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Abstract

The relationship between farming and landscape is a topical and disputed issue – in academia, among policy analysts and between policy makers and involved citizens. At a general level, agriculture affects most rural landscapes, and when agriculture changes, landscapes change, often with great implications for biodiversity, cultural heritage, recreation and other functions. The farmer is the key agent concerning landscape management decisions and practices, and the landscape is managed through three roles. As producers of food, fibre and energy, farmers affect landscape processes and structures through the production practices applied. In this respect, farmers usually consider themselves and their colleagues as skilful and professional producers. As owners of farm properties, farmers take more long-term decisions concerning overall land uses and buildings, and owners are legally responsible for landscape changes more often than producers. When land is leased, producers and owners are two different agents, and when large cooperations are running the farm, the ‘owner’ dimension may be of limited significance. Finally, farmers are also members of local communities in which they may participate in collective landscape projects. In addition, farmers may also in their individual choices and practices include concerns for neighbours. Farmers may therefore also manage the local landscape in the role as citizens. A growing number of public policy measures are affecting farmers' landscape management with all three roles being of relevance. In these policies, however, farmers are often seen solely in their role as producers implying that they may be targeted inappropriately, because their management practices and the motives behind are interpreted too narrowly, and opportunities for more effective policies may therefore be missed.