Description of the upland economy : areas of outstanding beauty and marginal economic performance
Long-term sustainable management of UK uplands as social-ecological systems is critical for maintaining their value as areas of natural beauty and for the continued provision of important ecosystem services. Over centuries, the human-environment interactions have evolved, resulting in a multitude of often competing land uses. Recognising changing socio-economic patterns is important for understanding the pressures on current management of the uplands. Especially over the last few decades, a number of social, economic and institutional forces have significantly influenced the pressures on the uplands.
In this chapter we explore such interactions by characterizing the upland economy and discussing the impacts on the management of UK uplands of various changing socio-economic forces. The discussion throughout the chapter shall refer to UK upland areas in general, and illustrated where data are available, with reference to the Peak District National Park (PDNP). The Peak District is typical of upland regions around the UK and Europe, which are often plagued by very similar issues. Most are economically marginal and tend to be environmentally sensitive, and generally they face rapid socio-economic changes that are often driven by national and international policies, which are themselves responses to a range of pressures that include demographic shifts, economic development and environmental changes such as climate change, pollution, and the loss of biodiversity.