PhD Thesis by Iago Otero 25 March 2010


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The rural-urban socioecological transformation of Mediterranean mountain areas under global change. Local studies in Olzinelles and Matadepera (Barcelona Metropolitan Region)

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PhD Thesis by Iago Otero 25 March 2010

  1. 1. The rural-urban socioecological transformation of Mediterranean mountain areas under global change Local studies in Olzinelles and Matadepera (Barcelona Metropolitan Region) Iago Otero Armengol Supervisor: Dr. Martí Boada Juncà Doctoral Thesis in Environmental Sciences
  2. 2. Contents <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Research questions </li></ul><ul><li>Study areas </li></ul><ul><li>Case studies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Loss of water availability and stream biodiversity under land abandonment and climate change (Olzinelles valley) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Socioecological heritage in Mediterranean landscapes (Olzinelles) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Water scarcity, social power and the production of an elite suburb. The political ecology of water in Matadepera </li></ul></ul><ul><li>General conclusions </li></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction Natural protected areas in Catalonia (accessed 15/3/2010)
  4. 4. Introduction Background <ul><li>Conservation vs. development. </li></ul><ul><li>City vs. countryside. </li></ul><ul><li>Nature vs. society. </li></ul><ul><li>Land abandonment  ecosystem recovery or degradation? </li></ul><ul><li>Forest transitions  to be or not to be enhanced? </li></ul><ul><li>Suburbanization  spontaneous process or political choice? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Introduction This thesis is aimed at… <ul><li>Helping to overcome binary distinctions to better understand the coupled SES and its change over time in a holistic way. </li></ul><ul><li>Showing that some rural activities are indispensable for the conservation of cultural landscapes. </li></ul><ul><li>Shedding light on the effects of forest recoveries on water discharge and biodiversity at a local scale. </li></ul><ul><li>Supporting the notion of historical interrelatedness and hybridity between the rural and the urban domains. </li></ul><ul><li>Showing how suburbanization is the outcome of political struggles between different social groups with unequal distribution of the costs and benefits of socioecological change. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Introduction Global change IPCC (2007)
  7. 7. Introduction Global change Foley et al. (2005) Science
  8. 8. Sala et al. (2000) Science Introduction Global change in the Mediterranean
  9. 9. Research questions <ul><li>Land-use changes, climate changes, and hydrological changes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the increase in forest cover after land abandonment experienced by MMA leading to reduced water yields from the catchments? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the role of changing climate and how does it interact with land-use changes in the hydrological balance of the catchments? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May changes in the biodiversity of small streams be expected due to global change induced hydrological changes? </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Research questions <ul><li>Mountain areas and urban centers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What was the role of MMA in the vicinity of growing urban centers during the industrialization process and how did it change over time? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How did the their SES adapt to the growing demand of materials and energy? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How were the local management practices related to their particular cultural context, and how did they contribute to the maintenance of a diverse SES? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the debate about the conservation of biocultural diversity useful in industrialized countries? </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Suburbanization and socioecological projects: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How different visions of the future by different social groups collided in the process of suburbanization of the countryside? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whose socioecological projects prevailed and why? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How have landless peasants been affected by the processes of suburbanization? What should be learnt from their memories? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why some areas of the countryside specialize in elite suburbanization while others follow the path of land abandonment? </li></ul></ul>Research questions
  12. 12. Study areas: Matadepera and Olzinelles (BMR) Matadepera Catalonia
  13. 13. Study areas: Matadepera and Olzinelles (BMR) Courtesy of G. Estany Scrubland Dry land Cork oak forest Holm oak forest Mixed forest Riverside forest Urban Roads Unproductive
  14. 14. Courtesy of J.L. Hernández Study areas: Matadepera 2007 1940?
  15. 15. Study areas: Olzinelles ~ 1980 2007 Can Pota, abandoned farmhouse
  16. 16. Case study 1 Loss of water availability and stream biodiversity under land abandonment and climate change in a Mediterranean catchment (Olzinelles valley) Under review in Land Use Policy I. Otero, M. Boada, A. Badia, E. Pla, J. Vayreda, S. Sabaté, C.A. Gracia, J. Peñuelas
  17. 17. Case study 1 Introduction Piñol et al. (1998) Clim. Change
  18. 18. Case study 1 Introduction Gallart & Llorens (2003) Water Int.
