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Economic and Social Revival of a Degraded Region in Serbia: The Result of a Cooperative Venture

Miodrag Zlatic and Gordana Vukelic
Mountain Research and Development
Vol. 22, No. 1 (Feb., 2002), pp. 26-28
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3674177
Page Count: 3
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Abstract

Approximately 70% of Serbia consists of rolling, hilly and mountainous regions that are prone to erosion. Other natural factors, such as an unstable geological basis, intense rainfall, and poor vegetation cover also contribute to this predisposition to erosion. But the principal factor in accelerated erosion is human activity. The period up to the mid-1950s was characterized by great agrarian pressures and the resulting accelerated erosion. This was followed by rural depopulation and changes in the structure of agricultural production. As younger household members migrated, arable fields were left uncultivated, were invaded by weeds, and were then converted into pastures. Out-migration thus led to reduced pressure on the land, which contributed to diminishing erosion. But this cannot be called development. The revival of degraded regions should be based on people remaining in the area and being able to have decent livelihoods. Sustainable land use can make this possible, as illustrated by the example of the cooperative venture involving the Porecje Company and local farmers in the Porecje region. This venture involves cooperation between farmers and the company, reducing erosion by establishing terraces on steep slopes, improving soil characteristics, and promoting profitable fruit production. Land resources and environmental values are thus preserved without jeopardizing the profitability necessary to keep people in the region.

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