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MILJØFORSK-Miljøforskning for en grønn samfunnsomstilling

Governing transitions in the Norwegian outfields: Between agrarian traditions, modern consumption and green industrialisation

Alternative title: Norsk utmark i endring: Mellom tradisjonelt landbruk, moderne konsum og grønn industrialisering

Awarded: NOK 8.4 mill.

Outfield is a translation of the Norwegian term utmark. Outfields are areas such as forest, upland and mountain areas, and islands and islets along the coast. Outfields cover 70 per cent of Norway?s land area. The term utmark has a long lineage of use in the Norwegian agrarian tradition as a counterpoint the Norwegian concept of innmark (infields). As such the outfields has been important as a supplement to the limited infield farmland in Norway. The outfields are crucial for bio-based industries and activities such as grazing, forestry, hunting, fishing and recreation, but also for other industries such as wind and hydro power production and mining. Throughout history a complex property system and diverse system of user rights have developed different types of commons or ?common like? management regimes in the outfields. The outfields are home to a range of other natural and cultural resources, and contain natural and semi-natural biodiversity of great importance for ecosystem services. Public access rights, and wide access to hunting and fishing ? add to the usage, cultural and symbolic importance of the outfields. In the present project we will examine: a) which challenges do actors experience regarding cumulative effects in the outfields and what are the best practices to manage these challenges, b) to what degree does different levels of trust in various government bodies influence outfield management, as well as its legitimacy in local communities, and c) best practices in terms of planning and governing outfield areas with conflicting interests.

The main objective of the research project is to develop the knowledge and analytical understanding necessary to assess strengths and weaknesses in the institutional arrangements involved in the transformations and pressures stemming from renewed interest in the outfields' material and cultural resources, and provide policy recommendations accordingly. In order to fulfil the main objective, we will conduct a broad analysis of the transition processes within and between agrarian traditions, modern consumption and green industrialisation in selected outfield regions in Norway. The project will identify strengths and weaknesses of current governance mechanisms in the study regions pertaining to the management of cumulative effects, social sustainability and trust, and planning and managing areas of conflicting interests. The regions will be compared, and on this basis we will provide recommendations to local, regional and central authorities, as well as to stakeholders. The work will be carried out in close cooperation with local and regional authorities, and inputs from stakeholders will be an important part of the project. The project will draw on theories of transition, legal geography and neo-institutional theories, and utilizing the emprical findings to analyse the manner in which transitions in the outfields challenge established norms and practices, and its implications for the transition to a green society. In 2017 Ruralis (the applicant) was granted a research network project 'Utmark i endring - eit heilheitleg perspektiv på tida og tilhøva i utmarka' [The outfields in transition - a holistic approach on a changing times and conditions in the Norwegian outfields] from the Norwegian Research Council. The present research project is based on the discussions and stakeholder inputs from these seminars. Thus, a novel aspect of the proposed project is that it is so deeply rooted in urgent issues brought forward by stakeholders directly to the project partners.

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MILJØFORSK-Miljøforskning for en grønn samfunnsomstilling