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Division of Food Production and Society

Towards a Future for Common Grazing - rules, norms and cooperation in outlying grazing areas

Finished Last updated: 01.07.2023
End: dec 2021
Start: jan 2018

Prosjektets hovudspørsmål er: 

Status Concluded
Start - end date 01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021
Project manager Bjørn Egil Flø
Division Division of Food Production and Society
Department Economics and Society

Korleis tilpassar dei formelle og uformelle institusjonane - knytt til felles beiting i utmarka – seg dei miljømessige, politiske og økonomiske endringane over tid? Samt korleis påverkar desse endringane dei ulike brukarane sine generelle strategiar for samarbeid? Og meir spesifikt; korleis påverkar desse endringane samarbeidet mellom beitebrukarane innanfor dei ulike beiteområda?

Prosjektet vil undersøke

Prosjektet vil identifisere «beste praksis» og skissere gode måtar å forvalte, styre og drifte beiteområda våre på og foreslå konkrete ordningar for handtering av ulike interessemotsetnadar.

Publications in the project


Norwegian sheep production is based on the use of free outfield grazing resources in the mountains and forests in summer. Lamb prices are strongest at the beginning of the slaughter season in August and then begin to gradually decline, reaching a lower plateau in mid-October. Seasonal pricing provides incentives to get slaughter lambs to market early. The objective of this study was to examine how outfield summer pasture quality, time of collection from the outfields, and inclusion of annual forage crops in the diet of finishing lambs influence optimal farm plans and profitability in Norwegian forage-based sheep production systems at varying levels of farmland availability (varying from 15 to 25 ha with 20 ha as the basis). A linear programming model was developed for sheep production systems in the mountainous areas of Southern Norway. Input-output relationships incorporated into the model included data from field experiments with grasses for annual and perennial use, observed performance of lambs and ewes at pastures, a feed planning tool for the indoor season, and expert judgements. The model maximised total gross margin of farms with a housing capacity of 200 ewes. The results suggested that with more land available, drafting older and heavier lambs for slaughter was profitable. The lighter lambs at weaning were usually drafted much later and at the same or heavier carcass weights than the heavy lambs at weaning because of seasonal pricing. Higher quality outfield summer pastures increased lamb live weights at weaning. Annual profits improved considerably with rich summer pastures compared to poor summer pastures. Early collection was always less profitable than normal time of collection because greater prices for lambs sold could not offset losses from the additional feed costs incurred and a possibly smaller flock. Speeding up the growth rate of finishing lambs by offering annual forage crops in addition to grazed grass was usually more profitable than grass only. Only for rich summer pastures and normal time of collection at low land availability was use of annual forage crops unprofitable.


New projects in England and Norway addresses threats to traditional collaborative management by using a collaborative and multi-partner approach to improving the goods and services from commons. These goods and services include water quality and flood protection, biodiversity, cultural landscape, access, carbon storage and archaeology. The projects will increase understanding of the heritage of commons and their role in ecosystems service provision between visitors, local communities, policy makers and farmers. Overall the aim is to seek ways that improve the dialogue with and support the contribution of commoners and commons to the delivery of public goods and services. A key aim is to address the lack of understanding of commoning and commons amongst decision makers and other organisations who influence the management of the land. A pilot project in England produced a set of ‘attributes of successful management for multiple outcomes’ and these are central to the "Our Common Cause" project, which started in England in 2017. The co-production approach will be outlined regarding the best practice in the commoning community. Given the limited opportunities to build capacity and increase capability it is essential to promote and examine good case studies to ensure that knowledge and skills exchange is viable. The trans-regional approach is essential due to the fragmented nature of commons across England and justified by the themes that arose from the regions in the pilot. The richness of experience across the country will benefit commons, commoning communities and the range of organisations (public and private) that engage with them. The FUTGRAZE project in Norway seeks to tackle the issue of 'how do formal and informal institutions concerning common grazing adapt to environmental, political and economic change over time how do these changes influence different users cooperative strategies? It examine: - current arrangements for governance, management and operation in Norwegian grazing areas; - how grazing and cooperation are affected by change in land use pressure and structural changes causing reduced number of pasture farmers in some areas and asymmetry in herd sizes in other; - how grazing areas that are organized differently solve different challenges. The paper consider three broad areas. 1. The most fundamental threat is that the role of commoners and commons is neither understood nor valued; 2. The increasing number of external pressures on commoners threatens to undermine the systems and cultural landscapes of commons; 3. The decline in commoning threatens the heritage of commons and the public goods and services they It also diminishes the resilience of commons in the face of external pressures.