Economic Analysis of the Traditional Cultural Terraced Olive-Growing Landscape and Participatory Planning Process
Terraced landscapes are increasingly considered as valuable cultural, social, and environmental systems. However, we could attribute the loss of most of these landscapes and their tangible and intangible heritages to the abandonment or degradation of these areas that could be valorised and protected. The main goals of this study are providing a methodology and tools to analyse traditional terraced landscapes integrating spatial analysis with socio-economic analysis and suggesting operational or political proposals to reduce the abandonment of agricultural terraces. The selected study area is the olive-growing area in the municipality of Trevi (Umbria Region, Italy). This study’s innovative contribution is its methodology composed of two main steps: construction of an integrated and open database followed by launch of a participatory planning process. The results show that the main weakness of the conservation of the olive-growing landscape is the profitability level of olive oil production and sale. Some measures need to be implemented to address these issues, and a joint public and private effort is required. On the one hand, public institutions should provide direct funding and incentives, and on the other, consumers should be willing to pay more for extra-virgin olive oil with landscaped value. Moreover, nomination for inscription into UNESCO’s World Heritage List as a cultural landscape, advocated by local institutions, could generate useful synergies to implement efficient collective marketing policies, which are particularly demanded by olive growers.
The research on which this paper is based was undertaken as part of a research project titled ‘Traditional agricultural landscapes in Italy: multi-disciplinary and multi-scale assessment for the development of an integrated model for landscape planning and management’, co-financed by Programs of Relevant National Interest (PRIN) Grant number 2010LE4NBM_013, and as a part of a research project titled ‘The quality of the landscape for socio-economic development: the case study of Trevi’s historical olive groves’, co-financed by Basic Research of University of Perugia. We are particularly grateful to Carlo Sportolaro for his cooperation in construction of the GIS database and for realisation of maps, and to Alvaro Paggi and Tiziana Ravagli for their cooperation in conducting the study. We would like to thank Valeria Illuminati for editing the English language in the manuscript. The authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on an earlier version of this article.
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