Claudia Sorlini – Vice President of Italian Touring Club and emeritus professor of the University of Milan
Mountain areas are an extraordinary resource for a country as they conserve areas of great landscape value, niche crops, natural biodiversity and agro-biodiversity. Unfortunately, the development model pursued for decades has not valorized the resources of mountain areas enough, thus favoring the slow but continuous abandonment of its inhabitants, especially of younger people.
The abandonment of land does not only mean a reduction in cultivated areas, but also the loss of ecosystem services guaranteed by farmers and shepherds, exposure of the land to water and wind erosion, as well as the uncontrolled development of woods with a consequent increase in the fragility of these areas.
Today, when all the great international authorities are talking about sustainable development to save the planet (The United Nations, with agenda 2030, the European Union with the future CAP and Pope Francis himself with the Encyclica Laudato si’), the revitalization of mountain areas is becoming increasingly relevant. Agriculture which is sustainable from an economic, social and environmental point of view, together with the relative food and non-food chains, is one of the founding activities able to restore vitality to such areas.
In fact, this type of agriculture can save landscapes, make the environment safer, offer food and other typical products of mountain areas, conserve and enhance environmental and cultural assets, acting as an attraction for a type of tourism which is, itself, also sustainable.
It is a tourism that shuns the flows of large amounts of people that invade cities of art or fashionable beaches, which instead goes in search of an authentic relationship with nature and which appreciates the discovery of local foods and traditional products, improved by modern technologies: statistics tell us that this type of tourism is on the increase. It is an interesting prospect that can generate new jobs, restore hope of revitalizing the economy and foreshadow a lasting development of mountain areas even for future generations.
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