Rural areas include managed forested areas, farming areas, and settled areas. These areas offer a huge diversity of situations, from prosperous zones to those in decline, from sparsely populated areas, possibly on the point of being abandoned, to zones of high population density that are very active, with a network of towns and trade activities.
These areas share a common set of challenges that they all have to face:
_ – using farming, forestry and freshwater fish-farming to manage artificial ecosystems for producing food and raw materials while adopting a sustainable ecological approach;
_ – retaining a degree of cultural, political, demographic, and economic autonomy in the face of developing cities;
_ – increasingly, supplying new global amenities — such as contributions to climate balance and water purification.
These shared challenges enable us to distinguish a number of key issues:
_ – political and cultural capacities of rural areas;
_ – production of economic resources (food, fuel, and textiles);
_ – protection of vital natural resources (water, soil, biodiversity).
The proposals of this paper, written by Matthieu Calame, are classified according to these three categories.