Mediterranean commons

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COMMONS: PAST AND PRESENT IN MEDITERRANEAN SOCIETIES: PROPERTY RIGHTS AND MODES OF USE Keywords: Common woodlands, Property Rights, Modes of Use, Spain.
I.

Geographical/Cliamtic Characterisation.

The study area is the District of Baza, in which the municipalities of Zújar and Cúllar are situated (see Appendix 1: Map). It lies is to the north of the province of Granada and covers the wholeof the Guadiana Menor river basin. It is a fairly high plain with an altitude of around 1000m on the outer parts and about 900m in its central part (Baza, Huescar). Located between the mountain ranges of Sierra Nevada and Sierra de Baza (to the south and southeast) made up of a string of cold depressions with continental climate. It is in with post-orogenic sediments. The mountainous areas in thenorth of the province of Granada are relativity cold and arid -in these depressions the annual rainfall is no more than 350 mm-. This climate defines a precipitation regime of rainy winters (35/40 % of the total annual rainfall) and similar levels in autumn and spring (25/30%) whit a totally dry summer. The ecosystem is a dominated by aridity and a soil structure which limit the growthpossibilities of both the population and the agricultural system (calcic and eutric regosols and cambisols, which are generally poorly evolved soils with low organic content. Nowadays, these climatic and lithological factors have generated a geographical structure of vegetation which we can sum up as follows: 1. Basophilic Betic Supramediterranean series of Quercus Faginea (Daphno Latifoliae Aceretogranatensis sigmetum), which is disappearing due to the introduction of Pinus Nigra subsp. clusiana, and occupies a stretch of soils rich in organic matter which extends between 1000 and 1400m (Quercus Rotundifolia and Berberido HispaniaeQuerceto rotundifoliiae sigmetum). 2. From this superior stage Quercus Rotundifolia begins to evolve as dominant,but in a degraded state, and typical high scrubpredominate (spike lavender=lavandula latiolia or "piorno fino" = echniospartum boissieri) or in its most degraded state, esparto (stipa tenacissima), rosemary (rosmarinus oficinalis) or thyme (thymus orespedamus) as a previous step to the maximum degree of degradation (basophilic meso-mediterranean series (600-1000 m),area influenced by a continental-cold climate in which only the bushy species mentionedabove are capable of spreading freely.
II.

Historical Definition of Property Rights.

From the mid 18th century, the socio-economic functions of the public woodlands in rural communities in south-eastern Spain began to change. They had played a key role in the subsistence of rural communities, by providing for their energy and food needs -firewood, grazing, production of manure, poaching,collection of other materials- (González de Molina, 1993; Cazzola, 1996). The Liberal Agrarian Reform involved greater commercialisation of the land and of natural resources through the extension of private

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property rights, arguing the economic and productive inefficiency of communal ownership for society as a whole (Robledo, 1993) in a European trend to defend the "modern" concept ofproperty, productive efficiency and the construction of a capitalist class (Caffiero, 1992; Corona, 1995). In this context, the action of state forestry policy arose (Cobo, et al 1992; Sala López, 1997) which, from the end of the 19th century potentiated a productive approach to the public woodlands, which was one of the factors that limited the reproduction possibilities of the peasant communities.Forestry offences show the confrontation between activities related to the values use, in order to obtain social reproduction and activities which were progressively subordinated to the logic of the market exchange -auctions of forestry products, dependence of the peasant economies on salaries as a result of paid labour for harvesting, etc.- (Toledo,1993). In turn, this confrontation is defined by...
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