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The monumental olive trees as biocultural heritage of mediterranean landscapes: The case study of sicily

  • Autori: Schicchi R.; Speciale C.; Amato F.; Bazan G.; Di Noto G.; Marino P.; Ricciardo P.; Geraci A.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2021
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • Parole Chiave: Agrobiodiversity; Ancient trees; Biocultural diversity; Biodiversity; Heritage trees; Historical ecology; Long‐lived trees; Olea europaea; Veteran trees
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Monumental olive trees, with their longevity and their remarkable size, represent an important information source for the comprehension of the territory where they grow and the human societies that have kept them through time. Across the centuries, olive trees are the only cultivated plants that tell the story of Mediterranean landscapes. The same as stone monuments, these green monuments represent a real Mediterranean natural and cultural heritage. The aim of this paper is to discuss the value of monumental trees as “biocultural heritage” elements and the role they play in the interpretation of the historical stratification of the landscape. We present the results of a survey of the most significant olive trees growing in Sicily. The selection was based on the “monumentality” aspects of trees, taking into account dendrometric parameters and environmental contexts. The collected dataset constitutes a heterogeneous sample of 367 specimens of considerable size that, in some cases, reach a circumference of about 19 m. Starting from the data presented here, the whole Sicilian territory shows a historical relationship between human and olive. The presence of these plant monuments is, therefore, evidence of long‐term, often centennial, landscapes as a result of sustainable use of the territory.