Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Socialist legacies and incomplete land reforms shaped agricultural land use in Eastern Europe

13.07.2012
The research, which is published in Environmental Research Letters -“Effects of institutional changes on land use: agricultural land abandonment during the transition from state-command to market-driven economies in post-Soviet Eastern Europe”- was lead by IAMO scientist Dr. Alexander V. Prishchepov and co-authored with his colleagues from IAMO, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Humboldt University in Berlin.

The project analyses the effects of the change of institutions that should regulate agricultural land use after the collapse of socialism on agricultural land abandonment rates and patterns in Poland, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, and European Russia between 1990 and 2000.


Figure 1. Agricultural land abandonment rates between 1990 and 2000 detected with satellite images and aggregated by districts boundaries.
Map: Prishchepov et al. 2012.


Figure 2. Agricultural land abandonment rates ((A): by country; (B): separately for Belarus and Russia by provinces). Prishchepov et al. 2012.

Each of these countries followed a distinct approach towards institutional reform in the postsocialist transition, which was determined by politico-economic considerations, socialist-era land property rights, and the existing agricultural structures. The study demonstrates how the different combinations of institutional changes led to starkly varying agricultural land abandonment rates within similar agro-ecological conditions.

The highest rates of agricultural abandonment were found in regions where institutions that regulated land use had started, but no yet fully completed the reform process by the end of the first decade of transition. The highest rates were found in the Baltic States (43% of agricultural land was abandoned in Latvia and 29% in Lithuania), where land was restituted to historical owners, but land markets were not yet functional and rapid economic developments resulted in a reduced importance of agriculture in relation to other economic sectors.

In Russia, 31% of agricultural land was left unused in the first ten years of post-socialism, due to a 90% reduction in State support for agriculture while the Russian land reform maintained the socialist farming structures and a moratorium on land sales, which was only rescinded in 2003. Inversely, lowest abandonment rates were found in those countries where institutions that regulated land use were strong during the transition.

For instance, Belarus and Poland exhibited the lowest abandonment rates (10% and 16%, respectively), yet for very different reasons. Belarus retained most of its agricultural land under production by preserving the large-scale farming structures of socialist times with high state subsidies for agriculture. Poland experienced comparatively few changes in farm structures in the transitional period, because the agriculture sector during socialism was characterized by a coexistence of many small-scale private farms and few state farms, whose land was sold after socialisms.

Hence, socialist legacies combined with postsocialist government support for agriculture was crucial for abandonment trajectories. The importance of institutional changes and land reform strategies is impressively visible along country boundaries, such as between Belarus and Russia (see figure 1 and 2). Analyzing the patterns and drivers of such differences is vital to better understand how the untapped production potentials on unused agricultural land in the region can be harnessed.

“Institutional changes that regulate land use are not rare”, says Prishchepov. Official statistics suggests that some agricultural fields that were abandoned within the last decade were recultivated in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, which was likely due to completed land reforms, but also likely due to Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies. At the same time in Belarus and in the part of Russia that was studied, agricultural land abandonment rates increased, which was likely due to incomplete land reforms. It was found that in Russia more than 50 million hectares of arable land is currently abandoned. “Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union countries hold a great promise for environmental conservation, but also to increase future agricultural production, because large tracts of unused lands coincide with frequent low yield levels”, concludes Prishchepov.

Further information
http://stacks.iop.org/1748-9326/7/024021
Article “Effects of institutional changes on land use: agricultural land abandonment during the transition from state-command to market-driven economies in post-Soviet Eastern Europe” for downloading.

http://www.iamo.de/en
Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO).

About IAMO

The Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO) is an internationally renowned research institution. With more than 60 scientists and in cooperation with further leading research institutions, it is addressing urgent scientific and social issues in agricultural and food economics in rural areas. Main regions under review include Central and Eastern Europe as well as Central and Eastern Asia. Since its foundation in 1994, IAMO has been part of the Leibniz Association, a German community of independent research institutions.

Academic contact

Dr. Alexander V. Prishchepov
Phone +49 (0)345 2928-326
E-mail prishchepov@iamo.de

Public relations contact

Daniela Schimming
Phone +49 (0)345 2928-330
E-mail presse@iamo.de

Daniela Schimming | idw
Further information:
http://www.iamo.de

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht How much drought can a forest take?
20.01.2017 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>