The Conservation of a Valencian Working Landscape
- PUBLISHED: September 2020
- SUBJECT LISTING: Environmental Studies, History / European History
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 312 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 21 b&w illus., 2 maps, 2 charts
- SERIES: Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books
- ISBN: 9780295748092
Winner of the 2019 Turku Book Award from the European Society for Environmental History
The Albufera Natural Park, an area ten kilometers south of Valencia that is widely regarded as the birthplace of paella, has long been prized by residents and visitors alike. Since the twentieth century, the disparate visions of city dwellers, farmers, fishermen, scientists, politicians, and tourists have made this working landscape a site of ongoing conflict over environmental conservation in Europe, the future of Spain, and Valencian identity.
In Cultivating Nature, Sarah Hamilton explores the Albufera’s contested lands and waters, which have supported and been transformed by human activity for a millennium, in order to understand regional, national, and global social histories. She argues that efforts to preserve biological and cultural diversity must incorporate the interests of those who live within heavily modified and long-exploited ecosystems such as the Albufera de Valencia. Shifting between local struggles and global debates, this fascinating environmental history reveals how Franco’s dictatorship, Spain’s integration with Europe, and the crisis in European agriculture have shaped the Albufera, its users, and its inhabitants.
Authors & Contributors
Sarah R. Hamilton is associate professor of history at Auburn University.
This volume is a welcome addition to environmental collections given the conspicuous dearth of quality environmental histories of Spain. . . . Hamilton presents an approachable, well-researched account of how the Albufera was the nexus of environmentalists’ efforts for conservation through "rewilding" both before and after the Franco dictatorship and his regime’s pointed effort to develop the tourism industry on what would become an extremely sensitive and biodiverse site of European environmental importance. . . . Highly recommended.- Choice
Understands the specificities of a space (La Albulfera de Valencia) that cannot be understood without human intervention in its more than six centuries of history; a space shaped by farmers, hunters, citizens of Valencia, politicians, and officials in a changing and often conflictive relationship, who display opposing interests and conflicting conceptions of conservation.- Environmental History
Should interest not only environmental historians and social scientists, but also every forest ranger, biologist, and agricultural expert concerned with the conservation of nature and biodiversity.- Tracey Heatherington, author of Wild Sardinia: Indigeneity and the Global Dreamtimes of Environmentalism
Cultivating Nature fills an important gap in the available literature on the conservation of working landscapes. . . . This nuanced study yields new perspectives and even suggests solutions to contemporary efforts to conserve working landscapes that are happening elsewhere.- Lino Camprubi, author of Engineers and the Making of the Francoist Regime
A captivating tale of Spain’s environmental movement as told through a contested coastal wetland that pits farmer against developer, country against city, democracy against autocracy.- Marcus Hall, author of Earth Repair: A Transatlantic History of Environmental Restoration
A fascinating study of the Albufera in Spain—a landscape rich in birds, where the avian diversity has been shaped by human cultural diversity as well as by ecological processes. In the Albufera, advocates of rewilding and advocates of local communities have to wrestle with competing notions of how best to protect and restore a dynamic landscape. How do we create truly collaborative conservation programs in a world of competing histories and competing economies? Hamilton does not provide easy or simple answers, but her detailed history of the Albufera provides useful lessons for collaborative management of complex landscapes.- Nancy Langston, author of Sustaining Lake Superior: An Extraordinary Lake in a Changing World