Ecological consequences of the rural depopulation and land abandonment

  • P. Montserrat CSIC
  • L. Villar CSIC
Keywords: Agroecology, Erosion, Landscape stability, Rural culture, Iberian Peninsula


The mediterranean areas of Europe, specially in the Iberian Peninsula, suffered over centuries not only a high human pressure but also a more or less strong soil erosion. We can explain the recent ecological disturbances from its origin and, without no doubt, the historical evolution allowed many of the adaptations to be observed between landscape elements. Some humanized landscapes are beautiful and harmonious as a consequence of the cultural action of the mediterranean man; nevertheless, we increasily observe several disturbative factors, some of them too strong, as erosion and contamination. In fact, most of the natural communities show a slow, progressive reaction to the disturbances, and it is allways convenient to have in mind this idea. In our opinion, as much as we suddenly abandon traditional activities, we are suffering a progressive “contamination” of mountain landscapes, and making a sort of disorder in shepherding, vegetation structure, cultural aspects, soil and so on. Assessing this process and arising the involved problems, we will be able to study and accelerate a better management, and then a positive feed —back could start on the above—mentioned mediterranean landscapes.


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How to Cite
MontserratP., & VillarL. (1999). Ecological consequences of the rural depopulation and land abandonment. Forest Systems, 8(3), 135-141.
Research Articles