When we were reached by WWF Germany to help develop a website for the Tagliamento, we immediately started reflecting on the possibility we were given to make a site that needed to be special, unique. Just like our river.
Many websites collect information on specific topics and selected areas of the Tagliamento because of its pristine morphology, ecosystem and cultural values. So why is this website special? Because for the Tagliamento community, even a single river pebble is important.
With this website we are giving a voice to the river Tagliamento. This voice had to be built together with the community, and not from us alone. We built a website about (and for) the entire river, showing the aspects that make it special to us as a community of locals of the river, scientists, and a lot more. And, most important, this is a starting point for the community to contribute further and to combine formal and informal knowledge.
This website was designed to collect the special values of the Tagliamento river. We named them with simplified terms that are easy to understand for all user types: nature, community and morphology. Of course, these are terms that simplify the intertwined system that is the river landscape! Knowledge on the Tagliamento river includes partly some of the three categories, e.g., some of the species, part of the community, or the morphology. A lot of the websites available include very relevant information on the river, but spatially resolved, such as in a limited protected area. Here, the categories become testimonies, shapes and ecosystems, which are intertwined and together bring forward the Tagliamento river.
Here, we demonstrate that the Tagliamento river is a cultural ecosystem. In this sense, the stories we provide are meant to show the values that the river has for its local community. The process has been transparent as much as possible, involving us from the beginning and the many initiatives and individuals from the local community, who have made it possible to collect and show the river and give us a head start for what’s to come.
All the examples included in the interactive maps are in some way related to concepts like ecosystem services – encompassing the provisioning, cultural, regulating and supporting categories (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment). Thus, we are showcasing some of the ecosystem services and the values of the river.
This website is just the first step to create a united Tagliamento voice. We involved the local community defining objectives and tailored users, then we developed the idea and showcased community examples and contributions from a wide variety of initiatives, companies and efforts. The e-community and e-library will allow people to add their own initiatives and knowledge, and build a community of Tagliamento stewards. We feel this is just the beginning and with the engagement of everyone who cares for the Tagliamento, we will go very far.