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Article

Land Abandonment in Mountain Areas of the EU: An Inevitable Side Effect of Farming Modernization and Neglected Threat to Sustainable Land Use

1
Federal Institute of Agricultural Economics, Rural and Mountain Research (BAB), Dietrichgasse 27, A-1030 Vienna, Austria
2
Austrian Institute for Regional Studies (ÖIR), Franz-Josefs-Kai 27, A-1010 Vienna, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Rob Marchant and Aida Cuni-Sanchez
Land 2021, 10(6), 591; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060591
Received: 10 May 2021 / Revised: 31 May 2021 / Accepted: 1 June 2021 / Published: 3 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
In a period of rising concern for sustainable land management systems to achieve food security at a global scale, land-use changes demand increased attention. This study assesses the past observations and future risk calculations for land abandonment across European regions, highlighting the particular risk for mountain areas. It draws from a study commissioned by the European Parliament to investigate the situation and probability for high and very high risk of land abandonment until 2030. Revealing that land abandonment is at three times higher risk in mountain areas than in non-mountain areas, the need for action to cope with this pressure is the core result. We reveal that the high disparity in agricultural competitiveness between regions (at fine geographical scale) is the main driving force leading to the spatially uneven performance of land management. Viewing this wide set of drivers and mitigation options, land abandonment is understood as the outcome of a multitude of factors of socio-ecological systems and a combination of farm-specific, internal regional and trans-regional factors. The present dominance of narratives of effectiveness leaves little scope for mountain regions under threat of abandonment and marginalization. In this situation, policy reform would address the issue but this might turn out to be influential only if the complex nature and trade-off of the comprehensive policy framework are prioritized. View Full-Text
Keywords: land-use change; land management; spatial effects; small-scale context; socio-economic drivers; policy assessment; CAP; policy trade-offs; mitigation policies land-use change; land management; spatial effects; small-scale context; socio-economic drivers; policy assessment; CAP; policy trade-offs; mitigation policies
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dax, T.; Schroll, K.; Machold, I.; Derszniak-Noirjean, M.; Schuh, B.; Gaupp-Berghausen, M. Land Abandonment in Mountain Areas of the EU: An Inevitable Side Effect of Farming Modernization and Neglected Threat to Sustainable Land Use. Land 2021, 10, 591. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060591

AMA Style

Dax T, Schroll K, Machold I, Derszniak-Noirjean M, Schuh B, Gaupp-Berghausen M. Land Abandonment in Mountain Areas of the EU: An Inevitable Side Effect of Farming Modernization and Neglected Threat to Sustainable Land Use. Land. 2021; 10(6):591. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060591

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dax, Thomas; Schroll, Karin; Machold, Ingrid; Derszniak-Noirjean, Martyna; Schuh, Bernd; Gaupp-Berghausen, Mailin. 2021. "Land Abandonment in Mountain Areas of the EU: An Inevitable Side Effect of Farming Modernization and Neglected Threat to Sustainable Land Use" Land 10, no. 6: 591. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060591

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