Skip to main content

Stakeholder Perceptions of the Impacts of Rural Funding Scenarios on Mountain Landscapes Across Europe


This article examines how alternative rural funding scenarios might influence the pattern of functional land types in mountain areas. The study aims were to explore the use of stakeholders to predict landscape change and to provide a future policy context for other papers in the Carbomont program. EU rural funding policies could have a strong influence on land use and landscapes in mountain areas. At eight sites across Europe, groups of local stakeholders were asked to compare the possible effects of three contrasting funding scenarios over an imagined period of 20 years on (1) the importance of the main land-use sectors; (2) the areas of the main land functional land types; and (3) the management of individual land types. Stakeholders also listed their interests in the area to help define the perspective of the group. The protocols used were ranking and scoring procedures that permitted quantification of changes and of the degree of consensus within the group. The scenarios were (1) continuation of current rural funding (status quo), (2) rapid reduction of farm income support (reduce support), and (3) increasing rural diversification funding (diversification). The eight countries sampled included five established EU members (UK, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain), two new accession members (Czeck Republic and Slovakia), and Switzerland. There were predicted to be widespread reductions in the importance of the agricultural sector across Europe and increases in the transport, built environment, and tourism sectors. In general, the status quo scenario was perceived to be unsatisfactory in various respects, reduce support was worse, but diversification offered opportunities for conservation and development of mountain communities and land use. Changes in the areas of land types would mainly involve loss of arable and grazing land and increases in scrub, and settlements. Some elements of the landscape such as most forests, mountain tops, and wetlands would, however, be little affected by any of the scenarios.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4


  1. Bayfield NG. 2001. Mountain resources and conservation. In: Warren A, French JR (eds) Habitat conservation: managing the physical environment. Chichester: Wiley. pp 7–38

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bayfield NG, Larcher F. 2004. An approach to assessing stakeholders perceptions of rural funding policy scenario impacts on mountain landscapes in Europe. From knowledge of landscapes to landscape action. Proceedings, CEMAGREF Conference, Bordeaux (France), December 2004. Bordeaux: CEMAGREF, p 15

  3. Cernusca A, Bahn M, Berninger F, Tappeiner U, Wohlfahrt G. 2008. Effects of land-use changes on sources, sinks and fluxes of carbon in European mountain grasslands. Ecosystems, this issue

  4. DETR. 2000. DETR appraisal guidance. Multi-criteria analysis. A manual. London: Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

  5. European Commission. 2004a. The common agricultural policy explained. Brussels: European Commission, Directorate General for Agriculture

  6. European Commission. 2004b. Enlargement and agriculture. Brussels: European Commission, Directorate General for Agriculture

  7. Fowler D, Battarbee R 2005. Climate change and pollution in the mountains: the nature of change. In: Thompson DBA, Price MF, Galbraith CA (eds) Mountains of Northern Europe. Conservation, Management and Nature. Edinburgh: Scottish Natural Heritage. p 71–88

    Google Scholar 

  8. Messerli B, Ives JD (eds). 1997. Mountains of the world: a global priority. Parthenon, London

    Google Scholar 

  9. Midgeley JL, Shucksmith DM, Birnie RV, Geddes A, Bayfield N, & Elston D. 2005. Rural development policy and community data needs in Scotland. Land Use Policy 22: 163–174

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Moss R, Catt DC, Bayfield NG, French DD. 1996. The application of decision theory to sustainable management of an upland Scottish estate. Journal of Applied Statistics 23: 211–229

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Pontius GR Jr., Cornell JD, Hall CAS 2001. Modeling the spatial pattern of land-use change with GEOMOD2: application and validation for Costa Rica. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 1775: 1–13

    Google Scholar 

  12. Tappeiner U, Bayfield N 2002. Management of mountainous areas. In: Verbeye WH, (eds). Land Use. Encyclopaedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS). Eolss Publishers, Oxford. p 1–17

    Google Scholar 

  13. Tappeiner U, Tappeiner G, Hilbert A. Mattanovich, (eds). 2003. The EU Agricultural Policy and the Environment. Evaluation of the Alpine Region. Blackwell Verlag, European Academy, Bozen. Vienna

    Google Scholar 

  14. Tappeiner U, Tasser E, Leitinger G, Cernusca A, Tappeiner G. 2008. Effects of historical and likely future scenarios of land use on above- and belowground vegetation carbon stocks of an Alpine valley. Ecosystems, this issue

  15. Tasser E, Tappeiner U. 2002. The impact of land-use changes in time and space on vegetation distribution in mountain areas. Applied Vegetation Science 5: 173–184

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Neil Bayfield.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

(PDF 86 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bayfield, N., Barancok, P., Furger, M. et al. Stakeholder Perceptions of the Impacts of Rural Funding Scenarios on Mountain Landscapes Across Europe. Ecosystems 11, 1368–1382 (2008).

Download citation


  • stakeholders
  • rural funding scenarios
  • mountains
  • landscape change
  • decision modeling
  • land types
  • land use
  • land management
  • prediction