Regional Park of Ballon des Voges

The St Amarin Valley is a region located in the Vosges Mountain and characterised by as industrial heritage. The development of this valley was based on textile industry in the 50’s and agricultural land was essentially managed by pluri-active peasant-workers farmers. A large part of the land belonged (and still belongs) to the municipalities. Herd management was common and a cowherd employed by the municipality led the cows on the municipal pastures. But with the development of the industry and full-time jobs, the number of part-time farmers declined as well as the number of animals in the valley. The collective organisation collapsed in the 70’s and the farmland progressively turned into forest and bushes. In the 80’s, a population of new entrants re-started farming activities in the valley. They settled on municipal land and progressively re-opened the landscape to access to pasture and farmland. This new population of farmers is the core of our case-study.

Around this initiative, a new dynamic in agriculture appears around sharing the equipment, developing employment in agriculture and marketing the local production.

Then municipalities became aware of the importance of landscape management in the valley. In the same time, the Regional Natural Park of Ballons des Vosges began an experimentation on landscape planning in some valleys of the Vosges Mountains. The St Amarin Valley is one of the pilot sites. The implementation of the agri-environmental measure “Management of open spaces and high pastures in Vosges mountains” in the middle of the 90’s support this initiative and a even more farmers in the valley participated in re-opening the landscape.

The specificity of this case is that it is not anymore an on-going transition: the transition is in stabilised (cf. Conceptual Framework). We study the current consequences of this stabilisation, of which the generational question: will a new generation of young farmers wish to go on with the same model as the farmers who initiated the transition? The theroretical question raised deals with the middle and long-term stability of a transition process toward sustainable agriculture. Our answer through this case study is rather balanced.


Image:Landscape shots of the St Amarin Valley.