  19. 19. Case study 1 Study site: Olzinelles valley <ul><li>828 ha </li></ul><ul><li>T = 14.6 ºC </li></ul><ul><li>P = 703 mm </li></ul><ul><li>Intermittent stream </li></ul><ul><li>Farmhouses </li></ul>
  20. 20. Case study 1 Methods <ul><li>Demographic database using censuses from the City Archives of Sant Celoni and the Parish Archives of Olzinelles (1924-2007). </li></ul><ul><li>Photointerpretation of aerial photographs and overlapping of land-cover maps by GIS and field work (1956-2002). </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis of temperature, precipitation and rainfall patterns from the Collsacreu meteorological station (1977-2007). </li></ul><ul><li>Simulation with GOTILWA+ forest model (Gracia & Sabaté, CREAF): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Input data: daily temperature and rainfall, 3rd NFI (7 subcatchments). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aggregation of runoff output at catchment level. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Aquatic fauna: review of surveys and own sampling of 5 species. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Case study 1 Results: depopulation
  22. 22. Case study 1 Results: afforestation (1956-2002) 0.0 0.0 100.0 827.6 100.0 827.6 Total area 0.0 0.2 0.2 1.3 0.1 1.1 Bare soil 0.3 2.4 0.5 3.9 0.2 1.6 Houses ( masos ) -0.1 -1.2 0.3 2.3 0.4 3.5 Shrubland 1.8 15.3 2.9 24.0 1.0 8.7 Plantation of plane trees and poplars -4.4 -36.1 3.1 25.3 7.4 61.5 Fields 2.4 19.5 93.1 770.8 90.8 751.3 Forest % ha % ha % ha Δ 56-02 2002 1956 Land-cover
  23. 23. Case study 1 Results: farmland transformation (1956-2002)
  24. 24. Case study 1 Results: decrease in firewood felling Otero et al. (2008) ICHN
  25. 25. Case study 1 Results: afforestation reforestation + tree density 2002 1956
  26. 26. Case study 1 Results: warming  increased aridity
  27. 27. Case study 1 Results: validation of simulation Bernal & Sabater (2008) Hydrol. Process. Acuña et al. (2007) J. N. Am. Benthol. Soc. Bernal et al. (2006) Biogeochemistry Sabater et al. (2008) Sci. Total Environ. 79 96 3 675.7 15.1 125-558 8.3 Olzinelles 98 Forest cover (%) 136 Average discharge 1/2001-7/2002 (ls -1 ) 2 Agrarian cover (%) 709.6 Mean annual R 1997-2003 (mm) 13.8 Mean annual T 1997-2003 (ºC) 95-773 Altitudinal gradient (m) 10.5 Catchment area (km 2 ) Fuirosos
  28. 28. Case study 1 Results: simulated runoff
  29. 29. Case study 1 Results: simulated runoff-rainfall ratio
  30. 30. Case study 1 Results: loss of fauna species ( 1980s ) Vulnerable Austropotamobius pallipes White-clawed crayfish Least concern Squalius cephalus Chub Vulnerable Arvicola sapidus Water vole Near threatened Barbus meridionalis Mediterranean barbel Critically endangered Anguilla anguilla European eel IUCN Red List status Scientific name Common name
  31. 31. Case study 1 Conclusions <ul><li>In mountain areas historically devoted to forestry, the afforestation experienced in the last decades is too small to have a significant influence on runoff. </li></ul><ul><li>Decreases in RR ratio may be related to drier periods, longer droughts and increased potential evapotranspiration rates. </li></ul><ul><li>Specific measures such as enhancing the pools that keep water throughout the year are needed to maintain aquatic fauna species. </li></ul><ul><li>The hydrological effects of increased canopy covers should be considered in further studies (Llorens & Domingo, 2007; Muzylo et al., 2009). </li></ul>
  32. 32. Case study 2 Socioecological heritage in Mediterranean landscapes. The case of the old municipality of Olzinelles To be submitted to Ecology and Society I. Otero, M. Boada, J.D. Tàbara
  33. 33. Case study 2 Introduction: global biocultural diversity Maffi (2005) Annu. Rev. Anthropol.
