Galicia is well-known for its green inlands, its landscape consisting of a patchwork of forests, pastures, and small meandering streams and rivers. Like elsewhere in Europe, rural dwellers moved from the more remote rural areas to the coastal urban centres where industries provided work. Remaining rural dwellers face difficulties with maintaining a living from forestry and farming in these areas which hold nature, and increasingly become recognised as high nature value (HNV) areas. People living from the land balance between being productive (e.g. produce cheap kilograms of meat for the food industries) and maintain natural values (such as the autochthonous forests, heterogeneous grasslands, bees, wildlife).
Study area for MSc projects is the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve ‘Os Ancares’, a remote mountainous area in the inland of Galicia (in northwestern Spain).
In this context, MSc research projects can be formulated about:
- Household production: mapping relations of households with forests and pastures in the area, either privately or communally owned land, with the aim to improve understanding of what and how the farmers in the area produce (food as well as other ecosystem services), how modes of production differ among farmers, how farmers benefit from farm activities, and how this relates to other household activities;
- Collaborative approaches: identify and map initiatives that support rural development in the area (producer cooperatives and farmers’ markets, accountancy services, ecologist movements, regional rural development networks) with the aim to analyse and understand the social relations and values from which these initiatives emerge and develop;
- Policy dynamics: aim is to deliver insight into the policy dynamics that enable, support, and proliferate endogenous rural development in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve ‘Os Ancares’, for which social relations and policy schemes are identified, interpreted, combined, and discussed with stakeholders in the area.
Researchers with extended networks in Galicia co-supervise these projects. For more information: Joost Jongerden