1. bookVolume 11 (2019): Issue 2 (June 2019)
    Special issue to the Centennial of the Mendel University in Brno
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1803-8417
First Published
24 Feb 2009
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

Drivers of Land Abandonment in the Irish Uplands: A Case Study

Published Online: 04 Jul 2019
Page range: 211 - 228
Received: 03 Sep 2018
Accepted: 13 Sep 2019
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1803-8417
First Published
24 Feb 2009
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

Land abandonment is a complex multi-dimensional process with interlinked economic, environmental and social aspects. This paper presents a case study of an isolated hill sheep farming community in SW Ireland, where a combination of low incomes, ageing population, lack of successors and strong environmental constraints are perceived to be among the main factors leading to their demise. However, the uplands they have grazed for generations are of high nature conservation value, and depend on active management to maintain both their ecology and landscapes. The research, which is based on a combination of interviews and farming systems research, highlights the misfit between what the mountain can produce, light hill lamb, and what the globalised market demands. The paper argues that if ‘farming for conservation’ is the new function of such farming systems, then we should consider decoupling public goods payments from agricultural subsidies, along with integrating agriculture in disadvantaged areas within a broader rural development framework. The research aims to fill the gap between macro policy and the micro reality of an upland community on a self-declared ‘tipping point’.

Keywords

[1] Acs, S., Hanley, N., Dallimer, M., Gaston, K. J., Robertson, P., Wilson, P. & Armsworth, P. R. (2010). The effect of decoupling on marginal agricultural systems: Implications for farm income, land use and upland ecology. Land Use Policy, 27(2), 550–560. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2009.07.009.10.1016/j.landusepol.2009.07.009Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[2] Adams, W. M. (2003). Future Nature: A vision for conservation 3rd ed. London: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

[3] Anderson, R. (2013). Biodiversity Change in the Irish Uplands – the effects of grazing management [unpublished PhD Thesis]. Cork: National University of Ireland.Search in Google Scholar

[4] Antrop, M. (2005). Why landscapes of the past are important for the future. Landscape and Urban Planning, 70(1–2), 21–34. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2003.10.002.10.1016/j.landurbplan.2003.10.002Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[5] Backshall, J., Manley, J. & Rebane, M., eds. (2001). The Upland Management Handbook. Peterborough: English Nature.Search in Google Scholar

[6] Baldock, D., Beaufoy, G., Brouwer, F. & Godeschalk, F. (1996). Farming at the Margins: Abandonment or Redeployment of Agricultural Land in Europe. London/The Hague: Institute for European Environmental Policy Agricultural Economics Research Institute.Search in Google Scholar

[7] Bignal, E. M. & McCracken, D. I. (1996). Low-intensity farming systems in the conservation of the countryside. Journal of Applied Ecology 33(3), 413–424.10.2307/2404973Search in Google Scholar

[8] Bignal, E. M. & McCracken, D. I. (2000). The Nature conservation Value of European Traditional Farming Systems. Environmental Reviews 8(3), 149–171. DOI: 10.1139/a00-009.10.1139/a00-009Search in Google Scholar

[9] Bonn, A., Allott, T., Hubacek, K. & Steward, J., eds. (2009). Drivers of Environmental Change in Uplands. London: Routledge.10.4324/9780203886724Search in Google Scholar

[10] Buijs, A. E., Pedroli, B. & Luginbuhl, Y. (2006). From hiking through farmland to farming in a leisure landscape: changing social perceptions of the European landscape. Landscape Ecology, 21(3), 375–389. DOI: 10.1007/s10980-005-5223-2.10.1007/s10980-005-5223-2Search in Google Scholar

[11] Burton, R. J. F., Schwarz, G., Brown, K. M., Convery, I. & Mansfield, L. (2009). The future of public goods provision in upland regions: Learning from hefted commons in the Lake District, UK. In Bonn, A., Allott, T., Hubacek, K. & Steward, J., eds., Drivers of Environmental Change in Uplands (pp. 309–322). London: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

[12] Burton, R. J. F., Paragahawewa, U. H. (2011). Creating culturally sustainable agri-environmental schemes. Journal of Rural Studies 27(1), 95–104. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2010.11.001.10.1016/j.jrurstud.2010.11.001Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[13] Burton, R. J. F. & Schwarz, G. (2013). Result-oriented agri-environmental schemes in Europe and their potential for promoting behavioural change. Land Use Policy, 30/1), 628–641. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.05.002.10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.05.002Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[14] Cocca, G., Sturaro, E., Gallo, L. & Ramazin, M. (2012). Is the abandonment of traditional livestock farming systems the main driver of mountain landscape change in the Alpine area? Land Use Policy, 29(4), 878–886. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.01.005.10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.01.005Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[15] Conti, G. & Fagarazzi, L. (2004). Sustainable mountain development and the key-issue of abandonment of marginal rural areas. PLANUM: The European on line – journal of planning Nr. 9 (www.planum.net).Search in Google Scholar

[16] Crowley, C., O’Keeffe, B. & O’Sullivan, S. (2016). Irish Uplands Socio-Economic Profile: A Report into Ireland’s inhabited and farmed upland areas [report commissioned by the Irish Uplands Forum] (www.irishuplandsforum.org).Search in Google Scholar

[17] Daugstad, K., Ronningen, K. & Skar, B. (2006). Agriculture as an upholder of cultural heritage? Conceptualizations and value judgements – a Norwegian perspective in international context. Journal of Rural Studies, 22(1), 67–81. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2005.06.002.10.1016/j.jrurstud.2005.06.002Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[18] Dillon, E., Moran, B. & Donnellan, T. (2016). Teagasc National Farm Survey Results 2016. Rural Economy Development Programme. Galway: Teagasc, Athenry, Co.Search in Google Scholar

[19] Evans, D. M., Redpath, S. M., Elston, D. A., Evans, S. A., Mitchel, R. J. & Dennis, P. (2006). To graze or not to graze? Sheep, voles, forestry and nature conservation in the British uplands. Journal of Applied Ecology 43(3), 499–505. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2006.01158.x.10.1111/j.1365-2664.2006.01158.xOpen DOISearch in Google Scholar

[20] Fischer, J., Hartel, T. & Kuemmerle, T. (2012). Conservation policy in traditional farming landscapes. Conservation Letters, 5(3), 167–175. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2012.00227.x.10.1111/j.1755-263X.2012.00227.xOpen DOISearch in Google Scholar

[21] Flemsæter, F. & Setten, G. (2006). Holding property in trust: Kinship, law and property enactment on Norwegian smallholdings. Environment and Planning A, 41(9), 2267–2284. DOI: 10.1068/a41135.10.1068/a41135Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[22] Grime, J. P. (1979). Plant Strategies and Vegetation Processes. Chichester: Wiley.Search in Google Scholar

[23] Halada, L., Evans, D., Romăo, C. & Petersen, J-E. (2011). Which habitats of European importance depend on agricultural practices? Biodiversity and Conservation 20(11), 2365–2378. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-011-9989-z.10.1007/s10531-011-9989-zOpen DOISearch in Google Scholar

[24] Hanley, N., Davies, A., Angelopoulos, K., Hamilton, A., Ross, A., Tinch, D. & Watson, F. (2008). Economic Determinants of Biodiversity Change over a 400-year period in the Scottish Uplands. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45(6), 1557–1565. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2008.01570.x.10.1111/j.1365-2664.2008.01570.xOpen DOISearch in Google Scholar

[25] Hanley, N., Colombo, S., Mason, P. & Johns, H. (2007). The reform of support mechanisms for upland farming: paying for public goods in the Severely Disadvantaged Areas of England. Journal of Agricultural Economics, 58(3), 433–453. DOI: 10.1111/j.1477-9552.2007.00114.x.10.1111/j.1477-9552.2007.00114.xOpen DOISearch in Google Scholar

[26] Hanrahan, K., Hennessy, T., Kinsella, A. & Moran, B. (2014). Teagasc National Farm Survey Results 2013. Rural Economy Development Programme. Galway: Teagasc, Athenry, Co.Search in Google Scholar

