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Triumph of the commons: A case study of the Ober-Inn and Ötz valleys in Tirol, Austria

Frederick, Yirilabuo (2013) Triumph of the commons: A case study of the Ober-Inn and Ötz valleys in Tirol, Austria.

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Abstract:Pastoral land rights remain a great concern for land administration especially in African countries where pastoralists move seasonally in search of grass for their livestock. Their land rights have often been excluded in the formalization of land titles and many conflicts occur with sedentary farmers. The issue have been aggravated when Hardin postulated doom for resources held in common. Thus many developments on land issues never gave much attention to the pastoralists land rights and communal land holdings. While these negative perceptions of communal land management persist, in the Alpine regions of Western Europe, communal pasturing and communal land holding do exist. The aim of this study therefore was to investigate, comprehend and understand the tenure arrangement and management of the Alpine pastures and mountain meadows in the Upper Inn and Ötz valleys in Tirol, Austria. Four Municipalities; Serfaus, Fiss, Ladis and Sölden were chosen as the study area and data collected from eight (8) key informants. Six (6) key informants were from user groups/Alp Association (Agrargemeinschaft) of the Alpine Pasture (commons) and two (2) from Municipality. A semi-structured interview using questionnaire guide was conducted to elicit information from these key informants who were either, the chairpersons or secretaries of the user groups (Agrargemeinschaft) or mayors of the municipalities. Some of the informants contacts were identified through the web browser and others were provided by the Alpine Forschungsstelle Obergurgl (AFO), University of Innsbruck. The theoretical framework of the study is based on Five (5) of the eight (8) design principles of (Elinor Ostrom, 1990). The study reveals that communal land holdings and pasturing is sustainable. The adherence of the design principles tested in the study indicated that the principles are applicable within the study area. In Serfaus, Fiss and Ladis, it was found out that ownership of the Alpine pastures are registered in the name of the Municipality while the management of the grazing is organized by the Agrargemeinschaft. In Sölden however, the Agrargemeinschaft are the registered owners of the Alpine pastures and at the same time manage and organize the grazing activities. Apart from grazing on the pastures, there is also an important use of the pastures during winter season where private companies who have lease rights organize skiing activities. The user group are well organized and the management of the resource is managed through elected executives of the AGM who are answerable to members during annual meetings where decisions are taken collectively, participatory and democratically. Keywords: land tenure, Alpine pasture, design principle, Tirol
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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