The CCRI is involved in a project, FUTGRAZE, which is being led by Bjørn Egil Flo, Senior Scientist in the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO). It is funded by the Norwegian government.

FUTGRAZE is a 3 year project that will investigate how the local common land in Norway associations are adapting to environmental, political and economic changes and why it seems that some are more able to adapt and avoid conflict than others. Only 3% of Norway is defined as cultivated agricultural land while 95% of the country is designated as ‘outfield’, part of which is managed as ‘state commons’ and the rest as common grazing land under a variety of ownership regimes.  The CCRI will be working with the project team and discussing how similar issues are dealt with in England and Wales. The key staff within the CCRI will be Chris Short , Chair of the Foundation for Common Land and John Powell, a former President of the IASC.

Discussing management of the upland commons on the fells above Grasmere

In June 2019 a group of Norwegian researchers and stakeholders visited the UK to meet commoners in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales. During the visit the team explored the governance and management regimes of common land in the UK and discovered a similar set of challenges affecting common grazing land in England and the different ways these are being addressed.  Both countries have a long history of commons management, with all the associated issues around the assignment of rights of use and ownership.  Both countries have informal and formal organisations managing commons, along with a complex array of different forms of common right.  The Lake District National Park currently receives around 19 million visitors a year, and the visitors were keen to hear how this impacted the management of common land.   The increasing number of interests and activities in upland areas of both Norway and England are forcing farmers involved in grazing to explore the extent to which both economic and institutional arrangements need to change.  In both countries the increasing numbers of visitors have brought opportunities for diversification of farm enterprise, and a wider range of employment opportunities.

The project will identify 'best practice' and outline good ways to manage, manage and operate our pasture areas, and propose concrete arrangements for handling various interest misconceptions.

Due to the on-going challenges posed by COVID-19, the FUTGRAZE project has been delayed and will conclude in late 2021/early 2022. A workshop in Norway is planned in conjunction with a suite of publications.