New multifunctional hunting landscapes in Denmark

Andreas Aagaard Christensen*, Stig Roar Svenningsen, Maria Sofie Lommer, Jesper Brandt

*Corresponding author

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Countryside hunting is a widespread recreational activity among Danish farmers and is also a commercial activity performed on a quarter of the agricultural land area. In coalition with other types of wildlife-oriented activities, hunting related landscape management practices has contributed to a stabilisation of the amount and area of habitats available for wildlife in the countryside since the mid-1980ties. Between 1992 and 2008 subsidization of mandatory set aside land under the EU Common Agricultural Policy gave rise to the establishment of a characteristic type of multifunctional hunting landscapes in Denmark, primarily located on fallow land in tilled valley bottoms. A national survey of these landscapes in 2006 has been carried out and 1061 hunting areas have been identified nationwide. Their emergence was closely related to changes in the regulation and subsidization of set aside land as part of the common agricultural policy. Subsidies relating to set aside land acted as a supplementary type of income, which supported the development of multifunctional land use on marginal soils where the income from hunting and subsidies in combination was a viable alternative to monofunctional rotational agriculture. Hunting landscapes developed as the consequence of landscape management strategies designed to comply with the requirements of the common agricultural policy while improving habitat conditions for wildlife and increasing income from hunting rental activities. Interestingly though, the hunting landscapes which developed during the period when fallow land was a mandatory and subsidized part of the Common agricultural policy have not all disappeared. Only 47% were in rotational production in 2010 while 19% were used for other agricultural purposes and 34% were taken out of the subsidy regime and removed from the general agricultural register. In 2012 a total of 431 such areas - 41 % of the areas identified in 2006 - were still used for hunting. The number and geographical distribution of the hunting landscapes seems closely related to the potential average hunting rent, the level of urbanisation and the occurrence of manorial estates with traditions for multifunctional land use as part of their economic strategy. Implications for the ongoing discussion on land use policy concerning land sharing versus land sparing is discussed.
TidsskriftGeografisk Tidsskrift
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)25-40
Antal sider16
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2014

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