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From Land to a Simulacrum World; An Anthropological Essay on the History of an Agricultural Geo-policy: The Elimination of Communitary Land Use Systems and its Ecological, Socio-cultural, Psychological and Political Effects

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Alves, J. P. Galhano
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham, England
Conf. Date: July 14-18, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/944
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Subject(s): land tenure and use
community participation
property rights
Abstract: "Both the individual, private, and the collectivist appropriation of land, territory, natural resources, are not a general rule of human cultures. On the contrary, through human species history, the communitary land use systems have been the most widespread ones. They are based on the natural right of each individual to use land and natural resources in order to survive and live. Land and resources use may be individual, familiar or collective, but land is a common space. Although, in these systems, it have been always accepted that individuals or family units use as their own some land for habitat, vegetable gardens or agricultural fields. From an ecological point of view, these systems have several advantages. Most territory has no fences, allowing free movement of wildlife and people; resources are used principally in an extensive way; and different land uses tend to be adapted to micro-ecologic features of each territory portion. This does not mean that, in many cases, human groups dont erode or destroy communitary ecosystems. But general tendency is to an adaptation to ecosystem natural habitats. In fact, presently high biodiversity ecosystems are mostly located in areas where communitary land use systems still exist, as it is the case of tiger areas in India, wolf ones in Portugal or lion ones in West-Africa. "From a social point of view, those systems do also have several advantages. Each individual, family group or a whole community may survive by themselves, and do not depend on external factors to achieve it. Food, water, fuel, building and tools materials may be freely collected or produced in the landscape, what allows a large food, energy and habitat autonomy to each individual. Harder tasks use to be made collectively, as well as common infrastructures. This does not mean that such human groups tend to live in an isolated way, but that their autonomy is ensured."

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