[27] Hampicke, U. (2006). Efficient conservation in Europe’s agricultural countryside – rational, methods and policy reorientation. Outlook on Agriculture 35(2), 97–205. DOI: 10.5367/000000006777641598.10.5367/000000006777641598Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[28] Herzon, I., Birge, T., Allen, B., Povellato, A., Vanni, F., Hart, K., Radley, G., Tucker, D., Keenleyside, C., Uppermann, R., Underwood, C., Roux, X., Beaufroy, G. & Pražan, J. (2018). Time to look for evidence: Results-based approaches to biodiversity conservation on farmland in Europe. Land Use Policy 71, 347–354. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2017.12.011.10.1016/j.landusepol.2017.12.011Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[29] Höchtl, F. Lehringer, S. & Konold, W. (2005). “Wilderness”: What it means when it becomes a reality – a case study from the southwestern Alps. Landscape and Urban Planning, 70(1–2), 85–95. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2003.10.006.10.1016/j.landurbplan.2003.10.006Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[30] Jørgensen, D. (2015). Rethinking rewilding. Geoforum 65, 482–488. DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2014.11.016.10.1016/j.geoforum.2014.11.016Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[31] Keenleyside, C. & Tucker, G. (2010). Farmland Abandonment in the EU: An assessment of trends and future prospects [research report]. London: Institute for European Environmental Policy.Search in Google Scholar

[32] Keenleyside, C., Radley, G., Tucker, G., Underwood, E., Hart, K., Allen, B. & Menadue, H. (2014). Results-based Payments for Biodiversity Guidance Handbook: Designing and implementing results-based agri-environment schemes 2014–20 [research report]. London: Institute for European Environmental Policy.Search in Google Scholar

[33] Kinsella, J., Wilson, S., de Jong, F., Renting, H. (2000). Pluriactivity as a Livelihood Strategy on Irish farm Households and its Role in Rural Development. Sociologia Ruralis 40(4), 481–496. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9523.00162.10.1111/1467-9523.00162Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[34] Kramm, N, Anderson, R., O’Rourke, E., Emmerson, E., O’Halloran, J. & Chisholm, N. (2010). Farming the Iveragh Uplands: A tale of humans and nature. University College Cork.Search in Google Scholar

[35] Kristensen, L. S., Thenail, C. & Kristensen, S. P. (2004). Landscape change in agrarian landscapes in the 1990: the interaction between farmers and the farmed landscape. A case study from Jutland, Denmark. Journal of Environmental Management, 71(3), 231–244. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2004.03.003.10.1016/j.jenvman.2004.03.00315158286Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[36] Lambin, E. F., Geist, H. J. & Lepers, E. (2003). Dynamics of land-use and land-cover change in tropical regions. Annual Review of Environmental Resources, 28, 205–241. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.energy.28.050302.105459.10.1146/annurev.energy.28.050302.105459Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[37] López-i-Gelats, F., Milán, M. J. & Bartolomé, J. (2011). Is farming enough in mountain areas? Farm diversification in the Pyrenees. Land Use Policy, 28(4), 783–791. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2011.01.005.10.1016/j.landusepol.2011.01.005Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[38] Lowe, P. & Baldock, D. (2000). Integration of environmental objectives into agricultural policy making. In Brouwer, F. & Lowe, P., eds., CAP Regimes and the European Countryside (pp. 31–52). Wallingford: CABI Publications.Search in Google Scholar

[39] MacDonald, D., Crabtree, J. R., Wiesinger, G., Dax, T., Stamou, N., Fleury, P., Gutierrez Lazpita, J. & Gibson, A. (2000). Agricultural abandonment in mountain areas of Europe: Environmental consequences and policy response. Journal of Environmental Management, 59(1), 47–69. DOI: 10.1006/jema.1999.0335.10.1006/jema.1999.0335Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[40] Mansfield, L. (2008). The Cumbrian Hill Sheep Initiative: A Solution to the Decline in Upland Hill Farming Community in England? In Robinson, G. M., ed., Sustainable Rural Systems, Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Communities (pp. 161–183). Farnham: Ashgate.Search in Google Scholar

[41] Mansfield, L. (2011). Upland Agriculture and the Environment. Bowness-on-Windemere: Badger Press.Search in Google Scholar

