Change in mountain summer farming practices: a case study from Stølsheimen, Western Norway
Seasonal farming has been an important part of the Norwegian farming system. It reached its greatest extent in the mid-19th century but has declined significantly since. Several research publications on seasonal farming from Norway and other countries, in dealing with its historical development, mention only certain types of change affecting seasonal farming. By examining changes in practices this article tries to elucidate ways in which seasonal farming can be seen as a flexible system. The starting point is the development of a terminology of change: transformation, alteration and fluctuation. Practices examined concern movement patterns, markers for movement, dates of movement, livestock type and number, and procurement of fuel. The results show different degrees of change in most practices, although some have remained unchanged. However, the latter can be seen as providing a framework for flexibility. Focus on flexibility and different types of change can increase awareness of the past as non-static. A more detailed understanding of change can be especially important for approaches to landscape protection as it can help to identify whether changes represent threats to protection values or not.