Bolette Bele

Research Scientist

(+47) 911 95 359


Visiting address
Vinnavegen 38, 7512 Stjørdal

To document


Mountain tourism depends intensively on the quality of the landscape. In recent years, the Norwegian Trekking Association has focused on local food products at their staffed lodges and it uses the slogan “eat the view.” Such a strategy raises the focus on the agricultural use of the land and the quality of the products. Several Norwegian studies were carried out to investigate the quality of different mountain products and connections with vegetation types and grazing behavior. The results show that milk and meat products from animals grazing on alpine rangelands have improved quality compared to “normal” products. A healthier fatty acid composition and a higher content of secondary plant metabolites were characteristic of mountain products. Furthermore, grazing is of the utmost importance for the maintenance of open mountain landscapes and the biodiversity that is dependent on such landscapes. Maintaining traditional grazing systems also secures the preservation of traditional ecological knowledge about utilizing natural resources. Mountain tourism experiences could be improved and enhanced by documenting and telling the unique story of these complex connections between mountain landscapes, biodiversity, agricultural traditions, and local food products.


Terroir characteristics of local food products are sometimes a result of ecosystem services from special nature types as mountain semi-natural grasslands. Several environmental conditions such as climate, topography, location above sea level, geology and soil are important factors defining frames for different vegetation types and available fodder resources in mountain areas. In addition, cultural traditions and a great variety in human land use systems are important determinants for grassland biodiversity. Results from several Norwegian studies show that species rich mountain pastures improve local food quality.


The objective of this pilot study was to compare resource use in a mountainous summer farming landscape between old and modern dairy cow breeds during a five-day period. The modern breed used a larger part of the landscape than the old breed, most likely due to differences in habitat patterns. The old breed group preferred semi-natural pastures, while the modern breed preferred overgrown semi-natural meadows, intermediate fen, intermediate wooded fen, and grass-rich sub-alpine birch woodland. Both breeds spent most time grazing grasses, but the modern breed showed a higher frequency of grasses and Vaccinium myrtillus in its diet, while the old breed showed a higher frequency of bushes and trees. The pilot study shows some trends supplementing and strengthening earlier results on how modern and traditional cattle breeds are differing in their impact on vegetation based on their use of space and their different diets.