[42] Marini, L., Klimek, S. & Battisti, A. (2011). Mitigating the impacts of the decline of traditional farming on mountain landscapes and biodiversity: A case study in the European Alps. Environmental Science and Policy, 14(3), 258–267. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2010.12.003.10.1016/j.envsci.2010.12.003Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[43] Mitchley, J., Price, M. F. & Tzanopoulos, J. (2006). Integrated Futures for Europe’s Mountain Regions: Reconciling Biodiversity Conservation and Human Livelihoods. Journal of Mountain Science, 3(4), 276–286. DOI: 10.1007/s11629-006-0276-5.10.1007/s11629-006-0276-5Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[44] Mottet, A., Ladet, S., Coqué, N. & Gibon, A. (2006). Agricultural land-use change and its drivers in mountain landscapes: A case study in the Pyrenees. Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment 114(2–4), 296–310. DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2005.11.017.10.1016/j.agee.2005.11.017Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[45] Navarro, L. M. & Pereira, H. M. (2012). Rewilding abandoned landscapes in Europe. Ecosystems, 15(6), 900–912. DOI: 10.1007/s10021-012-9558-7.10.1007/s10021-012-9558-7Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[46] O’Rourke, E., Charbonneau, M. & Poinsot, Y. (2016). High nature value mountain farming systems in Europe: Case Studies from the Atlantic Pyrenees, France and the Kerry Uplands, Ireland. Journal of Rural Studies, 46, 47–59. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2016.05.010.10.1016/j.jrurstud.2016.05.010Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[47] O’Rourke, E. & Kramm, N. (2009). Changes in the Management of the Irish Uplands: a Case-Study from the Iveragh Peninsula. European Countryside, 1(1), 53–69. DOI: 10.2478/v10091-009-0005-5.10.2478/v10091-009-0005-5Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[48] O’Rourke, E., Kramm, N. & Chisholm, N. (2012). The influence of farming styles on the management of the Iveragh uplands, southwest Ireland. Land Use Policy, 29(4), 805–816. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2011.12.008.10.1016/j.landusepol.2011.12.008Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[49] Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the Commons: the evolution of institutions for collective action. Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511807763Search in Google Scholar

[50] Paniagua, A. (2013). Farmers in remote rural areas: The worth of permanence in the place. Land Use Policy 35, 1–7. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2013.04.017.10.1016/j.landusepol.2013.04.017Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[51] Paracchini, M. L., Petersen, L-E., Hoogeveen, Y., Bamps, C., Burfield, I. & van Swaay, C. (2008). High Nature Value Framing in Europe. As estimate of the distribution patterns on the basis of land cover and biodiversity data. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.Search in Google Scholar

[52] Pinto-Correia, T., Gustavsson, R. & Pirnat, J. (2006). Bridging the gap between centrally defined policies and local decisions – Towards more sensitive and creative rural landscape management. Landscape Ecology, 21(3), 333–346. DOI: 10.1007/s10980-005-4720-7.10.1007/s10980-005-4720-7Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[53] Pinto-Correia, T. & Sørensen, E. M. (1995). Marginalisation and marginal land: processes of change in the countryside. Skriftserie, 152.Search in Google Scholar

[54] Plieninger, T. & Bieling, C. (2013). Resilience-Based Perspectives to Guiding High-Nature-Value Farmland through Socioeconomic Change. Ecology and Society 18(4): 20. DOI: 10.5751/ES-05877-180420.10.5751/ES-05877-180420Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[55] Plieninger, T., Hochtl, F. & Spek, T. (2006). Traditional land-use and nature conservation in European rural landscapes. Environmental Science and Policy, 9(4), 317–321. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2006.03.001.10.1016/j.envsci.2006.03.001Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[56] Pointereau, P., Coulon, F., Girard, P., Lambotte, M., Stuczynski, T., Sanchez Ortega, V. & Del Rio, A. (2008). Analysis of Farmland Abandonment and the Extent and Location of Agricultural Areas that are Actually Abandoned or at Risk of Abandonment [research report]. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.Search in Google Scholar

