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Abstract

What does rural Europe look like in 2030? Is agriculture still the main land user? In recent years, studies such as ESPON, Eururalis, SCENAR2020, SENSOR, SEAMLESS and PRELUDE have tried to address these questions. These studies resulted in a number of alternative futures of rural areas in the EU. In this paper a comparative analysis of these scenario studies is made in order to explore differences and similarities in the scenarios and alternative futures of rural areas in the EU. For this purpose, we designed a scheme for assessing the properties of the various scenarios and a scheme for a systematic description of the rural futures according to the scenarios. It appears that most scenario studies use a baseline scenario and a set of alternative scenarios with different degrees of policy regulation. Agriculture will continue to be a main land user in 2030, although some land abandonment will take place.

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