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rural depopulation and spread of natural habitat

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Offline nick

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« on: September 01, 2007, 17:05 PM »
Hi all,

Any thoughts anyone on this mail? For me it is one of the fundemental issues in Spain

Hi Nick,

I am interested in the relationship between rural depopulation and land reclamation by more natural habitat in Spain. Have you read any articles which discuss this subject? Are you, or do you know any researchers, who are knowledgeable on the subject? If so, I would be grateful for direction.
Nick
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Simon

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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2007, 18:08 PM »
Hi Nick,

Yes, I do know a lot about this issue. But I'm not sure what your correspndent is asking. Depopulation is related to land degredation, agriculture-wise, so perhaps we need to touch base with defnitions here methinks!

Si

Offline nick

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« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2007, 11:11 AM »
Well, they haven't bothered writing back so never mind. It's such a huge topic but ..

"Depopulation is related to land degredation" well it is of course but it is surely more related historically in Spain to changing economic realities.

Nick
http://iberianature.com/barcelona/history-of-barcelona/spanish-civil-war-tour-in-barcelona/
Spanish Civil War Tours in Barcelona
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A guide to the environment, climate, wildlife, & nature of Spain
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Offline glennie

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« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2007, 17:12 PM »
Well, they haven't bothered writing back so never mind. It's such a huge topic but ..

"Depopulation is related to land degredation" well it is of course but it is surely more related historically in Spain to changing economic realities.

'Related to' or 'leads to'?

Simon

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« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2007, 23:02 PM »
Hi Guys,

This may be easier for Nick, but check out an author called Josep Mª Sabartés i Guixés, (a geographer you'll be glad to har Nick!) whose 'L'Èxode Pallarès' (1993) was one of the key works in Mrs S's graduate dissertation! This work focusses on the area of the Catalan Pyrenees but reflects wider trends across Spain. The realation to land degredation is causal, i.e. without the labour to work it agricultural land reverted to 'nature', althought there were some factors which 'pushed' depopulation, e.g. phylloxera, and others which 'pulled' the exodus, i.e Barcelona's industrial 'magnet'.

Since then immigration has changed everything, however, especially that from eastern Europe as immigrants from there have brought a skills base and a large degee of financial investment in small businesses. This is in contast to immigarion from the Mahgreb or sub-Saharan Africa who tend to be fill the unskilled abour gap or immigrants from Latin America who tend to be much more transient. much of the statements in this paragraph are based on personal observations, however, so please try to seek confirmation, perhaps from the Generalitat or the Diputaciós.

Sorry to appear so Catalan focussed but it's our patch and a useful microcosm for trends across Spain in general! An imprttant feature to note is that the devekpmemt of indurtailisation of cities like Barcelona and Bilbao drew population first from their own hinterland, i.e late ninteenth centurythen from further afield within Spain, i.e during the early twentieth centur and the post (civil) war period, in 'waves'. This had (still has) a great influence on local economies as short range migrants were able not ony to remit cash to family farms, historically very important in Catalonia, i.e. the 'hereu' and 'caballer' tradition, in which ther farm was passed to the eldest offsrping while the remainder were packed off with a 'cabal' in thier psket to make thier fortune (this dates back to the XIII C), but also contribute their labour at harvest time, etc.

More: I keep meaning to add to Clive's post re, deforestation, Pliny the elder, etc. but never find the time:  there were important social changes in the XIII and XIV centuries that led to a big increase in de-forestation and the development of the Ebro delta, i.e. the feudal system moved towards a more modern, cash based economy (well, sort of) until the Black Death, plague, civil wars, etc. put a stop to it. The evidence is very indirect but check out the hisories of 'Masias' - the social syste of rural farmsteads in Catalonia. Re-population is Castile, Leon, etc. folloed a diffrent pattern based on the expanson of the monasteries, etc. but that is off my patch somewhat so I'm more wooly, (if that's possible!) in that direction.

Sorry to be so garbled, hope tis gives some hints!

