The enhancement of cultural landscapes in mountain environments: An artificial channel history (Torrent-Neuf, Canton Valais, Switzerland) and the role of trees as natural archives of water flow changes

  • Irene Bollati Università degli Studi di Milano
  • Emmanuel Reynard University of Lausanne, Geopolis, CH – 1015 Lausanne
  • Davide Cagnin Università degli Studi di Milano
  • Manuela Pelfini Università degli Studi di Milano
Keywords: cultural landscape, tree rings, geomorphological processes, Bisses (artificial channels), cultural trails, Swiss Alps


Cultural landscapes represent one of the best examples of the interaction between human and natural environment and cultural trails are an effective way for their valorization. The Torrent-Neuf (Canton Valais, Switzerland) is a cultural trail realized in 2009 along one of the artificial channels used in the region since Medieval times to move water resources from tributary valleys to irrigated lands. Slope instability processes and high maintenance costs provoked the abandonment of the artificial channel in 1934. In 2005 water flow was restored in it. Dendrochronological analyses, carried out on trees growing along the artificial channel banks, allowed collecting information about natural and man-induced hydrological changes, contributing to increase the global value of the whole area.


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Author Biographies

Irene Bollati, Università degli Studi di Milano
Earth Science Department, Via Mangiagalli, 34 - 20133 Milan, Italy
Emmanuel Reynard, University of Lausanne, Geopolis, CH – 1015 Lausanne
Institute of Geography and Sustainability
Davide Cagnin, Università degli Studi di Milano
Earth Science Department, Via Mangiagalli, 34 - 20133 Milan, Italy
Manuela Pelfini, Università degli Studi di Milano
Earth Science Department, Via Mangiagalli, 34 - 20133 Milan, Italy


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How to Cite
Bollati I, Reynard E, Cagnin D, Pelfini M. The enhancement of cultural landscapes in mountain environments: An artificial channel history (Torrent-Neuf, Canton Valais, Switzerland) and the role of trees as natural archives of water flow changes. AGS [Internet]. 2018Jan.1 [cited 2022Jan.25];58(2):87–100. Available from: