Red coral effectively recovers in Mediterranean protected areas after decades of overexploitation

Protection measures of the Marine Protected Areas have enable red coral colonies (Corallium rubrum) to recover partially in the Mediterranean Sea, reaching health levels similar to those of the 1980s in Catalonia and of the 1960s in the Ligurian Sea (Northwestern Italy).

Sub-national “climate clubs” could offer key to combating climate change

‘Climate clubs’ offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally-harmonised climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Victoria Reyes-García receives an ERC Proof of Concept grant linked to the LICCI project

Victoria Reyes-García ICREA Research Professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is one of the 76 top researchers that will receive ERC Proof of Concept grants.

ICTA-UAB demands the UAB to reduce number of flights

Given our current climate emergency, recently acknowledged by the UAB, the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has drawn up a proposal urging the University to put into action a new travel policy to tackle one of its most polluting activities: Flying.

New assessment finds EU electricity decarbonization discourse in need of overhaul

It’s well known that the EU is focusing its efforts on decarbonizing its economy.

ICTA-UAB to organize the International Conference 2020 on Low-Carbon Lifestyle Changes

ICTA-UAB will host the International Conference 2020 on Low-Carbon Lifestyle Changes with the aim of exploring the role of changing lifestyles in climate change mitigation.

Iron availability in seawater, key to explaining the amount and distribution of fish in the oceans

People tend to pay more attention to how much food they are eating, than with how rich their diet is in essential micronutrients like iron.

Mining waste dumped into Portmán Bay continues to release metals into the sea 25 years later

The waters of the Mediterranean Sea continue to receive dissolved metals from the mining waste deposited in Portmán Bay (Murcia) 25 years after the cessation of mining activity.

A new ICTA-UAB project to assess the impacts of micro- and nano-plastics in the tropical and temperate oceans

A new project led by ICTA-UAB researcher Patrizia Ziveri is one of five projects selected for funding by the Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans).

Big data reveals extraordinary unity underlying life’s diversity

Limits to growth lie at the heart of how all living things function, according to a new study carried out by ICTA-UAB researchers  .

Jeroen van den Bergh, awarded an honorary doctorate by the Open University of the Netherlands

The environmental economist at ICTA-UAB Prof. Dr Jeroen van den Bergh was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Open University of the Netherlands.

High lead concentrations found in Amazonian wildlife

Researchers from ICTA-UAB and the UVic-UCC detect high levels of lead concentration in wildlife samples from the Peruvian Amazon caused by lead-based ammunition and oil-related pollution in extraction areas.

Study gauges trees’ potential to slow global warming in the future

The Pyrenean forests, the Cantabrian coast and Galicia show an important potential to accumulate even larger amounts of carbon dioxide in the future and thus help to slow down the increase in CO2 concentrations which are warming the planet.

Why do environmentalists eat meat?

A study by researchers at the ICTA-UAB analyses the reasons why environmentally-minded scientists find it difficult to give up meat consumption, one of the world's greatest environmental problems.

La gestión del verde urbano permite incrementar la presencia de pájaros en las ciudades

Incrementar la biodiversidad del verde urbano permitiría aumentar la presencia de aves paseriformes en las ciudades mediterráneas, según un estudio científico realizado por investigadores del Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Ambientales de la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) que analiza qué estrategias hay que implementar sobre la vegetación urbana para conseguir "naturalizar" las ciudades favoreciendo la entrada de flora y fauna.

The Ebro River annually dumps 2.2 billion microplastics into the sea

An ICTA-UAB study analyses the distribution and accumulation of microplastics from one of the main rivers of the western Mediterranean.
Thesis defense of Ksenija Hanacek

Date: 2019-12-09

Date: Monday, December 9th 2019
Time: 15h 
Venue: Z/022 Espai Pirineu ICTA-UAB


Ksenija Hanacek
"Land-use changes, cultural ecosystem services, and environmental conflicts: Evidence from rural Bulgaria"

Directors: Johannes Langemeyer and Beatriz Rodríguez-Labajos

As a result of their interactions and interdependencies with people, agroecosystems contribute to the creation of cultural ecosystem services (CES) such as rural identity, traditional knowledge, and ceremonies related to cultivation. However, global agroecosystems are currently undergoing vast land-use changes –such as intensive agriculture, land abandonment, and urbanization– which are influenced by economic, policy, and market forces. Along with these trends, environmental conflicts are emerging between stakeholders with differing interests in land areas.

This dissertation holistically examines CES by critically studying how CES, in the light of relational values, are influenced by land-use changes, and further identifying environmental conflicts arising from changes in CES. The study begins at the global level, then uses Bulgaria as a case study at both the regional level and community levels, with particular emphasis on rural policies. Results of the research indicate that agroecosystems provide multiple interrelated CES that constitute global agricultural heritage. Further, land-use changes have a significant impact on culture and tradition, mainly at the expense of farmers and rural communities, and therefore lead to open and latent forms of environmental conflict. In the Bulgarian case study, stakeholders’ evaluation of CES at both regional and farm levels indicate CES evaluation is often disrupted due to land-use changes. Moreover, concerns about CES at the community level can emerge as environmental conflicts that are expressed openly thorough demonstrations or protests, provided the community’s political power for environmental management is high. When the degree of power is low, such CES-related conflicts are latent, expressed with a high importance placed on rural identity. Indeed, this study shows environmental conflicts over agricultural land appropriation are intertwined with cultural forms of dispossession.

On the basis of these findings, this dissertation argues global agricultural heritage is at risk of being lost due to land-use changes. More holistic land-use policies at different governance scales are needed that consider both the critical importance of local communities and the CES they co-create for preservation and nourishment of rural areas. Rural people and co-created CES play a fundamental role in defending ecosystem services distribution issues and promoting social, ecological, and economic well-being. Therefore, the participation of local stakeholders is important in land-use decision-making, and CES recognition in science and policy as pathways for the environmental preservation and social stability of marginalized rural areas.

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