Simon

Offline nick

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« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2007, 23:20 PM »
Food for thought as always Simon

Nick
http://iberianature.com/barcelona/history-of-barcelona/spanish-civil-war-tour-in-barcelona/
Spanish Civil War Tours in Barcelona
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A guide to the environment, climate, wildlife, & nature of Spain
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Simon

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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2007, 07:42 AM »
An important error correction: the wa a very impoortant large migration to the Basque Country from Andalusia during the XIX C. I don't know much about the Basque country or its history but have read that this led to the Basque nationalist movement (see John Hopper, The New Spaniards, 1986)

Another poit that may be more elevant to the origina query: the shortage of shepherding had lead to more undergrowth in the forests, aking the impact of forest fires greater, i.e. fires gain more intensity quickly and all of the actual trees start to burn as opposed to a suffiicient number being scorched lightly enouch to survive.

Simon

Offline nick

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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2007, 10:56 AM »
Immigration would have been one of the factors that led to Basque Nationalism, but the other much more important reason (and impossible without the former) was the Basque industrial revolution and the local bourgeoisie wanting to protect their own capital.
Nick
http://iberianature.com/barcelona/history-of-barcelona/spanish-civil-war-tour-in-barcelona/
Spanish Civil War Tours in Barcelona
http://www.iberianature.com/
A guide to the environment, climate, wildlife, & nature of Spain
The Amazon/Forum Bookshop - lend us a hand
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/shop/index.htm
And also now The Natural History of Britain
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Simon

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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2007, 22:39 PM »
As I said Nick, I'm very much in the dark over these issues!
Simon

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2008, 23:38 PM »
Greetings All

The grotesque
Quote
Warning: this topic has not been posted in for at least 120 days.
Unless you're sure you want to reply, please consider starting a new topic.
* notwithstanding, the following article at elpaís.com is v. interesting.

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La España que aún se desangra
Falta de inmigración y de empleo - Las zonas fronterizas con Portugal pierden población en un país de imparable crecimiento demográfico

JOSEBA ELOLA 20/01/2008

*surely a thread that was active in September 2007 is historically close enough to be considered an active thread still, i.e. is there any way of delaying that awful writing in red (as in this topic has not been posted in for at least 365 days) - think about what will happen when we iberianatureforumers, back home from a great day out in the bush, exhausted but elated with news of sightings of birds, boars, badgers, bats or boletus, have to face the screen in a year's time ...

Regs.,
Technopat
« Last Edit: January 20, 2008, 23:41 PM by Technopat »
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Simon

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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2008, 07:43 AM »
Hi Teeps (and anyone else who likes old threads!)

I saw the issue on the TV news the other day and that article is really interesting. I think one key point is  the frontier issue which. The same applied to our 'comarca', which lies on the border bewteen Catalonia and Aragon, we certainly feel very forgotten - there's even a local refrain "Catalunya se termine a Camarasa" (you'll have to look this up on the map to see what I mean, look out the huge natural barrier of the Sierra de Montsec and Tremp nestling in its basin beyond) we certainly used to feel very left out until new roads came in. Now there are lots of 'Novas' from Barcelona but still a general downward trend in population.

It's an interesting point about the PPs attitute to regeneration, the powers that b. wanting to hang on  to power despite the self destructive consequences - memories of 'caciquismo' here!!!

But if anythng one has to watch out for the opposite. Out local PTB, where the ERC have an important influence, push frankly barking schemes in order to attract jobs (that awful mantra from Mrs you-know-who!), the latest being a bid to get one of Catalonia's four new big prisons!

Check out the following for another example: http://www.teruelexiste.net/

Cheers

Simon

PS I fully support the Techo arguement about keeping old threads alive!


Offline nick

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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2008, 11:07 AM »
Didn't buy El Pais for a change this Sunday so many thanks TP: Will be doing a summary for the blog.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2008, 12:07 PM by nick »
Nick
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Offline Clive

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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2008, 13:13 PM »
Hi all, This depopulation of the country side is an odd subject. Although I see figures that tell me people have been and still are moving to cities and abandoning the countryside I do find that the countryside (where I live) seems to be getting busier.

Of course the difference is that people are buying second homes for holiday and weekend use and this in general means that the land that was once "farmed" is now left for a kind of natural wildlife recovery. There are also a lot of "foreigners" like me that are living permanently in the country in places that had been abandoned many years before or solely used for weekend use.


Quote
*surely a thread that was active in September 2007 is historically close enough to be considered an active thread still, i.e. is there any way of delaying that awful writing in red (as in this topic has not been posted in for at least 365 days) - think about what will happen when we iberianatureforumers, back home from a great day out in the bush, exhausted but elated with news of sightings of birds, boars, badgers, bats or boletus, have to face the screen in a year's time ...

