The climate crisis with its bad heat and dry spells, the rush of holidaymakers and day trippers to the mountains, more and more ruthless mountain bikers and hikers and of course the structural change in agriculture: the mountain farmers have a lot of problems. And not just in Bavaria. But also in Austria, South Tyrol and Switzerland. But by far what drives her most is the re-spreading of the wolves. The wolf was the main topic at the “Alpen.Gipfel.Europa 2022” on Monday at the Untere Firstalm in Schliersee. Politicians like Agriculture Minister Michaela Kaniber (CSU) as well as high-ranking officials like German Farmers’ President Joachim Rukwied and his Bavarian counterpart Walter Heidl have been demanding that the EU relax the strict protection status of the predators and make it easier to kill them, but of course also by the alpine farmers themselves. Because from their point of view, the risk of the predators killing sheep and cattle on the mountain pastures is too great.
“Alpen.Gipfel.Europa” sees itself as a cross-border forum for mountain agriculture in the German-speaking Alps. It is sponsored by the farmers’ associations in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Salzburger Land, Tyrol, South Tyrol and Switzerland. This year the theme was “Biodiversity – stay the farmer, live the Alm”. The podium was correspondingly international. The associations presented a joint resolution for the forum. In addition to a rigid treatment of the wolf, they call for funding programs, for example for regional marketing and holidays on alpine pastures, but also a targeted management of hikers and mountain bikers so that the mountain farmers can work in peace. From the point of view of the mountain farmers, support for combating the climate crisis, for example against the increasingly frequent mudslides, must also be increased. Otherwise there is a risk of more and more alpine pastures being abandoned and thus the desolation of a unique cultural landscape, as the biologist and alpine pasture specialist Alfred Ringler emphasized. Like other speakers, he made the attractiveness of the Alps and thus the alpine pastures clear using two numbers. According to this, around 14 million people live in the entire Alpine region. At the same time, the mountains are visited by 50 million holidaymakers and day visitors every year.