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The changing ethnoecological cobweb of white truffle (Tuber mangnatum Pico) gatherers in South Piedmont, NW Italy.

Pieroni A - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2016)

Bottom Line: Nevertheless, truffles, in a few southern European areas, and notably in South Piedmont, represent a crucial component of the local economy and cultural heritage.Thirty-four white truffle (Tuber magnatum Pico) gatherers, locally known as trifulau, aged between 35 and 75 years and living in a few villages and small towns of the Langhe and Roero areas (South Piedmont, NW Italy), were interviewed in-depth during the years 2010-2014 regarding their ecological perceptions, truffle gathering techniques, and the socio-ecological changes that have occurred during the past several decades.The TEK of white truffle gatherers indicates the urgent need for fostering sustainable gastronomy-centred initiatives, aimed at increasing the awareness of consumers and food entrepreneurs regarding the co-evolution that has inextricably linked locals, truffles, and their natural environment during the past three centuries.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Gastronomic Sciences, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele 9, I-12060, Pollenzo, CN, Italy. a.pieroni@unisg.it.

ABSTRACT

Background: Traditional Environmental Knowledge (TEK) related to truffles represents an under-investigated area of research in ethnobiology. Nevertheless, truffles, in a few southern European areas, and notably in South Piedmont, represent a crucial component of the local economy and cultural heritage.

Methods: Thirty-four white truffle (Tuber magnatum Pico) gatherers, locally known as trifulau, aged between 35 and 75 years and living in a few villages and small towns of the Langhe and Roero areas (South Piedmont, NW Italy), were interviewed in-depth during the years 2010-2014 regarding their ecological perceptions, truffle gathering techniques, and the socio-ecological changes that have occurred during the past several decades.

Results: A very sophisticated ethnoecological knowledge of the trees, soils, and climatic conditions considered ideal for searching for and finding white truffles was recorded. Moreover, a very intimate connection between gatherers and their dogs plays a fundamental role in the success of the truffle search. However, according to the informants, this complex ethnoecological cobweb among men, truffles, dogs, and the environment has been heavily threatened in the past few decades by major changes: climate change, in which the summer has become a very hot and dry season; social changes, due to a more market-oriented attitude of younger gatherers; and especially environmental and macro-economic dynamics, which followed the remarkable expansion of viticulture in the study area.

Conclusion: The TEK of white truffle gatherers indicates the urgent need for fostering sustainable gastronomy-centred initiatives, aimed at increasing the awareness of consumers and food entrepreneurs regarding the co-evolution that has inextricably linked locals, truffles, and their natural environment during the past three centuries.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Interrelations among gatherers, TEK holders, communities, language, environments, climate, truffles and dogs
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Fig3: Interrelations among gatherers, TEK holders, communities, language, environments, climate, truffles and dogs

Mentions: The dog in the truffle ecosystem can be described as a linking element between human beings and nature; the animal works in many cases like a “translator” for nature, providing essential information for the trifulau, thanks to its keen senses and extensive training. Most of the respondents grew up with “their” truffle dog, which means that their understanding of and connection to nature was taught and intensified on a daily basis for decades. The dog represents a third dimension in the relationship between men and truffles, which thus becomes triangular. In other words, the depth of the ethnozoological/ethnoethological knowledge (man-dog) seems to be crucial for the success of ethnomycological practices (man-truffle). This is unique in ethnobiology, since the link between human knowledge and truffles is mediated via an animal (dog). TEK regarding truffles therefore evolved over many decades in a complex “cobweb” involving gatherers, TEK holders, local communities, language, environments, climate, truffles and dogs (Fig. 3).Fig. 3


The changing ethnoecological cobweb of white truffle (Tuber mangnatum Pico) gatherers in South Piedmont, NW Italy.

Pieroni A - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2016)

Interrelations among gatherers, TEK holders, communities, language, environments, climate, truffles and dogs
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4836152&req=5

Fig3: Interrelations among gatherers, TEK holders, communities, language, environments, climate, truffles and dogs
Mentions: The dog in the truffle ecosystem can be described as a linking element between human beings and nature; the animal works in many cases like a “translator” for nature, providing essential information for the trifulau, thanks to its keen senses and extensive training. Most of the respondents grew up with “their” truffle dog, which means that their understanding of and connection to nature was taught and intensified on a daily basis for decades. The dog represents a third dimension in the relationship between men and truffles, which thus becomes triangular. In other words, the depth of the ethnozoological/ethnoethological knowledge (man-dog) seems to be crucial for the success of ethnomycological practices (man-truffle). This is unique in ethnobiology, since the link between human knowledge and truffles is mediated via an animal (dog). TEK regarding truffles therefore evolved over many decades in a complex “cobweb” involving gatherers, TEK holders, local communities, language, environments, climate, truffles and dogs (Fig. 3).Fig. 3

Bottom Line: Nevertheless, truffles, in a few southern European areas, and notably in South Piedmont, represent a crucial component of the local economy and cultural heritage.Thirty-four white truffle (Tuber magnatum Pico) gatherers, locally known as trifulau, aged between 35 and 75 years and living in a few villages and small towns of the Langhe and Roero areas (South Piedmont, NW Italy), were interviewed in-depth during the years 2010-2014 regarding their ecological perceptions, truffle gathering techniques, and the socio-ecological changes that have occurred during the past several decades.The TEK of white truffle gatherers indicates the urgent need for fostering sustainable gastronomy-centred initiatives, aimed at increasing the awareness of consumers and food entrepreneurs regarding the co-evolution that has inextricably linked locals, truffles, and their natural environment during the past three centuries.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Gastronomic Sciences, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele 9, I-12060, Pollenzo, CN, Italy. a.pieroni@unisg.it.

ABSTRACT

Background: Traditional Environmental Knowledge (TEK) related to truffles represents an under-investigated area of research in ethnobiology. Nevertheless, truffles, in a few southern European areas, and notably in South Piedmont, represent a crucial component of the local economy and cultural heritage.

Methods: Thirty-four white truffle (Tuber magnatum Pico) gatherers, locally known as trifulau, aged between 35 and 75 years and living in a few villages and small towns of the Langhe and Roero areas (South Piedmont, NW Italy), were interviewed in-depth during the years 2010-2014 regarding their ecological perceptions, truffle gathering techniques, and the socio-ecological changes that have occurred during the past several decades.

Results: A very sophisticated ethnoecological knowledge of the trees, soils, and climatic conditions considered ideal for searching for and finding white truffles was recorded. Moreover, a very intimate connection between gatherers and their dogs plays a fundamental role in the success of the truffle search. However, according to the informants, this complex ethnoecological cobweb among men, truffles, dogs, and the environment has been heavily threatened in the past few decades by major changes: climate change, in which the summer has become a very hot and dry season; social changes, due to a more market-oriented attitude of younger gatherers; and especially environmental and macro-economic dynamics, which followed the remarkable expansion of viticulture in the study area.

Conclusion: The TEK of white truffle gatherers indicates the urgent need for fostering sustainable gastronomy-centred initiatives, aimed at increasing the awareness of consumers and food entrepreneurs regarding the co-evolution that has inextricably linked locals, truffles, and their natural environment during the past three centuries.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus