Determining the Socio-economic Value of Agricultural Landscapes
AbstractLandscape is an asset that can offer significant opportunities for the territorial and economic development of rural areas, but the relationships between agriculture, landscape value and socio-economic prosperity are unclear and are regionally differentiated. In order to understand the links between the valorisation and maintenance of landscapes and socio-economic development, and to assess the extent to which landscape can be a driver for competitiveness, a better understanding of the relationships between (a) agriculture and landscape management on the one hand („supply side‟) and (b) landscape management and perception and appreciation of these landscapes by „consumers‟ on the other („demand side‟) is required. This paper reviews some of the evidence in the context of the findings of the European Union (EU) Framework 7 project RuralJobs and argues that, to facilitate the contribution of landscapes to the socio-economic (including non-agricultural) development of regions, we also need (a) a systematic description of the way this relationship varies in different landscapes and parts of the European Union; (b) as part of this, to better understand what factors influence the perceptions of local actors of the value of agrarian landscapes; (c) to identify and elaborate possible place-specific policies and mechanisms for the utilisation of the valorisation potential of landscapes in practice; and (d) an analysis of necessary conditions/mechanisms such as institutional frameworks.
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