Don't panic Tp. set it to 365 days.... :)
Explore the nature of Iberia at www.wildsideholidays.com

The beautiful town of Ronda, the City of Dreams?

The spectacular Caminito del Rey, El Chorro and Guadalhorce reservoirs El Camino del Rey

Offline nick

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« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2008, 14:34 PM »
In part my rambling summary and in part my own thoughts on the subject.
http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/2008/01/21/rural-depopulation-in-spain/

The overall Spanish population is rising rapidly, and has recently topped 45 million people, confounding all predictions made just a few years ago. But, the only areas which are growing are those where immigration has reached. Parts of Spain, particularly in the West in the areas bordering Portugal, are still depopulating at an alarming rate.  The provinces of Salamanca Leon, Zamora and Caceres have all lost people between 2006 and 2007. Orense, Lugo and Asturias are also in decline. The population of Salamanca fell by more 0.5 percent, though Guijuelo countered this trend with its role as a pole of regional development, attracting employment to the Iberian ham industry. In contrast, Zamora has been in freefall since 2000. 

Professor Valantín Cabrero believes the problem is that Spain and Portugal “have always lived with their backs to each other, and if it were not for EU aid, the area would be a desert”, in contrast to the border between France and Spain.  “Here (along the Portuguese border) are now areas with a Siberian demography with four to five inhabitants”. Projects have to struggle against decades of decline, heightened, historically, by dictatorship on both sides of the border. The young left these village en masse in the 1960s. Ever since they have been slowly dying. With thousands of villages all across Spain now populated by just a handful of old people, within ten years many will become ghost settlements, only visited by returning emigrants in the summer months. This will also have a huge effect on the landscapes and ecologies of the areas surrounding them, as many of these elderly people still work as small-holder farmers, cutting back scrub, keeping fields open. In many cases, they are the last of tradition dating back 2000 years.

In addition to promoting immigration, Cabrero believes the old La Plata railway should be reopened.  “It would help save energy and reactivate the economy”.  In contrast, waxing geographically as these people do, “autovias are tunnels of passage between faraway spaces”. Building roads in an area without people will not, in itself, attract them to move back, although it might increase day trippers.

One of the greatest problems of the rural world is the absence of county-wide policies, which are capable of organising and planning macro areas. Each village functions as its own microcosm, its own mini-republic, if you were. This is killing the rural world.

Another way forward is that provided by the new project, RUNA, organised by the Fundación Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, which seeks to combine rural life with the natural world, and hand back the custody of the latter to the people who live in isolated rural areas, and who, by accident or design, over the centuries managed to foster such a rich biodiversity. This is to be a partnership between those who live and work in the rural world (farmers, hunters, foresters, etc) and those who work in natural history (biologists, wardens and environmentalists), turning biodiversity into an economic asset which can foster sustainable development and bring young people back.
Nick
http://iberianature.com/barcelona/history-of-barcelona/spanish-civil-war-tour-in-barcelona/
Spanish Civil War Tours in Barcelona
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A guide to the environment, climate, wildlife, & nature of Spain
The Amazon/Forum Bookshop - lend us a hand
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/shop/index.htm
And also now The Natural History of Britain
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Offline Clive

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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2008, 15:21 PM »
Interesting Nick,

But, nobody wants to build dry stone walls any more or lay hedges or clear scrub. These essential "artesanal" practises are how the tapestry of "managed" countryside evolved. As far as i am aware in the whole of the Sierra de Grazalema I am the only person who can, and is willing to build a stone wall in the time honoured fashion (without the use of cement).

The activities I mention are frowned upon as a peasant life. One that is looked down upon as "The old days". None the less they are important and the decline of certain bird species as mentioned by Lucy over on the bird board is mixed up in this distaste of rural living and the damned hard work it entails..

I am just an eccentric guiri and my neighbours must wonder why I am building these walls and Why I want to start a project to repair a 500 metres walled cañada, floor and all.

Young people do not want this lifestyle and the old ones who, in many cases, lived it because they had no other choice are dying. There simply is not the labour force any more to "control" the countryside and so it is in places re establishing itself as a Mediterranean landscape.

