Intensification of a peasant agriculture and soil fertility in an Atlantic territory, Galicia, 1750-1900

  1. Corbacho González, Beatriz
Supervised by:
  1. David Soto Fernández Director
  2. Lourenzo Fernández Prieto Co-director

Defence university: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

Fecha de defensa: 21 November 2017

  1. Manuel González de Molina Chair
  2. Pegerto Saavedra Secretary
  3. Simone Gingrich Committee member

Type: Thesis


This dissertation is framed within the theory of social metabolism and reconstructs the land uses and productivity of the main crop rotations in two agroecosystems within the Atlantic territory of Galicia (NW Spain), Fonsagrada and Ribadavia. Both agroecosystems are complementary and representative of a diverse territory. We have applied the methodology of nutrient balances to the first one of these cases in order to assess its sustainability in the long term regarding the management of soil fertility. Our results confirm a similar evolution to other case studies within Europe in terms of soil exhaustion and nutrient imbalances towards the end of the 19th century after a long process of agricultural intensification. This metabolic rift has been connected with the general agrarian crisis that affected the continent at this point, and with the process of socioecological transition from an organic into an industrial metabolism.