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Ariela Zycherman

The expansion and intensification of agriculture is a major driver of deforestation in tropical forests and for global climate change. However, over the past decade Brazil has significantly reduced its deforestation rates while simultaneously increasing its agricultural production, particularly cattle and soy. While, the scholarly literature primarily attributes this success to environmental policy and global economic trends, recent ethnographic depictions of cattle ranchers and soy farmers offer deeper insight into how these political and economic processes are experienced on the ground. Examples demonstrate that policy and markets provide a framework for soy farming and ranching, but emerging forms of identity and new cultural values shape their practices. This article argues that to understand the full picture of why Brazil’s deforestation rates have dropped while the agricultural industry has flourished, the culture of producers must be present in the analysis.

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Philippe Jeanneaux, Olivier Aznar and Christophe Déprés

*Full article is in French

English abstract: This paper proposes to analyze the environmental services provided by farmers in order to clarify the diversity of transactions within the same field. We distinguish two main categories of services: “Service internalization“ corresponding to the internalization of an externality by seeking to modify the joint product, and “Service Delivery“ corresponding to a contract to provide the service. We then cross this characterization with the modes of governance (sectorial vs. territorial) of the environmental services. This analysis allows us, first, to have a better understanding of the dynamics of environmental service supply, and second, to highlight the poor integration of environmental issues in agriculture. The categories generated are illustrated from several empirical studies carried out between 2002 and 2010 in the framework of three research programs.

Spanish abstract: Este documento propone caracterizar los servicios ambientales provistos por los agricultores con el fin de clarificar la diversidad de transacciones dentro de la misma denominación. El artículo distingue dos categorías principales de servicios: “la internalización de servicios“ correspondiente a la internalización de una externalidad a través de modificar el producto conjunto, y “la prestación de servicios“ que corresponde a un contrato de prestación de servicio. Los autores cruzan entonces esta caracterización con los modos de gobierno (sectorial vs. territorial) en el que los servicios ambientales se inscriben; cruce que permite, por un lado, comprender la dinámica de la oferta de servicios ambientales, y por otra parte, remarcar la escasa integración de los problemas ambientales en el sector agrícola. Las categorías producidas son ilustradas a partir de varias investigaciones empíricas llevadas a cabo entre 2002 y 2010 en tres programas de investigación.

French abstract: Cet article propose de caractériser les services environnementaux fournis par les agriculteurs dans le but de clarifier la diversité des transactions qui relèvent d'une même dénomination. Deux catégories principales de services avec quelques déclinaisons ressortent : le « service d'internalisation » visant à internaliser une externalité en cherchant à modifier le produit joint ; le « service prestation » correspondant à un contrat de prestation de service. Nous croisons alors cette caractérisation avec les modes de gouvernance (sectorielle vs territoriale) dans lesquels les services environnementaux s'inscrivent, croisement qui permet, d'une part, de comprendre les dynamiques d'off re de services environnementaux, et d'autre part, de remarquer la faible intégration des problèmes environnementaux dans le secteur agricole. Les catégories produites sont illustrées à partir de plusieurs investigations empiriques réalisées entre 2002 et 2010 dans trois programmes de recherche.

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The End of Agricultural Supremacy

The 2009 Reform of Israel's National Land Policy

Ravit Hananel

This study examines the impact of the Israel Land Administration (ILA) reform of 2009 on Israeli land policy in general and on the status of agricultural land in particular. Despite repeated statements by government representatives that the reform pertains only to urban land, my analysis reveals that this legislation has dramatically changed the relationship between urban and agricultural land in Israel. For more than a century, agricultural land enjoyed both substantive and quantitative supremacy over urban land, but after the reform was approved, urban land became the default land definition. I suggest explanations for these fundamental changes and discuss their implications for the future, including the need to formulate new definitions for land uses in both the agricultural and urban sectors.

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Economic Transitions and Land Ownership

Challenging Traditions among Rural Yezidis in Post-Soviet Armenia

Hamlet Melkumyan and Roman Hovsepyan

The Yezidis of Armenia, traditionally considered transhumant pastoralists, have been changing their economic habits over the past century. Nowadays, they are more engaged in agriculture than they were a century ago. The social and cultural backgrounds of these transformations are discussed, showing the involvement of the treatment of the Armenians and the adaptive character of the Yezidis’ economy. Presently, the Yezidis practise animal breeding and plant cultivation in parallel, using the human resources available in their family. The ongoing transformations in the economy and their engagement in agriculture are challenging the conservative lifestyle of the Yezidi community. Thus, the people who have shifted to the agrarian economy are seen as outsiders in the traditional framework and are perceived to be of low prestige.