  34. 34. Case study 2 Introduction “ The morning when we put his body in the cemetery of Olzinelles, all those landscapes became smaller; lost size, contrast and depth” Perejaume Josep Travesa (1930-2006)
  35. 35. Courtesy of S. Piqueras Case study 2 Introduction: Can Pau Foguera
  36. 36. Case study 2 Study site: Olzinelles municipality <ul><li>2287 ha </li></ul><ul><li>Montnegre Mountains </li></ul><ul><li>69% Natural Park </li></ul>Catalonia
  37. 37. Case study 2 Methods <ul><li>Review of information at national, regional, local and family archives: land-uses, agricultural taxes, demography, economic activities (1753-2004). </li></ul><ul><li>In-depth semi-structured interviews to 15 (+5) locals born between 1913 and 1960, transcription, content analysis and synthesis. </li></ul><ul><li>In-depth interviews and knowledge sharing with painter and poet Perejaume. </li></ul><ul><li>Cataloguing of 267 elements of the build environment with field work and GIS, e.g. farmhouses, stone terraces, vineyard huts… </li></ul><ul><li>Review of evidences of biodiversity loss in own surveys and in the Ecological Monitoring Scheme of the Natural Park. </li></ul>
  38. 38. Case study 2 Results: uneven access to land (1853) 9.8 231.1 77.3 187 <3 3.5 82. 5 9.5 23 3-5 3.1 72. 8 4.1 10 5-10 16.2 380.6 5.8 14 10-100 61.8 1452.0 3.3 8 > 100 % study area ha % No. owners estate size ( ha )
  39. 39. Case study 2 Results: changing land-uses with estate size (1853) 74.1 6.4 18.6 Agrarian 25.9 93.6 81.4 Forest 20.4 36.4 31.3 Uncultivated 0.7 0.2 0.6 Chestnut 0.5 0.4 0.4 Poplar groves 2.8 40.6 35.2 Firewood forest 0.1 5.9 5.1 Timber forest 1.4 10.1 8.9 Cork oak forest 57.1 3.3 12.1 Vineyard 17.0 2.8 6.2 Dry land 0.0 0.3 0.3 Irrigated land % < 3 ha % > 100 ha % tax. area Land-use
  40. 40. Case study 2 Results: forest management (example) Cork oak stands ( Quercus suber ) Coppice selection every 7-10 y with cycles of 21-30 y. Sprout selection. Slashing of understorey. Uprooting stumps. Charcoal making. Grazing by pig herds and sheep flocks. Debarking every 14-17 y. Coppice selection. Felling competitor species. Selective slashing of understorey every 20 y. Charcoal making. (Acorn) grazing by pig herds and sheep flocks. Cultivating fodders, cereals, and vegetables. Holm oak stands ( Quercus ilex )
  41. 41. Case study 2 Results: dry land farming (vineyards) Medicinal and aromatic plants; fruit trees; fodders. Secondary crops Planting new vines, hoeing, fertilizing and pruning. Ploughing and grafting vines older than 3 y. Pruning buds, leafs, shoots. Fumigating with S and copper sulphate. Harvesting. Treading and pressing the grapes, boiling, fermentation. Vine farming, production of wine. Cultivation in steep slopes, vines laid out in zigzag, no terracing. Controlling soil erosion and collecting water by zigzag draining ditches. Conserving soil fertility: animal and green manure.
  42. 42. Case study 2 Results: integration and adaptation of productive activities
  43. 43. Photographic Archives of Sant Celoni Case study 2 Results: transmission of knowledge
  44. 44. <ul><li>Moon and plants. </li></ul><ul><li>Lost souls, superstitions, magic beings. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Hearing” natural elements. </li></ul><ul><li>Intangible universe, impossible to be recorded and fixed. </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural modesty, “low voice” speaking. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Cultivation” of space. </li></ul>Case study 2 Results: spirituality in nature
  45. 45. Case study 2 Results: “cultivation” of space M. Boada Perejaume oil on wood 11 x 17.5 cm
  46. 46. Case study 2 Results: sociodemographic changes
  47. 47. × Case study 2 Results: transformation of SES × × × × × × × ×
  48. 48. Case study 2 Results: land-cover changes (1850s-2008)
  49. 49. Case study 2 Results: declining species Species Area Group n.e. n.e. n.e. n.e. n.e. n.p. n.p. n.p. n.p. n.p. Maniola jurtina Polyommatus icarus Lycaena phlaeas Leptotes pirithous Colias crocea Olzinelles Butterflies CR VU VU LC LC LC LC LC n.p. n.p. n.p. n.p. n.p. n.p. n.p. n.p. Geranium lanuginosum Orobanche artemisiae-campestris picrides Spergularia purpurea Erica cinerea Helianthemum tuberaria Isoetes durieui Orobanche teucrii Stachys alpina Montnegre Mountains Plants Cat. IUCN
  50. 50. Case study 2 Results: declining species Mammals Birds Reptiles Group n.e. n.e. LC LC Talpa europaea Lepus europaeus Olzinelles VU DD NT NT LC NT LC LC LC LC LC LC LC LC LC LC LC LC Alectoris rufa Coturnix coturnix Jynx torquilla Lanius senator Miliaria calandra Galerida cristata Alauda arvensis Upupa epops Emberiza cirlus Olzinelles n.e. n.e. n.e. n.e. n.e. n.e. NT LC LC LC LC n.p. Timon lepidus Psammodromus jeanneae Rhinechis scalaris Malpolon monspessulanus Coronella girondica Anguis fragilis Olzinelles Cat. IUCN Species Area
  51. 51. Case study 2 Conclusions <ul><li>The abandonment of a set of agrosilvopastoral practices of adaptive management is related to a decline of several species from different taxonomic groups. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Biocultural degradation” rather than “Ecosystem recovery” (Aide & Grau, 2004) in Mediterranean mountain areas experiencing land abandonment processes. </li></ul><ul><li>Socioecological heritage as a distinctive set of socioecological interactions and practices which yield a particular configuration in both cultural and biological diversities. </li></ul><ul><li>Alternative resource management practices may be devised upon such heritage. </li></ul>
  52. 52. Case study 2 Conclusions “ When you were in Can Pau Foguera, it was not at all nostalgic, it was rather the other way around. It was more like a revolutionary vision, as far as you could realize that there was another possibility in the world: a parallel world” Perejaume
  53. 53. Case study 3 Water scarcity, social power and the production of an elite suburb. The political ecology of water in Matadepera In press in Ecological Economics ( doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.09.011 ) I. Otero, G. Kallis, R. Aguilar, V. Ruiz
  54. 54. Case study 3 Introduction 31/3/2008
  55. 55. Case study 3 Introduction: urbanization and water <ul><li>City and nature are not antithetical entities; cities metabolize nature, producing new, urbanized socionatures. </li></ul><ul><li>Produced socionatures may be seen as better or worse depending on different valuation criteria. </li></ul><ul><li>Uneven power relationships produce uneven control of resources, and socially uneven (urban) landscapes with unequal distribution of the costs and benefits of socioecological change among social groups . </li></ul><ul><li>How, by whom and for what purpose water is mobilized in the process of urbanization? </li></ul>Martinez-Alier (2002); Swyngedouw (2004)
  56. 56. Case study 3 Study site: Matadepera <ul><li>2537 ha </li></ul><ul><li>Sant Llorenç Mountains </li></ul><ul><li>61% Natural Park </li></ul><ul><li>Lawn ~ farmland </li></ul><ul><li>High water consumption </li></ul>Catalonia
  57. 57. Case study 3 Methods <ul><li>Exhaustive review of the City Archives of Matadepera. </li></ul><ul><li>Collection of formal communications between Matadepera's municipal authorities and external individuals or agencies (1919-1979). </li></ul><ul><li>Key documents about water, land and political conflicts were identified, photocopied and text coded. </li></ul><ul><li>Semi-structured interviews to 17 locals born between 1913 and 1958. Recording, transcription and content analysis. </li></ul><ul><li>Results? Narrative. </li></ul>
  58. 58. Case study 3 Results: an uneven society to begin with (1886) <ul><li>9 families own 90% of land; 60 families the remaining 10% (574 residents). </li></ul><ul><li>Forestry, vines, lime: don’t need much water. </li></ul><ul><li>But at turn of century urban elites increasingly attracted by the “clean air” of the mountains. </li></ul><ul><li>No surface water, capital needed to access groundwater. </li></ul>
  59. 59. MATADEPERA CATALONIA & SPAIN Case study 3 Results One family controls town-hall, urbanizations and water. Conflict landlord-peasants for sharecropping contracts. Republican alternative: water and land reform. 2000 1990 1980 1970 1960 1950 1940 1930 1920 1910 1900 1902 Josep Arnau mayor 1914 Foundation of Aguas 1919 Dissolution of Aguas 1922 Foundation of Unió de Rabassaires 1923 Primo de Rivera Dictatorship 1924 Infrastructure of Aguas back to Francisco Arnau 1931 Republican mayor 1932 Municipalization of water supply 1931 2 nd Spanish Republic 1934 Catalan agrarian reform declared unconstitutional and democratic town councils dismissed 1936 Franco military rebellion and start of Civil War
  60. 60. Case study 3 Results Civil War: alternatives to be “decided”. Franco wins, revenge, repression. Land control consolidated, water privatized. MATADEPERA CATALONIA & SPAIN 2000 1990 1980 1970 1960 1950 1940 1930 1920 1910 1900 1936 Murders in La Barata 1936 Franco military rebellion and start of Civil War 1940 Execution of Republicans 1949 Connection to Llobregat system and refoundation of Aguas 1955-56 Population 730 Urban area 38 ha 1939 End of Civil War and start of Franco Dictatorship Council report, without date. City Archives of Matadepera, box 1075.
