A Political Ecology for Marginal and Depopulated Protected Areas: A View from Geographical Rural Studies

Angel Paniagua


From the perspective of political ecology and rural geography, the main ideas about nature and, in parallel, protected areas are reviewed. The initial approach of nature as wilderness, where the natural environment has not been significantly modified by society and the human activity changes progressively until the emergence of the Anthropocene period, where all nature is significantly affected by human nature. This evolution implies a clear change in the relationship between nature and society, from a binary relationship, with separate and pure realities to a fluid and hybrid one, where society and nature are accepted in a relational manner. These new ideas greatly influence the conception of protected areas based on the conservation of nature separated from society: to another where protected areas are conceived in a flexible, multi-natural and more-than-human way. Geographical discipline plays an important role in conceptual evolution and practice of natural protected areas.

Keywords: geography, political ecology, protected areas, depopulated areas, rural space, hybrid relations

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.