This article looks at how imaginaries of land and climate play a role in farmland investment discourses and practices. Foreign farmland investors in the fertile black earth region of Russia and Ukraine have ‘celebrated’ soil fertility while largely ignoring climatic factors. The article shows a centuries-long history of outsiders coming to the region lured by the fertile soils, while grossly underestimating climate which has had disastrous implications for farm viability and the environment. Comparisons with historical and contemporary literature on other regions (e.g. the US prairies and North Africa) suggest that the underestimation of climatic risks by newcomers is remarkably prevalent in resource frontiers.
Land imaginaries, ignorance, soil, farmland investment, climatе.
Visser Oane, Senior Researcher, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague, of Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherland The Hague, Kortenaerkade 12, 2518 AX.