The Tagliamento: a unique river for its local community

1 min read
Artwork by Patrizia Brunetti
Artwork by Patrizia Brunetti

There is a branch of science that studies the values ​​that nature has for people (often called 'ecosystem services' or 'nature contributions to people'). Among these, there are cultural values: educational, recreational, identitarian, cultural and spiritual. These values ​​have never been explored on a whole river scale before 2021, when a study conducted by Anna Scaini (Stockholm University) attempted at capturing the socio-cultural values ​​of the Tagliamento river as seen by the local community. The Tagliamento is the first European river for which cultural values, voiced by its people, ​​have been identified.

The research was carried out through a questionnaire which received more than 4000 responses in a month. The results showed that, for the vast majority of participants to theTagliamento questionnaire, the river has a great cultural value across the entire river (lower, middle and upper courses). The main results stemming from the questionnaire are that:

  • River conservation is important to the majority of responders all along the river
  • A very high percentage of people think that the locals can be protected from floods by maintaining the naturalness of the Tagliamento
From Scaini et al. 2022

The questionnaire also asked them to indicate their favorite spots on the river. The map showing favorite locations indicates that one of the preferred places is Pinzano-Ragogna, which is located in the pink box. Infrastructures have been proposed in this area (a flood retention basin and road infrastructures). Conflicting values have been identified in this part of the river ​​which, to be best managed, must also take into account the protection of local communities and their values.

The questionnaire allowed participants to add free-text comments and thoughts. Many people mention childhood memories, family, and expressed words of care and identity. Many respondents who have moved from Friuli have heartwarmingly expressed the great importance the river has for them. This aspect is also important and could be explored in greater depth in the future also with testimonies from Friulian communities who have left our region.

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