Water for food, water for birds: How to manage conflicting rural-natural interfaces? Deepening on the socio-ecological system of El Hondo Natural Park (Alicante, Spain)

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Title: Water for food, water for birds: How to manage conflicting rural-natural interfaces? Deepening on the socio-ecological system of El Hondo Natural Park (Alicante, Spain)
Authors: Ricart Casadevall, Sandra | Rico, Antonio
Research Group/s: Agua y Territorio | Clima y Ordenación del Territorio
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Análisis Geográfico Regional y Geografía Física | Universidad de Alicante. Instituto Interuniversitario de Geografía
Keywords: Socio-ecological systems | Wetland | Agriculture | Stakeholders | El hondo natural park | Spain
Knowledge Area: Análisis Geográfico Regional
Issue Date: 6-Jun-2021
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Journal of Rural Studies. 2021, 86: 24-35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2021.05.019
Abstract: As socio-ecological systems, coastal wetlands constitute great economic, cultural, recreational and environmental value. However, due to rapid urbanisation and intensification of agricultural activities, these hybrid systems are continuously degraded, generating several ecological and social problems. This paper aims to deepen how agriculture-nature interactions and actor behaviour affect coastal wetlands' management while conditioning decision-making processes. El Hondo Natural Park (Alicante, Spain) is the selected case study in which 15 key stakeholders from the public administration, the rural community, and the civil society are selected. Data were collected between April and June 2018 through semi-structured interviews and analysed following the Grounded Theory principles and by computer-assisted qualitative and mixed methods data software, MAXQDA®. Results revealed how the rural community and civil society members agree on El Hondo Natural Park's cultural function, conceived as a mechanism to preserve local identity, protecting traditional agricultural practices and rural heritage. However, El Hondo Natural Park's origin and management generated discussion, including topics such as the natural park’ declaration, public investment, and participation in decision-making processes (especially due to the lack of transparency and information). Furthermore, main challenges have been identified: farmers' survival, water scarcity and water quality standards, and social recognition and promotion of the natural park. Researchers and relevant authorities can use obtained results to customize their interventions based on previous and well-structured knowledge of how socio-ecological systems are perceived and which past or new conflicts generate frustration among confronted stakeholders' demands.
Sponsor: This work was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness [Juan de la Cierva postdoctoral research fellow, grant number FJCI-2015-24346] and by the Interuniversity Institute of Geography, University of Alicante [grant number I-PI-88-18], both awarded to the first author.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/115631
ISSN: 0743-0167 (Print) | 1873-1392 (Online)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2021.05.019
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2021 Elsevier Ltd.
Peer Review: si
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2021.05.019
Appears in Collections:INV - Agua y Territorio - Artículos de Revistas
INV - CyOT - Artículos de Revistas

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