Mountain agriculture lies at 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 characterized by a limited availability of arable land, steep slopes that make farming particularly labour-intensive and a scarcity of infrastructure in the more remote areas. At the same time the depopulation trends that characterize mountain areas in favour of cities and flat lands put an additional strain on Alpine farming.
In 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”.
Further references to mountain agriculture can be found in the Nature Protection and Landscape Conservation Protocol, the Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development Protocol, the Tourism Protocol and the Soil Conservation Protocol.
Mountain Agriculture and Mountain Forestry Working Group
Mountain Agriculture Platform (2011-2019)
AlpES (Alpine Space Programme) – Alpine ecosystem service mapping, maintainance and management project (2015-2018)
International Conference on the Future of Mountain Agriculture in the Alps, St. Johann im Pongau, 13-14 September 2017
Alpen-Forum-Innsbruck on climate change and agriculture (2016)