Landscapes & Livelihoods in the North Atlantic:research for rural community development

Throughout the North Atlantic Periphery, rural communities face a variety of similar challenges when it comes to managing their resources and creating and capturing value. Because even such private activities as fishing, grazing, or opening a seaside hotel depend on public conditions – such as healthy fish populations, well-managed range areas, or compatible neighboring land uses – institutional innovation in resource management is often the necessary foundation for private entrepreneurship.

On this theme Prof. Hoffman maintains a varied and ongoing research program in Norway and Scotland with a variety of academic and industry partners. Current projects include an effort to expand the use of grazing resources in Norway (with NIBIO), an enquiry into the social foundations and consequences of technological innovation in agriculture (with RURALIS), and a study of game management in Scotland compared to Norway (with the James Hutton Institute). Funding is currently being sought for a project that will map unused potential grazing land in Maine and create a system for making it available.

Student involvement: The project in Maine will hire and train at least three students in cooperation with local community partners, also introducing them to visiting Norwegian collaborators. In 2020, Prof. Hoffman will lead a USM travel course to Norway.