CULTLANDS - Conservation of European Cultural Landscapes

Cooperation with Spain, Poland and Hungary

Topic area
Agriculture and forestry, incl. value chain
Basic services, Leader, municipalities

Disaggregation level
Agriculture
Direct marketing

Project region
Styria

Local Action Group (LAG)
LAG Oststeirisches Kernland

LE– Programming Period
LE 07–13

Project period
2011-2013

Project initiator
LAG Oststeirisches Kernland

LE 07-13 information

Themenbereich (Untergliederung): Leader (Landwirtschaft)
Themenbereich (Untergliederung): Landwirtschaft und Markt (Direktvermarktung)
LAG (lokale Aktionsgruppe): Oststeirisches Kernland
Maßnahme: M421

Short description

A Leader transnational cooperation (TNC) project comparing & jointly developing processes promoting the conservation of endangered, extensively cultivated cultural landscapes, which provide the basis for the production of typical regional products.

Point of departure

Lead Partner: Oststeirisches Kernland (Steiermark, Austria)
LAG Partner(s): Alpokalja-Ikvamente Leader Egyesület (Nyugat-Dunántúli Régió, Hungary); Asociación para el Desarrollo Integral de Sierra de Montánchez y Tamuja (Extremadura, Spain); Partnerstwo na Jurze (Ma³opolskie, Poland)

Extensively farmed cultural landscapes are the result of thousands of years of agricultural land use. Although an important expression of natural & cultural heritage, structural change in agriculture has led to a decrease in traditionally farmed cultural landscapes. While the lead partner's East Styrian area features meadow orchards and species-rich grassland communities, grazed holm oak groves can be found in the Dehesas, the Spanish partner's landscape in the Cáceres province of Extremadura.

Targets and target groups

The project aims to promote products that help the participating rural areas to conserve the characteristic features of their cultural landscape. The specific objective is to establish a scientific basis for the marketing of products from extensively cultivated cultural landscapes (e.g. cider/juices from Austria, ham from Spain, and apicultural products from Poland). This may include information about: environmental effects (biological diversity, appearance of the landscape, climate efficiency/carbon footprint); quality (effects on health, taste, food safety), production process (keeping of animals), the production chain (traceability) and marketability for the purpose of agri-tourism.

Project implementation and measures

Transnational activities involve the presentation of examples of 'best practice' during mutual excursions, joint conferences on site, teleconferences and possibly the establishment of a 'cultural landscape brand'. Featuring the parameters of a typical, verifiably healthy and regional product, such common brand shall demonstrate the importance of the preservation and the beneficial indirect returns of extensively cultivated cultural landscapes.

Results and effects

While participating producers will obtain useful data about the economical and ecological value of their products, consumers will be provided with information about the health-promoting and flavour-related properties of their foods. Marketing initiatives and product awards will also inform consumers about the ecological benefits of extensively farmed cultural landscapes. The transnational partnership expects that the transparent presentation of benefits will enable participating producers to sell at higher prices than competitors offering conventional products, thus allowing for an indirect, but significant contribution to the preservation of valuable habitats.

Erfahrung

TNC offered the possibility of socio-cultural exchange and produced unexpected approaches and perspectives for the purpose of innovation. However, the language barrier represented a challenge. As English is not spoken by all partners, the involvement of multiple languages required a solution for dealing with technical issues, definitions and question. The lead-partner therefore employs two persons fluent in Spanish and Polish.