Making the Woods. A social history of forests in Fiemme Valley (1866-1914)

The fifth Exposition Universelle was held in Paris in 1900. The purpose of the fair was to show the world the products of progress made by the manufactures and cultures of the host countries. Hence, the Austrian Ministry of Trade – based in Vienna – decided to present the Fiemme Valley for its shrewd and modern system of forest management and cultivation.

Situated in the north-eastern part of Trentino (Italy) and mostly known for the extension of its forests, the Valley boasts a long history of forest management that has seen the involvement of the Magnifica Comunità di Fiemme: an example of a community institution that is among the most significant in terms of territorial extent, sphere of attributions and historical traditions.

Therefore, the project aims at reconstructing the socio-economic dynamics related to the forest administration of this area in the period between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, devoting particular attention to the artificial renewal of the forests, to the policies adopted by the Austrian government to maintain the indispensable balance between production and consumption of wood material, to the actors involved in the different phases of these activities and to the effects on society and the territory.

To carry out this research we will consider, on the one hand, the documentation produced by the “economo forestale” (kept in the archives of the Palace of the Magnifica Comunità of Cavalese), particularly important because it testifies the renewed role played by the Community in the management of the forest heritage; on the other hand, the documentation produced by the offices that – first under Austria and then under the Kingdom of Italy – succeeded each other in exercising their competences over the state and non-state forests in the above mentioned area. Preserved in the “Amministrazioni delle foreste di Fiemme, Fassa e Primiero” fund, at the Archivio Provinciale di Trento, the research will focus on the documentation from the Austrian period (1851-1919) consisting mainly of correspondence, crop plans, registers of forest use and forestry personnel reports, in German and Italian.

University of Torino, PhD Programm Patrimonio culturale e produzione storico-artistica, audiovisiva e multimediale.


PhD Candidate: Lucia Tedesco

PhD Supervisor: Giacomo Bonan

ISIG Supervisor: Katia Occhi



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