Amaia Albizua

BC3 / McGill
How are social networks structuring agricultural sustainability? An example from Navarre (Spain)

Amaia Albizua, Elena Bennett, Unai Pascual

Research on agricultural intensification still lacks an in depth understanding of how social structures, which underpin land management decision-making, create opportunities or barriers for farmers. This knowledge is particularly lacking in regards to non-intensive farmers. Social network analysis permits identifying which actors are better positioned in the network, facilitating their access to knowledge and resources and the diffusion of their farming practices and perspectives. We use interviews and social network analysis to assess how farmers share knowledge and resources in Navarre (Spain). We aim to learn which types of farmers are central and active in sharing knowledge and what the network structure implies for land management and decision-making. We found that intensive farmers are most active central actors as well as gatekeepers of the flow of several types of knowledge and resources. We argue that this position supports their ability to continue developing their intensive farming and might influence other community members’ dependency to access knowledge and resources. The characteristics of this network aid to the creation of more homogeneous landscape dominated by intensive agriculture and a reduced variety of farming practices