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Agricultural Decline, Landscape Change, and Outmigration

  • Year: 2007
  • Author: Soliva, Reto
  • Journal Name: Mountain Research and Development
  • Journal Number: Vol.27, No.2
  • Publisher: Centre for Development and Environment Institute of Geography, University of Bern
  • Published Location: Boulder, Switzerland
  • Country: Switzerland

As in many other mountain areas, peripheral regions of the Swiss Alps are experiencing outmigration, especially of younger people, due to lack of opportunities. Winter tourism, often the backbone of regional economies, is declining in many smalland medium-sized resorts. At the same time, agricultural decline is leading to land abandonment and natural reforestation, which may have implications for the sustainability of development in these areas. In a case study of the European Union (EU) BioScene research project, 3 agricultural and land use scenarios were developed for the Surses valley in the Canton of Grisons and assessed with respect to their sustainability implications, including discussions with a local stakeholder group. In mitigating outmigration from this peripheral area, it is important that local people can identify with the development taking place in their region, and with the landscape in which they live. Based on the discussion of the scenarios with local stakeholders and the sustainability assessment, it was possible to formulate policy recommendations.

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