Planning for sustainability in shrinking mountain communities

By Hans Olav Bråtå, Ph.D. Research Professor. Eastern Norway Research Institute, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. Lillehammer, Norway.

Many rural municipalities have a shrinking population, an increased share of elderly and a decreasing share of young people. This is frequently the case in mountain communities.

Shrinkage causes economic problems and a need to reduce the cost level for municipal services, including reducing staffing and the number of service locations   public services or centralise them within the municipality. This is painful to local communities. Another issue is over-investments, based on wishful politics of a future population growth which turns out to be absent. This often accelerate economic problems. (more…)

Polyfarming model: sowing the future through the regenerative agriculture

Marc Gràcia, Polyfarming coordinator, and Ángela Justamante, Polyfarming communications coordination.

Agriculture releases 12% of the total CO2 Spanish emissions into the atmosphere every year. Producing food is essential for our survival, so is reducing emissions. Is there an agri-food model capable of reversing this situation? CREAF, through the LIFE Polyfarming project, funded by the European Commission’s LIFE programme, demonstrates with scientific data that the regenerative agri-food model, focused on restoring soil health, is a feasible solution to this global challenge. (more…)

The institution of home is expanding into mountain space – in stealth mode

By Tor Arnesen, research Professor at the Eastern Norway Research Institute and at the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences.

When launching the journal Mobilities, the opening editorial statement from Hannam, Shelly and Urry (2006, p. 1) read: “Mobility has become an evocative keyword for the twenty‐first century and a powerful discourse that creates its own effects and contexts.” They see a fundamental ‘mobility turn’ transforming the social sciences, rather than just putting a new topic on the table. (more…)

Mont Aiguille, Vercors Regional National Park

Understanding the role of protected areas with the case of Vercors natural regional park and natural national reserve

By Audrey Vincent, geographer, lecturer-researcher, Isara.

The Vercors Regional Natural Park is about to finalise the revision of its roadmap for the period 2023-2038. And this has been the case study some students fom ISARA –an engineering school specialised in agriculture, food science and environment– followed recently. (more…)

Managing sustainably mountain pastures: what do we learn from ongoing practices?

By Maria Carla Lostrangio, Project Manager at Euromontana, and Marie Clotteau, Director at Euromontana.

Mountain grasslands: an endangered habitat
Grasslands cover 15.9% of the area of the EU-28 and are the third most widespread habitat (EC, 2016) with invaluable contribution for public goods and ecosystem services (Plantureux et al., 2016). Yet, today more than 75% of the grassland area in the EU-28 is considered to have an unfavourable conservation status (EEA, 2020). (more…)

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.

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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.

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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…)