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Impact of agricultural transition on soil protection in Ukraine: the role of Institutional Change

At the time of post-socialist agricultural transition in Ukraine the focus was on privatisation of land resources, decentralisation and restructuring of the sector. While its impact on agricultural productivity has been thoroughly analysed, there have been few studies addressing the environmental effects of the process. Using the method of document analysis, this paper examines in detail the change in institutions regulating soil protection in agriculture and discusses its implications for the behaviour of agricultural producers and specific soil protection measures applied. The results of analysis suggest that having destroyed the elaborate Soviet soil protection system, Ukraine did not manage to develop a new set of legal rules, nor their enforcement mechanisms, to enable soil protection in the new political and economic setting. This paper discusses the reasons for this institutional failure and provides insights that can be applied to assess the impact of agricultural transition on soils in other countries in Europe and beyond.

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