Cultural landscape

Alpine pastures are an important part of Austria's culture and economy, with alpine pasture management consisting of many tasks.

Alpine pasture landscapes are characteristic of Austria and have always shaped the country economically and culturally. The national park distinguishes between four basic regions, namely the core zone, the outer zone, the special protection zone and the national park region. The aim of the outer zone is to preserve traditional uses - that is, for example, to preserve meadows, pastures and alpine pastures. Thus, alpine pastures are located in the outer zone of the Hohe Tauern National Park and have important functions.

Hohe Tauern Panorama Trail  | © Holiday Region National Park Hohe Tauern - Gerald Demolsky

Alpine pastures have important meanings in five directions in Austria: Business economics, national economy, society, cultural history and ecology.

In terms of business management, alpine pastures are important because they can be seen as the "head" of mountain agriculture and about 20% of Austrian farmers keep about 20% of "Austrian" cattle on alpine pastures in summer.
Economically, for the reason that future usability of agricultural land is given and because alpine pastures are also a basis for tourism.
Socially, alpine pastures are important because until a few decades ago they were important as meeting places with regard to marriage and the establishment of households.
The cultural landscape refers to "archetypes of Alpine domestic landscapes" and there are also still remnants of ancient style elements.

From an ecological point of view, the areas used for alpine pastures are little used in contrast to the overused areas in the valleys. In addition to the maintenance of the landscape, alpine pasture management also consists of the keeping of farm animals, which must be kept and cared for in a manner appropriate to the species, and with the help of which food is produced. For example, milk processing, which includes milking cows, making milk and butter and producing cheese, is an essential part of it.