Publication details

Building social capital by methods of nature conservation - example of rural practices in the Man and Biosphere Reserve, White Carpathians


ULČÁK Zbyněk

Year of publication 2009
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Description Based on a case study with strong public involvement, this contribution broadens the concept of rural multifunctionality and social capital by incorporating the communicative and educational functions especially typical for organic agriculture. The purpose of the project was to address the reduction of farming activities resulting in neglected fields and pastures in the northern part of the White Carpathians, a mountain range forming the border between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The White Carpathians have been declared a nature conservation area and are part of the network of the UNESCO "MAN AND BIOSPHERE" programme. The region is unique for its mosaic of forests and flower-rich meadows with many flora species, including orchids. The project resulted in the creation of a land management system rooted in tradition, but which does not just copy past techniques. The new system maintains and even increases the quality of the environment. In terms of environmental economy, the new practices increase environmental capital while building and enriching social capital, which results in economic profit. The project was carried out by the local NGO in close co-operation with nature conservation bodies, local authorities, farmers and the public. It is especially the nature of public involvement that reveals organic agriculture as more a sustainable variant of different landscape management systems, particularly due to its newly formulated cooperative and communicative function. In addition to its conservation benefits, this multifunctional organic agriculture project demonstrates how improved economic and social sustainability can be achieved.
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