Economic cycles and environmental crisis in arid southeastern Spain. A historical perspective
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The arid southeast region has been one of the areas with the oldest settlement in the Iberian Peninsula. Despite limitations imposed by lack of water and low soil fertility, a great number of dwellers have settled in this land for three thousand years thanks to its easy access to the commercial paths of the Mediter- ranean. The area is currently under great territorial and socioeconomic transformation activated by intensive agriculture through greenhouses and irrigation. The history of this territory offers a series of successful and downward cycles determined, from an ecological and economic point of view, by its integration in different stages of the globalization process. Most recently, in the 19th century an intensive deforestation process took place caused by the mining and iron industry. The deep economic and social crisis which followed the declining of this development model brought also about an ecological crisis. In the second half of the 20th century, negative environmental ...