Authors: Cecelia De Ita, Lindsay Stringer, Luuk Fleskens, Andy Dougill, with input from study sites
Editor: Jane Brandt
Source document: De Ita et al. (2015) Report on stakeholder adaptation strategies in the CASCADE study sites. CASCADE Project Deliverable 8.1.


Different stakeholders typically have different suggestions and hold different priorities, therefore decision making and the prioritization of measures will require stakeholder engagement at every stage of the process. Further research will be important to gather information from female stakeholders, as this can increase our understanding of the relationship between land and livelihoods. A more gendered approach requires a methodology to be designed that captures differences between males and females. Where possible this will be considered in future CASCADE stakeholder sampling.

The relation between different governance levels working on adaptation is often overlooked. Cross-sector organisations will need to be appropriately designed and tailored to the ethos of both stakeholders and institutions. Different stakeholders mentioned diverse levels of autonomy and state intervention as being desirable. While in Spain stakeholders demanded strong decision making, in Italy it was proposed that adaptation action should be organised through land user cooperatives that may require different levels of autonomy. Such stakeholder organisation needs to be dynamic, with institutions able to recognise how individuals and the community work and to acknowledge their efforts and empower them by facilitating participation in community efforts towards environmental management.

Although participation is required, the benefits of strong law enforcement and decision making were also recognized. Stakeholders in Albatera, Spain mentioned the need for strong and informed decision makers, able to take appropriate decisions despite the unconformity of some sectors.

Current conflicts between farmers and shepherds in several of the study sites due to overgrazing indicate that strong communication and organizational efforts are vital, not only for environmental management, but to prevent further conflicts within the community. The offer of alternative livelihoods for shepherds as well as options for less extensive grazing, and site-specific policies for grazing are needed. It was noticed by CASCADE researchers that educated farmers in Greece seem to support intensive grazing.

Promoting stakeholders’ visions of long-term environmental management which consider the reconciliation of environmental management with rural traditions, may facilitate stakeholder engagement in new proposals and management schemes to help avoid regime changes or reduce their negative impacts. However, economic aspects must not be overlooked. While technological alternatives can help to decrease land degradation, policy incentives to boost the viability of these measures need to be in place. Finally, adaptation strategies can sometimes increase problems or create new ones. Efforts towards adaptation and environmental management therefore need to be monitored in order to assess which strategies are successful and helping to build adaptive capacity and which are leading to further problems. An indicator system or other type of standardised assessment could help to monitor the success of the measures, and inform the decision making of future steps.

Measures for fire prevention efforts and environmental conservation need to consider short term and long term consequences for land users, to avoid disengagement and land abandonment. Incentives and strategies to prevent land abandonment need to be in place, with efforts approached from different angles, in order to develop a comprehensive strategy that includes social, cultural and economic considerations. Particular factors that need to be considered include the revalorisation of rural practices, incentives and support to new generations in the form of education and financing, and the formation of cooperatives and other communal efforts. Communication between stakeholders should be improved in order to maximise efficiency and knowledge transfer. A simple example of this is that land users should notify the fire service when they decide to clear land or burn cuttings.

Stakeholders are complementing their subsistence products with imports, which has food security implications that need to be considered in future management and adaptation programmes. New techniques, alternative activities such as ecotourism, promoting local culture, integrating IT technology into farming practices and the development of product certification were some of the adaptation measures that stakeholders mentioned. These indicated that along with subsidies, programmes and workshops are necessary (for building adaptive capacity through training) to support the development of such measures. In Italy and Greece, programmes aiming to engage younger generations are vital, due to migration and the abandonment of rural practices. Such training should include the adoption of new technologies as well as the dissemination of local knowledge. However, stakeholders also mentioned the need for more informed and specialized decision makers and technicians, suggesting that training needs to be provided for every sector of the community and also for a range of different stakeholders.

Supporting small scale farmers to comply with bureaucracy and legislation or a flexible administration is vital. Most farmers have serious problem accessing markets because they cannot afford to produce according to the necessary EU standards. This is a major hindering factor for land management as land users are forced to remain small-scale and do not have funds to improve management and/or to adapt. National/EU subsidies have further caused major land abandonment in Italy and Cyprus.

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