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Cooperative Grazing Organizations in the Pre-Alpine and Alpine Region of Germany: Typology; Economic Importance for the Local Farmers; Future Development

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Gueydon, Anne; Hoffmann, Helmut
Conference: Building the European Commons: From Open Fields to Open Source, European Regional Meeting of the International Association for the Study of Common Property (IASCP)
Location: Brescia, Italy
Conf. Date: March 23-25
Date: 2006
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/194
Sector: Grazing
General & Multiple Resources
New Commons
Region: Europe
Subject(s): IASC
mountain regions
traditional institutions
Abstract: "In Germany the Allmende, the old designation for the collective pastoral organizations, have a long tradition going back several hundreds of years. Until the 19th century the Allmende systems were present all over Germany. After the secularization in the 19th century their number decreased strongly. Nowadays they are mostly restricted to the Alpine region in Southern Bavaria. These joint organizations are based on a consensus between one or several land owners and several land users. The latter ones own the right to use the land for grazing activities. The right users are usually organised in cooperative or association form and they manage collectively the utilisation of the pasture. The jointly organizations are often regulated by traditional rules. The collective alpine pastures play a significant role for the conservation of the region's landscape, biodiversity and the recreational values. They contribute to the maintenance of the regional economy and identity. This paper carries out an analysis of the collective alpine pastures existing in the alpine area of Bavaria. It gives first a detailed description of the structure, stakeholders and institutional assets governing them. Secondly it provides an appraisal of the efficiency and potential problem regarding their utilisation intensity. The appraisal reveals that some components like property rights and rules seem in some cases to defect. For instance rules are lacking in situation where use of the resource is depleted. Moreover the adaptation of some rights such as access and exclusion right seems important to guarantee the continuity of utilisation of the pastures. The characteristics of the community and the level of decision-making perform a relatively good social cohesion among the collective alps. Financial support and involvement of extern institutions reinforce the signification of the collective alps, although it has some reverse effect on the systems. Individual interests in the exploitation of the resource seem to play a significant role as well. All these points deliver a first draft of explanation regarding the current use of the systems."

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