Rural development: supporting the third leg of sustainable development

Mansfield, Lois (2013) Rural development: supporting the third leg of sustainable development. In: PLACE autumn conference: The future of the uplands, 12 October 2013, York St John University, York, UK. (Unpublished)

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Upland landscapes in Europe are products of the interrelationship between farming and the environment over the last five millennia (European Environmental Agency, 2010). In the last century these areas have become havens of biodiversity as the lowlands have undergone agricultural intensification, as well as centres of recreation and tourism for the general public, valued for their intrinsic landscape qualities (Bonn et al., 2009). The farms operating in these areas are labour-intensive, extensive agricultural systems, and until recently were perceived as an anachronism and in need of modernisation. As the century progressed changes in geopolitics and economics gradually altered the economic environment in which farming operated undermining the profitability of many businesses. In response, farmers had various business options available to them: intensify production, reduce costs of production, pull out of farming altogether or diversify the business. Adopting any of the first three of these has had unwanted repercussions within the wider upland landscape in terms of the environment, economics and society. In response various national governments and the European Union have embarked on diverse forms of rural development (Mansfield, 2011). However, the focus has often been on economic and environmental schemes which have more tangible, measurable outputs and outcomes, leaving the social ‘leg’ to fend for itself with a view that if the other two areas are directly addressed the third will automatically materialise in response. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the importance and value of the social leg and to demonstrate that it is possible to support initiatives with a social bias in order sustain upland farming as a system. To explore this, the case study of Cumbria, northern England will be used to explore four themes: first, a description of the upland farming system and the issues facing the sector; second; the responses of various political bodies to these challenges; third, the character and value of the social ‘leg’ and finally, some examples of some real projects that aim to support the social ‘leg’ of rural development within the Cumbrian upland farming community.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments: Academic Departments > Science, Natural Resources & Outdoor Studies (SNROS) > Outdoor Studies
Research Centres > Centre for National Parks and Protected Areas (CNPPA)
Additional Information: PLACE: People, Landscape And Cultural Environment of Yorkshire.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2019 14:31
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2021 11:06


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