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, Emmanuel Reynard, Davide Cagnin, Manuela Pelfini



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.


cultural landscape; tree rings; geomorphological processes; Bisses (artificial channels); cultural trails; Swiss Alps

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