The World Heritage area of the West Norwegian
Fjords includes a rich and diverse cultural landscape. Throughout history and even today agriculture plays a big part in shaping
the cultural landscape. The cultural landscape shaped by agriculture contributes to the very dramatic and breathtaking scenery in the West Norwegian fjords. Nevertheless, it is first and foremost the alternating between natural and cultural landscape and the experience of the interaction between man and nature in time and space which gives the landscape its character and makes the experience so rich and attractive.
The rich and varied animal and plant life in the area have important habitat in the hayfields, pasture landscapes and farm area. Most of these sites are now in transition - where overgrowth due to lack of farming is the area's largest threat for the conservation of the important natural and cultural values of the World Heritage Area.
The cultural landscape within the World Heritage site
retained a high social value as a national symbol and is a beacon in the international marketing of Norway as a tourist destination. At the same time the landowners and farmers who own the cultural landscape of the world heritage area experience that the private economic value of the cultural landscape has become increasingly smaller. Agriculture and animal husbandry are in strong decline and important cultural landscape areas are in danger of fully overgrowing. Actual funds at our disposal within the agriculture, tourism, environment and culture sectors are not sufficient enough to maintain the cultural landscape, and there is a conflict between modern agriculture and the cultural landscape's needs. This is one of the areas biggest challenges, and the West Norwegian Fjords would like to have a living landscape with grazing animals and active farmers.