Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Depopulation and ecological degradation, two dimensions of marginalization, and peripheralization. Ecosystem integrity as an assessment factor in local revitalization

Castillo-Rivero, Liliana; Elbakidze, Marine; McCann, Philip; Sijtsma, Frans J.


Addressing the pressure that population growth puts on the environment has become a high-level policy priority. Less discussed is the role of population decline in either enhancing or degrading the natural environment, and how the its reshaping can help new forms of de-peripheralization and de-marginalization. A long-term trajectory of marginalization and peripheralization of depopulating places can be reversed in certain situations by adopting a more holistic and sustainable analytical and policy framing. To do this, here we integrate different types of diagnosis frameworks. The first, based on factors that the literature indicates as factors leading to negative effects of depopulation, for which the revitalization of such places is suggested, and the second, proposed in this paper, which adds the integrity of the ecosystems involved in places undergoing depopulation processes. Our findings suggest that as we add ecosystem integrity factor to observations, in some cases, revitalization is possible even in the localities displaying the potentially negative effects of depopulation decrease. This suggests that whereas in some places a policy-managed abandonment may be appropriate to release human pressures over such degraded ecosystems, in other cases, revitalization may be a viable alternative for such settlements.


depopulation; ecosystem integrity index; marginalization; peripherality; supply and demand of ecosystem services

Published in

Regional Science Policy and Practice
2023, Volume: 15, number: 7, pages: 1625-1646 Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Human Geography

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)