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Becoming an Agricultural Growth Corridor

African Megaprojects at a Situated Scale

Serena Stein and Marc Kalina

Agricultural growth corridors (AGCs) have begun proliferating across the actual and policy landscapes of southeastern Africa. Cast as an emerging megaproject strategy, AGCs combine the construction of large-scale logistics (i.e., roads, railways, ports) with attracting investment in commercial agribusiness and smallholder farming. While scholars have long attended to spatial development schemes in the Global South, literature on the rising AGCs of Africa’s eastern seaboard has only recently shifted from anticipatory to empirical studies as policy implementation reaches full force. The article reflects on a new crop of studies that confront the problem of tracing policy imaginaries to the people, places, practices, and ecologies shaped by AGC schemes. In contrast to scholarship that accepts corridors as given entities, we explore directions for research that interrogate the grounded yet provisional becoming of these megaprojects. At such sites, the return of high modernist development logics encapsulated by the corridor concept may be questioned.

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Manufacturing a Multifunctional Countryside

Operational Landscapes, Urban Desire, and the French State, 1945–1976

Venus Bivar

Rural France was instrumental to the experience of les trente glorieuses. Not only did rural France fuel economic growth and urbanization through increases in agricultural efficiency, but it also served as an imaginary counterpoint to the hustle and bustle of a new mass consumer society. In the first two decades of the postwar period, a productivist logic of agricultural output dominated rural land use policy. By the 1970s, however, after experiencing problems of surplus, the state turned toward a multifunctional approach. Rural lands were used to create regional parks, environmental preserves, and vacation properties. As both a site of agricultural production and urban consumption, rural France was operationalized to further the economic growth that defined les trente glorieuses.

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Bonnie White

In the aftermath of World War I, public concerns about the “female surplus” promoted various efforts to stimulate women’s emigration to the dominions in order to relieve the presumed burden on the postwar economy. Opportunities for women in agriculture were part of the campaign to relocate women for work, but the plan soon encountered challenges from domestic groups that objected to the “dumping” of “surplus” females in the dominions and argued that, although farming in Britain experienced a decline in the 1920s, there were opportunities for women who wished to work in agriculture. This article examines the legacy of women agricultural workers in postwar Britain and argues that, although emigration efforts ultimately failed, the new farm woman of the 1920s and 1930s was presented as an educated professional, with evocations of traditional womanhood, making her an acceptable, nonconfrontational, progressive British woman worker by the outbreak of World War II.

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Charlotte Prové, Denise Kemper and Salma Loudiyi

Urban agriculture (UA) has turned into a diverse and complex movement. Important challenges will be to set accurate expectations by civil society in relation to UA development, and to find ways to discuss UA in governance and collaboration networks from an aggregate point of view. However, analytical tools that allow comprehensive study of UA initiatives (UAIs) are absent. This article elaborates on a conceptual framework from the COST Action Urban Agriculture Europe (Prové et al. 2015) and evaluates findings that result from applying the framework to four UAIs. We found that, analytically, the framework generates in-depth information on UAIs, and argue that it can be a useful tool in networks that are responsible for collaboration, support, or governance within the UA movement. We also discuss its usability issues and discuss future research.

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From Urban Agriculture to Urban Food

A Food System Analysis Based on Interaction between Research, Policy, and Society

Heidrun Moschitz, Jan Landert, Christian Schader and Rebekka Frick

Urban agriculture is embedded in an urban food system, and its full potential can only be understood by looking into the dynamics of the system. Involving a variety of actors from civil society, policy, and the market, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of the food system of the city of Basel, Switzerland, including policy and actor analysis, analysis of perceptions on urban agriculture, food flow analysis, and a sustainability assessment. The article presents the results of these analyses and discusses how research can contribute to the societal debate on food systems transformation. We particularly reflect on how the research project became a boundary object in a dynamic process to develop new ideas and activities, as well as to create a space for future debates in the city’s food system.

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Reinhold Loeffler

The case of a remote tribal village in southwest Iran demonstrates the circumstances conducive to positive rural development. My research suggests that since the founding of this village around 1880, its people - led by a progressive, literate young chief - successfully defended their realm against incorporation into the neighbouring chiefs' reigns of lawlessness and warfare; introduced and modernised irrigation agriculture and fruit cultivation then unique in the whole region; and embraced formal education. Discussing such adaptive strategies, I argue that a strong ethos of progress and achievement, including civic awareness, motivated local people from the beginning to pursue new ways to improve their livelihood.