Rural areas in Spain are experiencing unprecedented environmental and social changes. Climate change and biodiversity loss are occurring alongside depopulation and the abandonment and intensification of rural landscapes. Understanding inter-connections of environmental and social stressors, and their impact on rural development is paramount to devise policy that can enhance the wellbeing of rural populations whilst promoting sustainable land uses.
The aim of the project is to develop country-wide and regional indexes of Socio-Environmental VulnErability in RurAl Spain (SEVERAS) and use them to explore policies that can reduce said vulnerability. The project will assemble so far disconnected climatic, census, land-use and rural development data into a unique socio-environmental database. The indexes will be elaborated and validated with key stakeholders through participatory planning workshops (“rural vulnerability laboratories”) where rural citizens and policy makers will also co-design policies aimed at reducing vulnerability. Overall, SEVERAS will advance our understanding on the compounded effects of socio-environmental drivers of rural vulnerability; provide a new quantitative tool for rural development diagnosis and policy making in Spain; and empower rural citizens by involving them in the development of the indexes and new policies.
In addition to Sergio and Esteve, the project will also involve Dr. Federica Ravera (Universitat de Vic), two master students and a post-doctoral researcher.