[57] Prishchepov, A. V., Muller, D., Dubinin, M., Baumann, M. & Radeloff, V. C. (2013). Determinants of agricultural land abandonment in post-Soviet European Russia. Land Use Policy, 30(1), 873–884. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.06.011.10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.06.011Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[58] Rackham, O. (2000). The History of the Countryside. London: Phoenix Press.Search in Google Scholar

[59] Rebanks, J. (2016). The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District. London: Penguin Books.Search in Google Scholar

[60] Renting, H., Oostindie, H., Laurent, C., Brunori, G., Barjolle, D., Jervell, A. M., Granberg, L. & Heinonen, M. (2008). Multifunctionality of agricultural activities, changing rural identities and new institutional arrangements. International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, 7(4), 361–385. DOI: 10.1504/IJARGE.2008.020083.10.1504/IJARGE.2008.020083Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[61] Renwick, A., Jansson, T., Verburg, P. H., Revoredo-Giha, C., Britz, W., Gocht, A. & McCracken, D. (2013). Policy reform and agricultural land abandonment in the EU. Land Use Policy 30(1), 446–457. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.04.005.10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.04.005Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[62] Rey Benayas, J. M., Martins, A., Nicolau, J. M. & Schulz, J. J. (2007). Abandonment of agricultural land: an overview of drivers and consequences. CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources 2, 57. DOI: 10.1079/PAVSNNR20072057.10.1079/PAVSNNR20072057Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[63] Selman, P. (2004). Barriers and bridges to sustainable cultural landscapes. In Jongman, R., ed., The New Dimensions of the European Landscape (pp. 93–102). Frontis: Wageningen.Search in Google Scholar

[64] Shucksmith, M. & Ronningen, K. (2011). The Uplands after neoliberalism? – The role of the small farm in rural sustainability. Journal of Rural Studies, 27(3), 275–287. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2011.03.003.10.1016/j.jrurstud.2011.03.003Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[65] Strijker, D. (2005). Marginal Lands in Europe – causes of decline. Basic and Applied Ecology 6(2), 99–106. DOI: 10.1016/j.baae.2005.01.001.10.1016/j.baae.2005.01.001Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[66] Terres, J-M., Scacchiafichi, L. N., Wania, A., Ambar, M., Anguiano, E., Buckwell, A., Coppola, A., Gocht, A., Nordstrom Kallstrom, H., Pointereau, P., Strijker, D., Visek, L., Vranken, L. & Zobena, A. (2015). Farmland abandonment in Europe: Identification of drivers and indicators, and development of a composite indicator of risk. Land Use Policy 49, 20–34. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2015.06.009.10.1016/j.landusepol.2015.06.009Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[67] Vera, F. (2000). Grazing Ecology and Forest History. Wallingford: CABI.10.1079/9780851994420.0000Search in Google Scholar

[68] Verburg, P. H., van Berkel, D., van Doorn, A., van Eupen, M. & van den Heiligenberg, R. (2010). Trajectories of land use change in Europe: A model based exploration of rural futures. Landscape Ecology 25(2) 217–232. DOI: 10.1007/s10980-009-9347-7.10.1007/s10980-009-9347-7Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[69] Verburg, P. H., Veldkamp, A., Espaldon, R. L. V., Mastura, S. S. A. (2002). Modelling the spatial dynamics of regional land use: the CLUE-S model. Environmental Management, 30(3), 391–405. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-002-2630-x.10.1007/s00267-002-2630-x12148073Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[70] Verburg, P. H. & Overmars, K. (2009). Combining top-down and bottom-up dynamics in land use modelling: exploring the future of abandoned farmlands in Europe with the Dyna-CLUE model. Landscape Ecology 24, 1167–1181. DOI: 10.1007/s10980-009-9355-7.10.1007/s10980-009-9355-7Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[71] Wilson, G. (2001). From productivism to post-productivism and back again? Exploring the (un)changed natural and mental landscapes of European agriculture. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 26(1), 77–102.10.1111/1475-5661.00007Search in Google Scholar

[72] Wynn-Jones, S. (2013). Connecting payments for ecosystem services and agri-environment regulation: An analysis of the Welsh Glastir Scheme. Journal of Rural Studies 31, 77–86. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2013.01.004.10.1016/j.jrurstud.2013.01.004Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo