Lodalen: becoming one of the most popular tourist attractions in Western Norway – the case of challenges for sustainable development of a mountain destination

By Anna Maria Urbaniak-Brekke, researcher at the Western Norway Research Institute.

Loen is an idyllically located village in Western Norway. It is surrounded by mighty mountains on both sides, in a beautiful fjord landscape: with Lodalen valley and Lovatnet lake in the back, and the fjord in the front. Loen is not large with its approximately 600 inhabitants, but the number of people increases sharply during the tourist season. In the last years, growing popularity of social media such as Facebook and especially Instagram, has led to a drastic increase in the amount of tourists visiting Lodalen a valley offering an astonishing view of a glacier surrounded by steep mountain slopes and bathing in a turquoise lake water. However, the local infrastructure is not ready for such a load and the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the area can be threatened.


Măcin Mountains. Photo credits: ©Cristina Ion

Give the same rights to mountains! Contesting the exclusion of the Măcin Mountains, in Romania

By Ioan Surdu, Viorel Gligor, and Alexandru-Sabin Nicula*, researchers at CE-MONT, INCE and the Romanian Academy.

Context of the issue at hand

As mountainologists, we have often had the opportunity to interact with policy- and decision makers on different topics related to sensitive subjects on the correct perception of the mountain area or the mountain demarcation method compared to the geographic contiguity zone. There were also heated debates on the subject of EU regulations and the legislative framework that form the base of mountain policies, sometimes contradicting published specialist research.


Mountain apple orchards in Catalonia, a reality

By Jaume Lordan, Xavi Garanto, Xavi Farré, Neus Mas, Gemma Echevarría and Ignasi Iglesias.

The mountain fruit growing project in Catalonia started in 2009 when IRTA (Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology) and ADRR (Association for the Development of the Romanesque Ribagorça) signed the first collaboration agreement; and kept going later on with IRTA and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food of the Catalan government. (more…)

The invasive species

By Félix García Pereira, Rodolfo Pozuelo, Cristina Vegas, Jesús Fidel González-Rouco.
GuMNet, Universidad Complutense, IGEO UCM-CSIC.

On the second week of December 2020 has been mostly holidays for people from Madrid city in Spain (the madrileños). The national celebration of the Spanish Constitution and a local religious event made up for a long bank holiday. Some of us saw the occasion to escape the Covid-atmosphere in town and have a few days off in the Parque Nacional Sierra de Guadarrama, less than one hour drive from the capital of Spain and still within the Community of Madrid, and thus still complying with the official regional confinement. (more…)

More resilience, please! A plea to rethink in the current crisis

Thomas Streifeneder, economic geographer and head of the Institute for Regional Development and Location Management of the European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano/Italy (EURAC Research).

It is quite surprising to see that there is one aspect we are not reading anything about in these days. Most of the articles telling us about the consequences of the coronavirus do not mention one word: resilience. Shouldn’t it be written somewhere? (more…)

Appreciate mountains and lowlands as partners

By Thomas Dax, Federal Institute of Agricultural Economics, Rural and Mountain Research (BAB), Austria.

I’d like to turn our attention to recognize highland-lowland interactions as an old paradigm which was foundational for the interest in mountain areas, the changing perceptions towards using them, and realizing the values we attach to them. (more…)

The status quo of dealing with mountain issues in Slovenia

Andreja Borec, University of Maribor, Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Slovenia.

Slovenia is a mountainous country with 72,3% of its territory defined as LFA (Areas of Less Favourable Farming). Most of northern part is dominated by the Alps, that reach their southeastern limit of distribution in Slovenia by forested plateau of Pohorje. (more…)

Mountain areas have to re-invent themselves

Without a definition of mountains, how can we do mountain research?

By Bernat Claramunt, researcher at CREAF, lecturer at the Unit of Ecology (BABVE, UAB) and coordinator of NEMOR.

A definition of mountains is not necessary for our friends and families; they know very well when they are in the mountains. Where this definition is needed to be known and accepted is in academia, an extremely complex world that requires precise definitions of virtually everything with which we work.

Teaching about mountains in the time of Covid-19

By Audrey Vincent, geographer, lecturer-researcher at ISARA.

ISARA is an engineering school specialised in agriculture, food science and environment. We offer a wide range of Bachelor and Master level curricula in these fields. Next to teaching, we also have research activities as well as advisory and consultancy services. Every year, we offer in June a module dedicated to mountains, their specificities and their challenges. It is taught in English and can be followed by ISARA students as well as by students coming from our partner universities.