Spatial Analyses for Policy Evaluation of the Rural World: Portuguese Agriculture in the Last Decade

  • Eric de Noronha Vaz
  • Teresa de Noronha Vaz
  • Peter Nijkamp


The scope of this paper is twofold: addressing a specific problem concerning the effectiveness of the CAP, it develops an extensive empirical and methodological framework able to serve as a model-policy lesson for the rural/agricultural European future. The paper aims to contribute to the understanding of structural land use changes that are occurring in rural environments, by using novel methodologies related to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The land use change analysis developed in this study is associated with a pre-selected set of policy issues and supplies a retrospective view of the application of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the Portuguese case. The evaluation of the respective impacts from a spatial perspective raises questions such as: 1) What are the trade-offs of rural activity in different sectors and regions? 2) How do such trade-offs cope with urban proximity? and 3) Which activities or strategies are best able to balance the needs of rural and urban communities?

The application of our model shows the extent of land use change in the country and, in particular, when related to the irrigated surface and vineyards. It also demonstrates a reallocation of agricultural production to town proximity, reducing energy costs. But, the major conclusion of the work is that the use of the CAP financial support has accentuated the asymmetric distribution of crops in Portugal.


European Union Geographic Information System Rice Field Irrigate Land Common Agricultural Policy 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric de Noronha Vaz
    • 1
  • Teresa de Noronha Vaz
    • 2
  • Peter Nijkamp
    • 3
  1. 1.ISEGIUniversidade Nova de LisboaLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Faculty of EconomicsUniversidade do AlgarveFaroPortugal
  3. 3.Faculty of Economics and Business AdministrationFree University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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