  61. 61. “ Matadepera… given its geographical conditions… calls for the assignment of a signal-function: a place for resting and summer vacations” Plan de Ordenación de Tarrasa y Matadepera (1951) City Archives of Matadepera, box 540 Case study 3 Results: planned urbanization
  62. 62. “ We did nothing and they kicked us out from our home… The owner [town’s Mayor] told to my father ‘it does not matter whether you have a contract, it is useless, the houses are the houses’, exactly this way” Case study 3 Results: dispossession of sharecroppers Mingo Comasòlivas (1930), 26/11/2007
  63. 63. Case study 3 Results: enrolling water in the transformation of the territory Comisión traída de aguas a Matadepera, December 1947. City Archives of Matadepera, box 854.
  64. 64. “ Not only the current needs of the population will be fulfilled, but also those that in the future may arise … as Matadepera strives to realize its potential as a real holiday-making place” Case study 3 Results: enrolling water in the transformation of the territory President of Aguas to Council, 2 January 1951. City Archives of Matadepera, box 854.
  65. 65. MATADEPERA CATALONIA & SPAIN Case study 3 Results: land-cover changes 1966 Agreement Barata & Serra 1976 Town council enters Board of Aguas 1979 Democratic mayor 1984-86 Population 3493 Urban area 180 ha 1992 Mina majority shareholder of Aguas 2008 Population 8701 Urban area 358 ha 1975 Death of Franco 1978 Democratic constitution 2008 Drought metropolitan region of Barcelona 2000 1990 1980 1970 1960 1950 1940 1930 1920 1910 1900 Courtesy of G. Estany Barata to Mayor, 29 April 1971. City Archives of Matadepera, box 385.
  66. 66. Case study 2 Results: privatizing profits, socializing costs 1956 2004
  67. 67. Case study 3 Conclusions <ul><li>Matadepera became a rich suburb through fights for land and water, not through a spontaneous and inevitable process. </li></ul><ul><li>Water was not scarce per se, but for gentrified suburbanization. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Scarcity” and “progress” were discursively mobilized to justify the chosen path of development. </li></ul><ul><li>Progress can mean different things to different people. </li></ul><ul><li>The question is whose vision of the future came to be realized and whose vision (and livelihood) to be erased. </li></ul>
  68. 68. General conclusions Rural-urban socioecological transformation (I) <ul><li>Agrosilvopastoral management, embedded in particular institutional settings and worldviews, provided resilience to the SES while keeping it highly productive for the urban centers. </li></ul><ul><li>Land abandonment leads to a biocultural degradation in MMA. </li></ul><ul><li>Forest recoveries in MMA are not necessarily good per se at local scales. </li></ul><ul><li>The recovery of former agrarian cover in order to compensate the effects of climate decreasing the runoff would not have a significant effect unless large forested areas were converted into fields or pastures. </li></ul>
  69. 69. General conclusions Rural-urban socioecological transformation (II) <ul><li>The inherited impacts of the elite suburbanization path question the characterization of the transformations experienced in MMA as progress. </li></ul><ul><li>Denying the spontaneous nature of suburbanization strengthens the argument of citizen groups that are fighting to reverse the legacy of such an urban model. </li></ul><ul><li>Small and landless peasants have particularly suffered the socioecological transformations, for being farmers in an urbanizing metropolis and for being (sons of) the losers of the Civil War. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid to offer a romantic view of the rural past since large inequalities dominated the SES. </li></ul>
  70. 70. Conclusions Interdisciplinarity, languages, and the otherness <ul><li>Predisposition to understand other paradigms, languages and methods, and ability to integrate them in an emerging language. </li></ul><ul><li>Experience of the eldest not only enriched the understanding of the SES, but some of their claims were incorporated into our account to refute progressive narratives. </li></ul><ul><li>Considering the management practices of our ancestors as a legacy is a way to recognize the forgotten rural origin of our current culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Seizing invisible realities through their traces and imagining radically new ones. </li></ul>
  71. 71. Conclusions Hybridity and neutrality <ul><li>From dualistic balance to the fusion of society and nature through metabolic production. </li></ul><ul><li>As hybridity increases, ethical neutrality decreases with positioned research. </li></ul><ul><li>A suitable combination of different degrees of socioecological hybridity may be suitable to understand the complex dynamics of global (land) change and biodiversity conservation… </li></ul><ul><li>… and useful to overcome binary distinctions: </li></ul><ul><li>society vs. nature </li></ul><ul><li>city vs. countryside </li></ul><ul><li>conservation vs. development </li></ul><ul><li>protected vs. non-protected areas </li></ul><ul><li>research vs. action </li></ul>