Transformations in the Agricultural and Scenic Landscapes in the Northwest of the Region of Murcia (Spain): Moving towards Long Awaited (Un)Sustainability | Land Portal

Información del recurso

Date of publication: 
Septiembre 2020
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© 2020 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

Since the middle of the 20th century, irrigation in the southeast of Spain has displayed significant productive growth based on the intensive use of the scarce water resources in the area and the contribution of river flows from the hydrographic basin of the Tagus River to the hydrographic basin of the Segura River. Despite high levels of efficiency in the water use from the new irrigation systems, the water deficit has only intensified in recent years. The most dynamically irrigated areas (Campo de Cartagena, Valle del Guadalentín, Vega Alta del Segura and the southern coast of the Region of Murcia), were faced with a complex and trying future, resulting in numerous companies (agribusinesses) relocating to lease and acquire land in the northwest of Murcia to develop their intensive crops. The general objective of this article lies in the analysis of widespread landscape dynamics, and of agricultural dynamics in particular, in the rural environment of the northwest Region of Murcia (Spain). For this, an exhaustive analysis of the land cover and use transformations is carried out for the periods of time 1990–2000–2012–2018. The data studied come from the Corine Land Cover (CLC) project, carried out by the European Environment Agency (EEA). These spatial data are treated with geographical information systems (GISs) and represented by statistical and cartographic analyses and cross-tabulation matrices that indicate the dynamics of changes, loss and land gain. As the main result, we find that the areas occupied by new intensive irrigation on old rainfed farmland in the northwest Region of Murcia have increased in the last 30 years. Traditional irrigation is disappearing, and the environmental consequences (overexploitation of aquifers and decreased flows from natural sources), among others, are dire.

Autores y editores

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

García-Marín, Ramón
Espejo-Marín, Cayetano
Giménez-García, Rubén
Ruiz-Álvarez, Víctor


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