The overall aim of the proposed project is to build new knowledge on structural changes in agriculture, rural communities and cultural landscapes in the modern past, at present and discuss future structures in agriculture. Four sub themes will inform the overall aim of the project: 1) What are the main causes and effects of structural changes in agriculture? 2) What are the impacts of structural changes in landscapes (biolodiversity/cultural heritage/visual quality/accessibility)? 3) To what extent is agriculture necessary for viable rural communities? 4) How do structural changes in agriculture influence and challenge ownership practices in rural communities? From case studies of three regions of Norway the multidisciplinary team of applicants aim to build new knowledge about structural change in agriculture. The proposed project emphasizes the classic topic of agricultural and rural research: agricultural structures, how they change ower time, and the causes and effect of these changes. With this knowledge, causal relations between past and present structural changes in agriculture will be identified and discussed for property structure, the agricultural and rural economy, rural communities and landscape change. The project will analyse documents, statistical information, visual data and qualitative semi-structured interviews with representatives of farmers, rural property owners, local government bodies and local organisations. Norway will be compared with systems in Switzerland, Germany and Scotland. Potential gains and losses will be discussed, from economic, environmental, social and cultural perspectives, when responding to climate change actions and an unstable global financial situation.
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