Migration, Livelihoods and Nature Conservation Policies in the Villages of South Transylvania

Monday, 11 July 2016: 17:00
Location: Hörsaal 12 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Georgiana TOTH, INCD URBAN-INCERC, Romania
Alexandru-Ioan TOTH, Asociatia Sociometrics - Grupul de Analiza Sociala si Economica, Romania
Robert STOICULESCU, Centre of Landscape-Territory-Information Systems CeLTIS, ICUB Research Centre, University of Bucharest, Romania
As a consequence of transition towards market economy and Romania’s integration in the EU, socio-economic changes following 1989 have pushed households into assuming new livelihood strategies seeking to integrate the existing capital and opportunities offered by local, regional and international markets. Temporary migration to different countries emerged as one type of income diversification strategy of households pursuing to reduce risks, all in the frame of new migration economy or vulnerability mitigation so as to put it in terms of the livelihood approach. Rural communities are turning to migration as a household strategy besides intensifying agricultural use or increasing non-agricultural activities in order to create wellbeing through the use of accessible physical, natural, financial, human and social capital. Both spatial mobility strategies and those addressing on site activities quest the same results – wellbeing, poverty reduction – hence the analysis can’t dissociated migration consequences from the results obtained by communities through the combination of other activities. This paper explores the particular context of rural communities from South Transylvania which is a high nature value farmland. It’s overall included in the Nature 2000 network and largely preserves a traditional agricultural model. This area represents a socio-ecologic system marked by several trade-offs, hence biodiversity is influenced by traditional farming while communities still benefit of local ecosystem services. Recent socio-demographic changes (depopulation, demographic aging, or changes in ethnic structure) open the debate on how EU’s biodiversity conservation measures can be used in preserving traditional agro-ecologic systems. The main research question that this paper intends to answer is ‘How biodiversity conservation policies affect livelihoods and how changes of livelihood strategies transform the social structure or rural communities living in high nature value farmland?’ Our results are based on quantitative and qualitative analysis of data collected from several communities located in South Transylvania.