Mountain agriculture forms the backbone of life in the Alps. It ensures a living for mountain people. It provides food. It shapes Alpine landscapes. It preserves traditions and knowledge. However, mountain agriculture faces numerous challenges. First and foremost, the natural conditions and structure of the Alpine territory are challenging. The Alps are characterised by a limited availability of arable land, steep slopes that make farming particularly labour-intensive, and a scarcity of infrastructure in more remote areas. At the same time the depopulation trends that characterise mountain areas in favour of cities and flat lands put an additional strain on Alpine farming.
Article 2, 2g of the Framework Convention states that the general objective for mountain agriculture is to “maintain the management of land traditionally cultivated by man and to preserve and promote a system of farming which suits local conditions and is environmentally compatible, taking into account the less favourable economic conditions”.
Protocols and Declarations
Declaration on Mountain Farming (2011) - available in German, French, Italian, and Slovenian
Further references to mountain agriculture can be found in the Protocols on Nature Protection and Landscape Conservation, Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development, Soil Conservation, and Tourism.
Thematic Working Bodies
Mountain Agriculture and Mountain Forestry Working Group (MAMF)
Mountain Agriculture Platform (2011-2019)
Selected Documents and Publications
Organic farming in the Alps: a first analysis and some development scenarios (2022)
Value chains in Alpine regions and selected sectors of agriculture and forestry (2022)
Final Report of the Mountain Agriculture and Mountain Forestry Working Group of the Alpine Convention 2019-2020 (2020)
Action Programme for a Green Economy in the Alpine Region (2019)
Position paper of the Mountain Agriculture Platform in the context of the Alpine Convention, prepared for the Mountain Farming Conference in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (4 October 2016) - available in German, French, Italian, and Slovenian
Results of the Platform's consultation in the context of quality labelling - updated with amendments on the Glyphosate and GMO issues (2016) - available in German, French, Italian, and Slovenian
Statement on the contribution of mountain agriculture to food safety in the Alpine Convention Perimeter (2016) - available in German, French, Italian, and Slovenian
“Sustainable mountain farming – Basis for a vibrant Alpine region” (2014) - available in German, French, Italian, and Slovenian
Results of the discussion of the Mountain Farming Platform on “marketing, quality and labelling” issues (2013) - available in German, French, Italian, and Slovenian
3rd Report on the State of the Alps: Sustainable rural development and innovation (2011) - summary and long version
International Conference on the Future of Mountain Agriculture in the Alps, St. Johann im Pongau (AT) (13-14 September 2017) - in German
AlpES (Alpine Space Programme) – Alpine ecosystem service mapping, maintainance and management project (2015-2018)
Alpen-Forum-Innsbruck on climate change and agriculture (2016) - in German