Adaptation strategies of local land users
|Authors:||Cecelia De Ita, Lindsay Stringer, Luuk Fleskens, Andy Dougill, with input from study sites
|Source document:||De Ita et al. (2015) Report on stakeholder adaptation strategies in the CASCADE study sites. CASCADE Project Deliverable 8.1.|
The interaction of human and biophysical factors has resulted in many changes to Mediterranean drylands, and in some areas has resulted in productivity losses and desertification. The inherent aridity and unfavourable soils, with poor water holding capacity, low organic content and low nutrient levels, inhibit primary production and ecosystem resilience. Coupled with negative impacts from agriculture through contaminates such as nitrates, pesticides and heavy metals, and the effects these have on already scarce water resources, the future sustainability of the region’s drylands is in question. Problems of degradation are expected to intensify as temperature and rainfall extremes increase under climate change. Such changes are expected to exacerbate fire-related challenges in some areas of the region (e.g. Portugal) and problems of erosion on sloping land (e.g. in Spain). At the same time, social and institutional pressures, including policy-driven financial, incentive and resource allocation decisions, look set to add further to land quality changes and associated adverse conditions.
Environmental problems are typically complex, uncertain, multi-scale and affect multiple stakeholders. These often interdependent factors demand transparent decision-making that has the ability to be flexible to variable and changing circumstances, and which embraces a diversity of knowledge and values. As environmental management is site-specific, the development of appropriate measures requires the integration of biophysical, socio-economic and socio-environmental information. To achieve this, stakeholder participation is increasingly being sought and embedded into environmental research and decision-making processes, from local to international scales.
Participatory processes have been used to gather knowledge about land degradation and to build a bridge between local communities and researchers. Stakeholder engagement can create greater awareness of environmental problems, facilitate participation in the development of solutions, and promote consciousness about environmental issues within society as a whole. Inclusive working approaches are gradually becoming more visible in policy making in some parts of the Mediterranean, with shifts towards a collaborative approach involving the general public in sustainable development decision making. Additional knowledge and learning obtained through participation and collaborative processes offers policy makers more robust and substantiated data and evidence based on local factors. This can inform their decision making when reviewing, adjusting or applying a specific environmental policy.
This section of CASCADiS takes stakeholder engagement as its starting point. In it we explore:
- whether stakeholders have noticed changes in environmental conditions and/or regime changes, and how they adapted to those changes, over and up to a period of 20 years from the present, and
- what kind of changes they expect to witness in the future (up to 20 years from the present) as well as what future changes, strategies and adaptation measures they perceive they might make to their land use and management, in order to adapt to those possible future changes.
The detailed results from each each study site can be found here.
Achieving these aims provides useful information that can help to pinpoint where policy support might be needed in order to aid adaptation.