Pielachtal Region – Best Practices in Inter-Municipal Cooperation
The Pielach Valley in Lower Austria presents itself with the motto "Traditionally Sustainable". Since the 1990s it has lived through a phase of reconsideration of its region's strengths and its inhabitants are "proud and protective" of their natural resources. They are convinced that inter-municipal cooperation is able to resolve many problems and work successfully together to protect their natural living and working habitat.
Pielachtal is situated in the "must quarter" near Vienna, and as the name suggests: it's all about fruit and its distillates; tourism plays an important role, too. People cherish and preserve the heritage of agricultural working traditions (hedge selvages, trees, grove isles) not simply as part of the cultural landscape but because of their value for the ecological system, as a precondition for biodiversity and as a source of healthy consumption. The valley's self-understanding and activism as a trailblazer in sustainable development and innovative tourism has received a number of awards.
Award-worthy Sustainability Projects
Sustainable projects are, for instance, the Ecological Lifecycle and the Land Alliance Pielachtal. The Land Alliance intends to resolve the problem of proliferating woods, i.e. the loss of productive areas and cultural landscapes with its tenuous consequences for agriculture, biodiversity and tourism. Citizen workshops developed proposals for the preservation of cultural landscapes, forestry, land protection and water retention. The project inverted 34.000 Euros and brought about a landscape framework plan. It promotes integrative tourism, offers qualification measures, consults and informs.
Farmers get a fair price for quality products, community heating plants transform the excessive wood into usable energy and create regional value, retention pools alleviate the dangers of flooding. The distillery and dried fruit cooperatives reassign economic importance to the fruit pastures and hedges and guarantee their preservation. Regional produce and cuisine, nature gardens, hiking and mountainbiking trails are achievements of Pielachtal sustainability projects. What's more, since 2008, an annual sustainability conference has been held which focuses on current issues in sustainable tourism.
Picture credits: Weinfranz
About Pielachtal (in German): http://www.pielachtal.info