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Research article2010Peer reviewed

Tenancy in Norwegian agriculture

Dramstad, W. E.; Sang, Neil


Norwegian agriculture has, as in most western-European countries, gone through several periods ofchange during the last 100 years. Pronounced changes have occurred in production systems and thespatial organisation of farm land, as well as agricultural policy. During the last 50 years, official statisticsdocument a marked decline in the number of active farms. This decline has caused concern, as Norwaytraditionally has had an agricultural policy that emphasises self-sufficiency and rural settlement. Yetstatistics also show that the amount of agricultural land in use has remained the same. This is usuallyexplained through a larger proportion of tenanted land, as technological progress has allowed produc-tion levels to be maintained with a smaller workforce. Studies elsewhere in Europe show, however, that tenancy may not promote the same levels of investment and landscape management as owner occupation.To assess the potential impact of this change on Norway's landscape (and its value as both a cultural and tourism resource) we analyse tenancy patterns in Norwegian agriculture between 1999 and 2003. In particular we note that, even if owner occupation remains strong nationally, when the statistics are broken down by municipality, tenancy has increased significantly in some areas. This has left large areas of land managed as tenancies by a relatively small number of farmers, including parts of the iconic west coast fjords. We conclude therefore that further work is urgently required to establish whether the effects of tenancy seen elsewhere apply to Norway, whether this exposes key landscapes to increased risk of abandonment and if so what appropriate political responses there could be.


Tenancy; Spatial statistics; Agricultural land management

Published in

Land Use Policy
2010, Volume: 27, number: 3, pages: 946-956 Publisher: ELSEVIER SCI LTD

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Landscape Architecture
    Agricultural Science

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