Mountain regions are fragile ecosystems and an important source of water, energy and biological diversity. Furthermore they are a source of such key resources as minerals, forest and agricultural products, as well as being landscapes for tourism and recreation. As a major ecosystem representing the complex and interrelated ecology of our planet, mountain environments are essential to the survival of the global ecosystem. Cultural landscapes in mountain regions develop and change over time as a result of the interplay of socio-economic, cultural and natural factors and can thus only be understood as a process. Since changes are often irreversible, any change and interference demands careful consideration. The Austrian mountain area has long been more than just an agricultural region. Rather it is a fully integrated living and working space, whose geographical characteristics do not lead to separation in a structural economic sense. They express themselves much more in the limited space available for settlement and industry, the handicaps on agriculture and forestry, in an expensive infrastructure and a particularly sensitive landscape.
Hovorka, Gerhard (2002): Agriculture in the mountain Areas of Austria in an international context./Die Berglandwirtschaft in Österreich im internationalen Kontext. In: Ländlicher Raum, Online-Fachzeitschrift des BMLFUW, Nr. 2/2002. Wien. 9 Seiten. (http://www.laendlicher-raum.at)