Accepted Paper:

The culture of bioeconomy and biodiversity in mountain agricultural landscape  
Anne-Katrine B. Norbye (University of Oslo)

Paper short abstract:

The new bioeconomy in rural mountain areas competes with environmental and sociocultural sustainability. This paper highlights consequences and some effects of the ambivalent conservation and tourism in mountain agricultural landscape.

Paper long abstract:

For the past decade, conservation of old mountain farming landscape has been an area of debate and action. Animal husbandry with summer grazing on mountain pasture has shaped a landscape rich of biodiversity through centuries. Intensive industrialisation of agriculture reached dairy farmers who consequently closed down their summer mountain farms. This resulted in overgrown grazing land and loss of biodiversity. European dairy farmers today receive economic support to maintain summer farming in the mountains. The argumentation for this neoliberal conservation is threefold; protecting biodiversity, the aesthetic cultural landscape and the traditional rural life.

This extensive farming contradicts the expansion of agricultural intensification. One solution has been to encourage farmers to business development in outlying areas, tourism and commercialization of bio resources. This bioeconomy raises a lot of questions: What are the consequences of the ambivalent agricultural politics and policy processes? Who benefits or loses from this development? What about the biodiversity?

In order to understand these questions, I base my analysis on contemporary political ecology and cultural consumption perspectives. This will meet the "ontological turn", while having a focus on lived experiences.The empirical examples are primarily from Norway where I have conducted fieldwork for several years. An extended paper includes a comparative perspective from Switzerland and France.

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