During the last 60 years Danish rural landscapes have changed from areas dominated by agriculture to areas where agriculture represents one among many functions and where farm businesses are relatively few in number compared to lifestyle farmers. This means that farm businesses, here understood as large commercial farmers usually managed by full time farmers, are not only competing internally for land and other resources, but also with incoming lifestyle farmers who buy up farms (often small to middle sized) from pensioners. Over time the ownership structure becomes diverse and spatially fragmented, as farm businesses grow in size through land purchases. The lifestyle farmers in turn, together with other residents, make demands for recreational access and green infrastructure to increase the attractiveness of the landscape as a living and visiting place.
This diverse mix of farmland owners reflects changed urban-rural relationships (Pinto-Correia et al., forthcoming) and affect the motivations and interests of farm businesses to involve themselves in landscape-level projects and more generally to participate in landscape governance.
In the paper we draw on results from two Danish case studies concerning farmers’ landscape practices and in strategy-making processes as external experts and facilitators. We present and discuss results from these case studies focusing on four issues of interest to farm businesses and green infrastructure: (1) reducing impacts in water resources through wetland projects, (2) managing semi-natural habitats, (3) improving recreational access, and (4) land consolidation. Results show that in general farm businesses are interested in participating in collaborative processes and that their participation contributes to overall positive effects on rural landscape management and development of a green infrastructure to support the socio-ecological functions such as habitat restoration and recreational access. However, case studies illustrate that landscape strategy making and more generally landscape governance are no easy tasks (Kristensen et al., forthcoming). No simple fixes are available. With references to two case studies as well as to the literature we discuss needs for and opportunities/constraints to involving farm businesses in landscape strategy processes and solutions.
Kristensen, L.S., Pears, D.Q and Primdahl, J. (forthcoming) Coordination of Heterogeneous Land Managers: Outcomes of a Danish Landscape Strategy Making Case. In: Landscape Agronomy: advances and challenges of a territorial approach to agricultural issues, Eds. Rizzo, D. , Marraccini, E. , Lardon, S. , Bonari, E. and Benoit, M. Springer
Pinto-Correia, T., Primdahl, J. and Pedroli, B. (forthcoming): European Landscapes in Transition: implications for policy and practice, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge