Over recent decades, there has been increasing recognition that rural regions and communities across the Western/developed world are undergoing complex and far-reaching processes of demographic, economic, social, cultural and land use change. The key empirical markers of these changes can be seen in the conversion of once productive farmland into rural residential allotments; the effective abandonment of marginally productive country for conservation purposes; and the growth of alternative, particularly boutique, farm industries. More recently, the incipient steps towards new carbon and alternative energy economies has seen rural land re-valorised as sites for, inter alia, spatially extensive wind, solar and tree farms. The potential mismatch between these new and more traditional land uses and landscape sensibilities often leads to local social and political conflict.
From a broader environmental and aesthetic perspective, the fragmentation of landscape amenity also has the potential to alter the cultural attributes of places. In many rural areas, it is the agricultural and pastoral landscapes that form an intrinsic component of local heritage and landscape aesthetics. A closely related set of challenges relate to the absolute loss of agricultural land. The process of land subdivision and conversion from agriculture to other uses necessarily results in a decrease in farm production. For some, this trend inevitably threatens food security at a range of geographical scales; for others, the seemingly inexorable trend towards ever-greater scale economies in food and fibre production will inevitably result in the abandonment of former agricultural land effectively surplus to requirements.
This working group welcomes papers on the theme of rural land use transformation. In particular, we welcome papers, from a wide range of international contexts, which engage with the issues of:
agricultural land conversion, including its driving forces; the socio-cultural and economic implications of land use transformation; and the political and policy responses.
Abstracts for this working group can be submitted to:
Neil Argent | University of New England, Australia | email@example.com
Neil Argent University of New England, Australia
Matthew Tonts University of Western Australia, Australia
|Call for Abstracts - Agriculture in an Urbanizing Society -Land-use Transformations.pdf||73.75 KB|