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Die Edelkastanie: Regionalentwicklung mit einer traditionellen Kulturart in den südlichen Alpen

Erscheinungsjahr2002
Autor(en)Oliver Bender
Sprachede
ZeitschriftPetermanns Geographische Mitteilungen
Zeitschriften Nr.146/6
Dokumentarteinzelner Artikel Zeitschrift
Since the introduction of sweet chestnut in Roman times vast areas, particularly in the mountain regions of south-western Europe, have been covered by groves and coppices of chestnut trees. Having replaced the original broad-leaved forest, they used to play an important role in traditional agriculture. Chestnut cultivation was even more important as producing a substitute for bread from small grains than for the production of timber. With changing economic conditions and the emergence of the chestnut blight caused by a parasit in the 20th century, chestnut lost almost all of its economic and cultural significance. Only in the last 10 to 15 years has there been a renewed interest in the preservation and re-planting of chestnuts, comprising marketing strategies, landscape conservation and cultural history aspects (chestnut festivals). As chestnut cultivation is widely spread, and in particular in the southern Alps, it lends itself to linking cultural landscape and regional geographic research with respect to sustainable development. The paper describes how, and why, the success of a revaluation of endogenous rural resources is subject to high regional variations. The sweet chestnut is very well suited for wood- and fruit production. Both kinds of production (wood and fruit) are spatialy separated. The value added of the chestnut is very multifunctional: It is useful from the kind of view of culture, history, scenic beauty, ecology and economic value added. The wood industry can use the wood of the sweet chestnut as noble chestnut wood. The chestnut wood is also well suited for avalanche and water protection, for picket for the vines and for heating. Due to the very special material of the wood, it is very durable wood and has very good technical quality. The sweet chestnut fruit is multifunctional usable. The sweeties are almost more important than the fresh fruit. There are produced a lot of products of the fruit: sweet chestnut bread-, pasta-, noodles-, -honey (Italy), -beer (ticino in cooperation with brewery in Appenzell), and schnaps (south tirol). The production takes place in little families or small enterprises like Agrimontana in Borgo San Dalmazzo (Cuneo). In Cuneo the people try to become a certificate for the sweet chestnut production. The sweet chestnut is also used in gastronomy for sweeties and tourism attraction. In the last ten years, the crop of sweet chestnut increased in the north of Italy and the south of Switzerland. For many farmers, the sweet chestnut production is a sideline production. The chestnut is used for cultural festivals. There are a lot of networks and cooperation in the North of Italy and in the south of Switzerland to revitalise the sweet chestnut culture:research of sweet chestnut WSL, RAC Cadenazzo, Gruppo Lavoro sul Castagno, Associazione dei Castanicoltori della Sviztzera italiana, region of Malcantone: RegioPlus project, Cuneo (Italy) "Associazione per la Valorizzazione della Castagna"). Fazit: There is a chance to appreciate the sweet chestnut in the regional market of the southern Alps. There are already some new concepts within a good regional network and with a sustainble orientation.
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