The use of history in the assessment and the understanding of traditional forest related knowledge

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7 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 10 μήνες)

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The use of history in the assessment
and the

understanding
of

traditional

forest related knowledge

Mauro Agnoletti


University of Florence


mauro.agnoletti@unifi.it


Keywords:

History, landscape,
traditional knowledge
, management


The
current
growing importance
of traditional

knowledge is

also the result
of the

attempt to find a different approach in sus
tainable forest management, taking into
consideration the role of culture
not only

in shaping the forest landscape, but also in
the creation of different levels of
biodiversity as

we
ll as various

environmental services.
To day the role

of culture is

recognized
by several

internatio
nal initiatives, especially

the joint program between CB
D and
UNESCO on

biocultural
diversity and

the Global
Important Agriculture Heritage
System program

run by FAO. However
,

the
se

development
s

suggest a

careful evaluation
of the historical dynamics at landscape and
ecosystem leve
l, in order
to assess the

role

and the importance of cultural f
actors
.
The
many ways in which human beings have shaped the natural landscape over the
centuries have produced some of the most representative manifestat
ions of the world’s

many different cultural identities. On a par with other testimonies of the past (books,
works of art, etc.), the landscape is a repository of cultural values whose importance
may

not be

completely understood without a
analysis of
the multiplicity and
stra
tificat
ion of the footprints left by

many distinct civilizations
,

in the form of new plants
species, cultivation techniques, plantation and land delimitation methods, water
collection and use
, and buildings and land works.
The
bicultural

diversity at lands
cape
level


is revealed especially when
the
historical dimension is explored
.

A

historical
perspective can recognize the environmental systems and

processes that shape each

landscape in a more general historical process of “environmental biodiversification
”. In
the development of nature conservation
strategies
little

attention has been devoted to
the specific local envir
onmental conditions in which
diversification processes occurred.
This neglect is largely due to a still widespread geographical notion of
“landscape”
based on the

opposition of the “cultural
” to the “natural” landscape.
We know instead
that as t
he genetic history of

domesticated plants went on,

new local breeds and
varieties were selected and modified, and others were lost
, while diversific
ation acts
also at landscape level not only at species level
. That is why the id
entification of
historical

landscapes
and traditional knowledge
has a great importance also for

the
big theme of biodiversity,
especially when designating conservation

are
as and
in
the
development of management plans
.