2005 Volume 114 Issue 4 Pages 579-598
This study analyzes rural restructuring and its sustainability in rural Bavaria, Germany, using the example of Unterjoch, which is located in a mountain region. In Unterjoch, the sustainable rural system has been characterized by more extensive and differentiated land use since the 1990s. In general, the intensive use of rural land has led to pluriactivity in rural Europe. A recent trend is the attraction of rural tourism.
Until the 1980s farmers achieved pluriactivity by combining intensive farming in arable land accompanied by price support, guest house management and service sector employment in urban areas. But intensive farming degraded arable land that played an important role, not only for production, but also for attracting rural tourism. At the same time, the number of overnight guests decreased, and the number of day-trip guests increased in Unterjoch. In addition, since the 1990s the EU has worked out a policy to reduce price supports for farmers and restrict the overuse of arable land by reforming CAP (Common Agricultural Policy).
In response to these socio-economic changes, farmers in Unterjoch diversified pluriactivity by adding organic farming and direct marketing for the purpose of sustaining arable land as the space for production and attraction to rural tourists. Farmers started to use arable land extensively for organic farming. Furthermore, they re-used and diversified mountainous land in the Alp, abandoned during the productivist era, according to the standards of the organic certification group. In addition, farmers restructured the system in which they produce and sell agricultural product that utilize local resources. Moreover, farmers are now able to receive subsidies from agro-environmental policies in spite of the reduction of price supports owing to the reform of CAP.
From the view point of community-based development, the vertical differentiation of spatial use makes it possible for farm and tourism-oriented management to co-exist with a common purpose of sustaining rural space for tourism. The area for farm-oriented management is made up of arable land and mountainous land in the Alp, whereas the area for tourism-oriented management consists of arable land and housing. As a result, a community-based development model named 'Öko-modell Hindelang' is promoted, which is designed to promote the extensive use of arable land for sustaining the attraction of rural tourists and direct the marketing of agricultural products to rural tourists.