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Participatory approaches to accessibility in the agricultural landscape of Southern Sweden

Gyllin, Mats


In highly productive agricultural areas, accessibility to the landscape is restricted, for people as well as for wildlife flora and fauna. Swedish legislation allows access to most areas that are not house lots, growing crop or other specifically protected land. Since there is growing crop on most agricultural areas in the southernmost parts of Sweden during spring, summer and autumn, access is extremely limited, and pressure is heavy on the few remaining accessible areas and passages. There are an increasing number of people moving out into the countryside in new housing areas surrounded only by arable land lacking suitable recreation options. The number of horse owners in this region is also growing, but available space for them is not. At the same time, regional and local authorities are showing a growing concern for the biological qualities and the lack of space for biodiversity. Landowners, on the other hand – particularly those with sensitive crops – are unwilling to allow people even restricted access to their land, for fear of losing their income. With these aspects in mind, it is not surprising that conflicts are abundant. In two different multidisciplinary case studies, we have tried to identify the various stakeholders and bring them together in an attempt to solve the most important problems using informal, communicative approaches. One of the cases involved an abandoned quarry with some biological qualities that is being transformed into a recreation area surrounded by arable land. User groups are many and to some extent with conflicting interests. The second case concerns a much larger area, almost entirely consisting of agricultural fields, but with growing numbers of new inhabitants moving out from the city of Malmö, and growing numbers of horse owners. Both projects concluded that many conflicts can be resolved by simple means, e.g. organising interest groups talking to each other, or by canalising activities in certain directions

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