What a fascinating subject....
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2008, 16:48 PM »
Greetings All,
Off on one of me irreverent irrelevent tangents, and re. Clive's "controlling the countryside" remark, I remember that over at the gold course thread I referred to the R&A complaining about the "inconvenience of letting nature run riot and woodlands overgrowing ..."
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http://www.randa.org/
R and A (geddit?) is the world golfing authority and addresses the issue and their concerns extensively on their web site. And they refer to best practices in designing new golf courses. (As for existing ones, came across a humdinger in there somewhere, but have since been unable to find it, in which they mention the inconvenience of letting nature run riot and woodlands overgrowing onto the fairways through careless management.)

Maybe we can set up a thread debating the beauty/pros and cons of "wild" woodlands versus carefully-cared-for gardens, as in Versailles. I know which I prefer  :dancing:

Regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline nick

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« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2008, 17:09 PM »
Mmm..

I don't think it is a question of bringing young people back to toil in the fields. That is not going to happen.

It's a question of promoting modern-day activities which are compatible with (or better still foster) the rural environment. These might include:

rural tourism,
wardens, wildlife guides, etc
hunting (yes, hunting)
fishing
forestry
local produce (needs very good channels of commercialisition to work)
e-work (possibly the most important)

None, alone will work. Most, in most areas, will fail. But... it's a big country and there are already examples of it succeeding



« Last Edit: January 21, 2008, 17:10 PM by nick »
Nick
http://iberianature.com/barcelona/history-of-barcelona/spanish-civil-war-tour-in-barcelona/
Spanish Civil War Tours in Barcelona
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A guide to the environment, climate, wildlife, & nature of Spain
The Amazon/Forum Bookshop - lend us a hand
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/shop/index.htm
And also now The Natural History of Britain
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Offline tonyninfas

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« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2008, 18:32 PM »
Hmmm.  I remeber asking our young spanish teacher once what she thought of us english moving in and buying up homes in the countryside.  Her reply was that she thought it was a shame as it meant that we were preventing the young Spaniards from buying them.  I pointed out that we were infact maintaining the land and that our immediate nieghbours only came out every other weekend, spent one night, weeded a little and then went back to Tarragona until the next time.  As for the young Spaniards, she is herself one and has one flat in Tortosa, one in Barcelona and another in a local seaside resort - so not exactly an example of those she was referring to !!

Offline Clive

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« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2008, 18:58 PM »
Hi All,

Nick I take your points but I maintain that it is the year in year out work on clearing land and controlling already cleared land that is the focal point of man and the environment.. Walls repaired and cañadas repaved. Fields cleaned and trees coppiced and pollarded.

It makes no difference at all that we have here 200 people working for the nature park... None of them actually do anything "practical"

There needs to be a "workforce" that does the manual labour... It is no good clearing a field of rocks to sow wheat just once... The rocks come to the surface every year as the world turns and like a sugar bowl all the lumps come to the surface...

No one has worked the fields behind my house properly for 30 years and it would now take years of many peoples effort to clear them again and get them to that delicate balance of "man and nature". Eden?

My point is that all the items in Nicks list need a backbone of country dwellers that do the practical work.... There is no one that wants to be the backbone any more. its hard work and harks back to the days of peasants. Why eat yesterdays bread when you can throw it away buy todays fresh?

Until the next generations decide to work the fields again the "nature" will continue to re occupy the land that was once virgin. Only this time it also repopulates with plants and animals that may have been introduced when the time was that the people thought they were "managing" the land...

A difficult argument Tony. Does the influx of "guiris", "foreigners", "grockels" change the value of property and land and prevent locals from buying a house in the shire of their birth? yes it does, I think this has happened the world over. Especially when an area is developed for its natural beauty and tranquillity. However, In my experience after the initial rush things settle down and it is very often the outsider that becomes the defender of his/her adopted home....

Lots to think about....
« Last Edit: January 21, 2008, 19:04 PM by Wildside »
Explore the nature of Iberia at www.wildsideholidays.com

The beautiful town of Ronda, the City of Dreams?

The spectacular Caminito del Rey, El Chorro and Guadalhorce reservoirs El Camino del Rey

Offline nick

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« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2008, 19:40 PM »
Sorry but can we avoid this conversation lurching into guiris vs Spanih. This is not what this thread is about!
Nick
http://iberianature.com/barcelona/history-of-barcelona/spanish-civil-war-tour-in-barcelona/
Spanish Civil War Tours in Barcelona
http://www.iberianature.com/
A guide to the environment, climate, wildlife, & nature of Spain
The Amazon/Forum Bookshop - lend us a hand
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/shop/index.htm
And also now The Natural History of Britain
http://iberianature.com/brita