Cultural landscapes in mountain regions are important elements of social identity and contribute to political cohesion. They develop and change over time as a result of the interplay of socio-economic, cultural and natural factors and can thus only be understood as a process. Since changes are often irreversible, any change and interference demands careful consideration. Cultural landscapes are, however, not only public interest goods and services that directly affect the social well-being of individuals but also represent important rural development assets. Cultural landscapes are part of a region's capital stock and base for the development of mountain communities. Their quality is as important as the local road network, communication or education facilities. In Austria, mountain farming still bears the key role in safeguarding the sensitive eco-system and thereby the multifunctional landscape and the general living and working space.
Dax, Thomas, Hovorka, Gerhard (2002): Co-operative Strategies and Institutional Development in the Alpine Pasture Area Teichalm-Sommeralm, Austria, In: Koutsouris, Alex (Hrsg.) (2002): Innovative Structures for the Sustainable Development of Mountainous Areas, Volume 1. Athens. 45-70. (publiziert auch in: Mountain Forum on-line Library. http://www.mtnforum.org/resources/library/kouta02a.htm)