Mountain pasture management in the Sölktäler Nature Park



  • University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), in collaboration with the Sölktäler Nature Park


  • 15/07/2015

  • REGION :

  • Western Europe


  • Austria (Styria)


  • In Austria, being a very mountainous country, central elements of the cultural landscape (= SEPLs) are mountain meadows and pastures. They not only have a very rich biodiversity, with a large number of (endangered) species and diverse habitats, but are also important sites of agricultural production, tourism, culture, tradition, knowledge, and sustainable land use. For both locals and tourists, mountain pastures represent Heimat (identity, homeland), comparable to the Japanese satoyama. Due to socio-economic reasons, however there is a general trend of abandoning the extensive use of high mountain pastures, which then develop into forest land. In the Sölktäler Nature Park (two trough valleys in the Niederen Tauern/Styria), mountain pasture farming is still practised in a traditional way. Once the food of poor people, the strong smelling Styrian cheese (produced during the summer on the mountain pastures) is nowadays a culinary standard-bearer and a delicacy renowned countrywide. The management body of the Nature Park promotes public relations to strengthen public awareness of the relevance of mountain farming for the conservation of bio-cultural diversity and mountain pasture landscapes, and supports sustainable tourism, local mountain pasture products, re-valorisation of old customs, traditional knowledge and trading routes, organizing training courses (e.g. to hand on mountain farmers´ traditional knowledge and skills), volunteers´ activities for nature conservation, botanical/faunistic excursions and lectures and related scientific research.


  • Almwirtschaft (mountain pasture management); Alps; Austria; mountain farming; Sölktäler Nature Park; sustainable land use; Styria.


  • Dipl.-Ing. Dr.nat.techn. Pia Regina Kieninger studied Landscape Planning and Landscape Protection at the BOKU and completed her PhD on rural development in Japanese rice-terrace landscape. Expertise: rural development; transformation processes in rural areas; landscape governance; environmental management; overaged societies; socio-ecological production landscapes (satoyama); bio-cultural diversity; visual anthropology. Ao.Univ. Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.nat.techn. Marianne Penker is associate professor and deputy head of the Institute for Sustainable Economic Development, Department of Economics and Social Sciences, BOKU. Expertise: regional development; implementation research; property rights; regional governance; landscape governance; institutional analysis; collective action; local food systems; geographical indications. Dipl.-Ing. Volkhard Maier, studied Forestry at the BOKU. Since 2009 he has been manager of the Sölktäler Nature Park. He develops and manages projects in the fields of regional development, nature conservation, education and tourism.

  • LINK:

  • Nature Park Soelktaeler in the Steiermark, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna

For more details, please refer to the link below.