Large-scale Irrigation Impacts Socio-cultural Values: An Example from Rural Navarre, Spain

Amaia Albizua, Unai Pascual, Esteve Corbera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

14 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019 Elsevier B.V. Large-scale irrigation is a form of agricultural intensification aimed at increasing productivity and adapting to climate change. However, we know little about how large-scale irrigation affects socio-cultural values over nature's contributions to people (NCP) in agrarian systems. In this article, we fill this gap by investigating how a large-scale irrigation project in Navarre, Spain, has affected farmers’ values in relation to their farming systems and the local environment. We find that large-scale farmers who participate in the irrigation project value more highly regulating NCP than small-scale farmers who have not adopted such technology, while the latter hold higher values for non-material NCP related to cultural identity and traditional knowledge and experience. These findings suggest that the adoption of large-scale irrigation technology is associated with a set of values that underestimate the long-term ecological effects of agricultural intensification and neglect the relevance of traditional farming in sustaining more ecologically and culturally diverse landscapes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-361
JournalEcological Economics
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


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