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Accepted Paper:

Greeneering the mountains. The production of green landscapes by a ski station, wildlife conservation programs and farming practices in the Catalan High Pyrenees  
Ferran Pons (McGill University)

Paper short abstract:

Baqueira Beret ski resort and conservation programs head toward greening the Pyrenean landscapes. Their interventions on the environment, though, require engineering processes. This paper seeks to understand both greeneering mechanisms as well as the role undertaken by farming practices on them.

Paper long abstract:

In line with the formalisation of a Catalan conservation policy and the creation of a natural protected areas network in the mid-1980s, Baqueira Beret ski station undertook a crucial turning point in terms of landscape transformations. Modifications on mountains orography in the Summer were coupled with the sowing of seeds to produce and shape new green landscapes. An engineering shift that accomplished both a productive and an aesthetic function at once. The quality of skiing conditions as well as the visual scenery left behind by the interventions on the mountains 'improved'.

In the Pyrenean context, conservation programs undertook another turn at the end of the 20th century. Nature was considered to be actively managed through complex environmental engineering processes rather than just protected. Wildlife programs, and particularly the reintroduction of brown bears perfectly illustrates this shift. Devised as an 'umbrella species', the brown bear works as a paradigmatic biodiversity or green index to prove the environmental quality of the extensive habitats it dwells.

In parallel, dwindling farming practices in the Pyrenean mountainous areas are increasingly valued in terms of landscape and biodiversity parameters. Funded to maintain green mowing meadows they also undertake a relevant role to greening skiing landscapes.

This paper aims to explore both the differences between skiing and environmental processes in greeneering the Pyrenean landscapes and the role undertaken by farming practices in both cases.

Panel Env01
Landscape - the instructions manual: negotiating the meanings of landscape [SIEF Working Group Space-lore and Place-lore]
  Session 1 Wednesday 17 April, 2019, -