The contribution of mountain policy in Austria to maintaining mountain farming and to supporting rural development (2001)

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The landscape in Austria is characterised by the high proportion (70%) of mountain areas. Although the Austrian mountain areas have long been more than just an agricultural region, mountain farming still plays a key role in safeguarding the sensitive eco-system and thereby the multifunctional landscape and the general living and working space. The Austrian economic and territorial policies started to put particular importance on the regional development of mountain areas and the impact on landscape already in the early 1970s. This paper analyses and evaluates the Austrian mountain area policy, in particular the mountain farming policy and agri-environmental programmes, and elaborates on the implications of recent evolutions of policy reform for the preservation and development of mountain communities, mountain farming and multifunctional landscapes. Mountain areas seem a good case to show that policies to safeguard environmental and cultural achievements, as well as sustainable rural development, can only be effective in the long term by embedding spatially oriented sectoral policies in integrated regional development strategies. Cultural landscapes in mountain regions are important elements of social identity and contribute to political cohesion. They develop and change over time as a result of the interplay of socio-economic, cultural and natural factors and can thus only be understood as a process. Since changes are often irreversible, any change and interference demands careful consideration. Cultural landscapes are, however, not only public interest goods and services that directly affect the social well-being of individuals but also represent important rural development assets. Cultural landscapes are part of a region?s capital stock and for the development of mountain communities, their quality is as important as the local road network, communication or education facilities (OECD 1998, pp. 102f.). In Austria, mountain farming still plays a key role in safeguarding the sensitive eco-system and thereby the multifunctional landscape and the general living and working space. This paper analyses and evaluates the Austrian mountain area policy, in particular mountain farming policy and agri-environmental programmes, and elaborates on the implications of recent evolutions of policy reform for preservation and development of mountain communities, mountain farming and multifunctional landscapes.
Year: 2001
Language: English
In: World Mountain Symposium 2001,

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 Record created 2011-12-21, last modified 2013-01-17