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.


In Albatera, the changes that were perceived by stakeholders were mostly environmental and due to land use shifts. Land use changes further consisted of abandonment of agricultural areas, agricultural use of forested areas and the consequent loss of forested areas, rangeland abandonment and an increase in croplands. Contrasting views were found in the individual responses. While a local government representative only mentioned a positive change because of reforestation efforts (carried out at the end of 1960 and throughout the 1970s, due to policy and economic drivers), an environmental researcher only mentioned “landscape degradation” during the last 20 years (due to causes such as “poor recovery of previously degraded land, failed past reforestations and mining and water channelling works“). However, both mentioned successful reforestation efforts as an adaptation measure. An important land use change was recognized due to transition from rain-fed to irrigated agriculture, mainly on the foothills, as a result of new structures linked to Tajo-Segura inter-basin transfers.  

Table: Drivers of change identified by stakeholders in Albatera, Spain.

  Governmental institutions Researchers Sedentary land managers operating at small scale Transient land users (Hunter/Hiking association)
Changes in agricultural practices (use of irrigation) X   X  X
Intensity of grazing X      
Loss of vegetation (lack of recovery)   X    
Mining   X    
Changes in the value  of produce     X X
Rainfall decrease       X
Intensity of visitors        X
Urbanization       X

Awareness-raising was viewed as an adaptation measure by a representative of a hiking association and local blogger: “I practice constant educational and awareness-raising work through my association and through a personal blog. My association regularly organizes and promotes cleaning and restoration activities in disturbed areas.” Such efforts can be seen as both an adaptation and an effort that underpins the adaptation and behavioural change of other groups. However, it was also noted that land abandonment and environmental impacts were the unavoidable result of the low profits from agriculture, and the lack of financial incentives.

It was not possible to assess the degree of agreement between stakeholders during the focus group due to the way in which data were recorded. However, during the focus group, stakeholders recognized the importance of environmental restoration as alternative land management options, and the need to protect current resources. Stakeholders recognized that during the last 10 years the major driver of change has been urbanization, and an increase in outdoor activities. Regarding the low profitability of the crops, stakeholders perceived that their options are to replace traditional plantations such as olive, almond and carob trees with more profitable ones such as fig, pomegranate and lemon trees, as well as to either expand irrigation, or abandon land.  At the same time, they recognized the importance of optimizing water use, and to implement tailored policies for the management of semi-arid land.

Table: Summary of future expectations, alternative land management options and policy/economic support required by stakeholder groups in Albatera, Spain.

Stakeholder groups What future regime changes do you expect?  What alternative land management options will you consider? What policy / economic support is required to facilitate the adaptations and changes you mentioned?
Local political institutions  •    If agriculture is not profitable, water supplies will diminish, leading to cropland abandonment, followed by natural vegetation colonization, but also severe erosion and resource losses.  •    Recovery of interesting or suitable private areas to the public domain to be restored.
•    Special protection to prevent severe removal of vegetation cover
•    Financial contributions to recover public ownership of certain areas and to restore them.
Government institutions  •    No major changes, stability and reduced fire risk. •    Restoration of riparian vegetation to improve the drainage network •    Support for permanent forest management and maintenance works
Researchers •    No changes in terms of new restoration effort, given the economic situation and the trend of recent years •    Maintain forest management and hydrological control
•    Forest management alternatives that promote environmental education, recreation and economic activities
•    Combined and coordinated financial support from the European Union, regional, and local governments.
Sedentary land managers operating at small scale (farmer) •    No changes, if agricultural products continue to be profitable  and water for supplied
•    A disaster if drought periods (frequency and duration) increase
•    Changes in crop types •    Secure water supply
Transient land users (hunter) •    If precipitation does not increase the changes that occurred in the past will be worse and faster •    Change from punctual reforestations to continuous (annual) restoration programs •    A sustained increase in material, human and financial resources
Transient land users (representative of hiking association) and NGO •    Probably the Tajo-Segura inter-basin transfer will not last or be functional for long, affecting irrigation agriculture
•    Future drier conditions driven by climate-change will affect future reforestation actions.
•    Hunting and livestock may decline.
•    If intensive recreational uses, livestock and hunting continue, the local flora and fauna will be adversely affected.
•    Evaluation of current management options •    Consideration of long term impacts, and all  groups affected in decision making.
•    Valiant local authorities, that take proper action when necessary- even if unpopular decisions have to be taken
•    Educational work with recreational users

Note: For an overview results of the workshops on identifying adaptation strategies in all study sites and the concluding recommendations see »Adaptation strategies.

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