Added value of mountain agriculture

The aim of the project is to better valorise the presumed added value of mountain agriculture in the area of ecosystem services.

Cow with four calves on a meadow. The roof of a farm can be seen in the background.
(c) Stefan Kirchweger

More than half of all farms and forestry enterprises in the districts of Kirchdorf and Steyr (Kalkalpen National Park region) are located in mountain areas. They face particular challenges due to disadvantageous production conditions. At the same time, they own land with a high ecological added value. Therefore, measures are needed to secure and strengthen mountain agriculture with its important environmental services such as biodiversity, carbon sequestration or water quality – to name but a few.

The project „Added Value Mountain Farming“ shows the potentials of mountain farming in the field of ecosystem services (ESS) and develops innovative measures how these services can be valorised by mountain farming. The aim is to create alternative sources of income for mountain farms.

To achieve these goals, the following steps are taken:

Phase I: „Capture“:

  • Model development for the qualitative description of ecosystem services.
  • Development of a set of indicators and necessary measures to assess ecosystem services.
  • Field study with about 30 farms to survey ecosystem services. Evaluation of the results at farm and regional level.

Phase II: „Evaluate“:

  • Quantitative and qualitative surveys measure the potential of ecosystem services on farms. For this purpose, the environmental impacts and income from the provision of ecosystem services are quantified.
  • Agricultural economic calculations of the provision costs
  • Research on possible marketing opportunities
  • Research on needs in the economic sector with regard to future regulatory framework conditions.

Phase III: “ Valorisation „:

  • Application of a multi-stage survey procedure using quantitative and qualitative methods with the involvement of relevant stakeholders.
  • Identification of needs and development of a catalogue of criteria for marketable new business models.
  • Acceptance analysis of the business models. Prototypical for different business sectors.

Project leader: Verein nahtur

Project partners: