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Interplay of State and Local Concern in the Management of Natural Resources: Hydraulics and Forestry in Spain (1855–1936)

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The modern tradition in the management of nature in Spain was shaped by different policies for economic and social restoration included in a vast plural reformist movement known as Regeneracionismo. The aim of the restoration of wealth was felt to require the correction of the “defects” of the geographical configuration of the country, and particularly the imbalances in its climatic and hydraulic régimes which derive from its orography. The objective put forward was then to put in place a national hydraulic artery system in order to increase irrigated areas and to redistribute water. Hydraulic policy was to find additional and essential support in hydrological-forestry action.

Both hydraulic and forestry policies during the period 1855–1936 are studied in this essay. They are first reviewed in the context of conservation of nonrenewable natural resources. They are then considered as an expression of the conflicts between the State administration and local powers and interests. This tension prevented the rational use of the natural resources available — an antagonism which has by no means disappeared.

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  2. Gómez Mendoza, J.: La discusión técnica en torno a la política hidráulica y a la política forestal antes del Plan Nacional de Obras Hidráulicas. In: Los paisajes del agua, pp. 85–96. Universitat de València, Universidad de Alicante 1989.

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This essay is based on our contribution to the XVIIth International Congress of History of Science, Hamburg, August 1989.

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Gómez Mendoza, J., Ortega Cantero, N. Interplay of State and Local Concern in the Management of Natural Resources: Hydraulics and Forestry in Spain (1855–1936). GeoJournal 26, 173–179 (1992).

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  • Natural Resource
  • Environmental Management
  • Irrigate Area
  • Local Power
  • Artery System