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Margherita Ciervo and Serge Schmitz

Abstract

Bio-energy (like other renewable energy sources) is proposed as a solution for climate change and other energy-related and economic issues. The predominant production model, however, which is based on first-generation biofuels developed on a global scale, creates ecological impacts throughout the production chain, resulting in a sustainability paradox, as well as social unrest and territorial conflict. Therefore, attention here is focussed on agro-energy and second-generation biofuels, investigating the structural differences, the advantages, the potential problems and the possible solutions of some local biofuel initiatives in North Western Europe. Finally, we propose a regional agrarian model to avoid the impacts and contradictions of the global industrial model, to produce a better ecological balance at both the local and the global levels, and to improve the democratic character of energy governance. In addition, we suggest a paradigmatic reading to better understand the cultural, political and socio-economic implications of the two models.

Open access

Charline Dubois and Serge Schmitz

Abstract

With its marginal practices and diversified services, agritourism is a complex subject of study. In some European rural areas it is seen as a smart diversification solution. Even though agritourism is rather weak on the Walloon tourist market level, it is important for farmers for whom it is often a means of supplementary income. Based on crossed data concerning potential tourists, local tenants, privileged witnesses and promotional information, the position of agritourism on the Walloon tourist market is analysed. It is shown that agritourism is a multiple micro-niche market primarily complementary to other sources of tourist supply. This paper underscores how the assets of demand, of the region and of the farm all shape agritourist diversification. Instead of providing a standardized well-known product, agritourism in Wallonia is richly diverse, which creates difficulties in branding this tourist market sector.

Open access

Irma Potočnik-Slavič and Serge Schmitz

Abstract

Based on evidence from nine countries (UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Croatia, Slovenia, and Ireland), this special issue analyses the fabrics of farm tourism in Europe. It identifies two main development trends: on one hand, a small scale and dispersed activities, at the other hand a product in response to tourist market demand. A brief overview of existing farm tourism practices in the European rural areas indicated an interesting interface between the forms and dimension of farm tourism embeddedness in local environment and at the same time, the ways and range of internationalization of farm tourism business