The Faroese Commons and the biodiversity and sustainable development agendas

Jesper Brandt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since 1992 World Summit in Rio, Sustainable Development and Biodiversity have been the two main agendas which have been developed to counteract the environmental problems resulting from industrial modernisation. Although these agendas should be complementary, there are tensions between them due to a widespread reluctance towards integration. This is especially problematic in relation to many historical productive cultural landscapes. Clear examples can be found in pastoral areas where the rewilding of historical grazing areas, to achieve a presumed increased biodiversity, conflicts with centuries old stable grazing systems which are managed by local/indigenous polities. These grazing systems are also prized for their diversity and amenity value. An example of how the sustainability and biodiversity agendas can be integrated under the management of local polities is elucidated in this study of the sustainability of sheep grazing on the Faroe Islands regulated by the ancient Nordic ‘skipan’ principle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalLandscape research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Rio process
  • Agenda 21
  • biodiversity
  • sustainability
  • carrying capacity
  • climate change
  • land use
  • commons
  • infield-outfield system


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