperation, stewardship, farmer, landowner, trust.
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Ecology Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-99774OAI: diva2:688712
2014-01-14, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2014-01-17 Created: 2014-01-17 Last updated: 2014-09-18Bibliographically approved

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Stockholm Resilience Centre
Social Sciences InterdisciplinaryEcologyEnvironmental Sciences

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