Main authors: Francesco Orsi, Francesca Bussola, Caterina Gagliano, Enzo Falco
Edited by: Ewert Aukes, Peter Stegmaier
List of Tables
||Agency of regional forest of the Province
||Local Action Group of Eastern Trentino
||Autonomous Province of Trento
||Mountain and Forestry Plan
||Rural Development Program
||Alpine Guide Society of Trentino
1.1 Overall case description
Where the forest begins to disappear, when it reaches its natural altitude limit, the mountain gives way to herbaceous surfaces, large open areas that man has over the centuries learned to use as a space available for grazing livestock. In the Province of Trento, a wise management of the territory aimed at preventing the abandonment of mountains has ensured that areas between woodland and pasture became an uninterrupted continuum. In fact, the two environments blend together to become wooded pastures that can sustain both wood production and grazing. The innovation pursues an active forest-pasture management and is based on two preconditions. In the forest, the Province of Trento adopts a close-to-nature silviculture approach aiming to foster natural regeneration, to improve structure and composition, and to keep production levels constant over time, allowing the forest to provide other functions beyond the productive one. As part of the management of pastures, it promotes livestock breeding in order to maintain the production activities related to the mountain grazing. Interventions of environmental improvement so far have varied according to interests (economic, biological-naturalistic, cultural, landscape) and objectives (woods, pastures).
As part of the project, the Autonomous Province of Trento (PAT) wants to try to introduce an integrated resource management approach by stimulating a new way of thinking by landowners, a different interpretation of the forest-rural pattern, moving from single to multi-owner and multi-year interventions or initiatives based on multi-land and multifunction approach. The goal is to favor projects that sustain more than one function of the wood/pasture, to promote a long-term planning distributed over time and space. This can be achieved through actions at the technical level, by proposing a range of interventions with different priority outcomes, the social level, by finding shared objectives, preferences, interests, goods, and the economic level, by evaluating financing types and mechanisms.
Primiero is an ideal context in which to analyze these issues given the multiple roles played by the forests, particularly in terms of timber production (i.e. high quality wood) and tourism support (i.e. tourism is the most important economic activity), and the significant loss of pastures (and associated forest expansion) over the last 30-40 years. The maintenance of an adequate equilibrium between forest and pasture is looked at as a crucial element of a broader strategy of ecosystem service protection and one that requires the active participation of all relevant stakeholders.
1.2 Problem background
This case’s innovation helps answer the question: how to manage the forest-pasture system in a way that ensures the delivery of multiple ecosystem services, including timber production, slope stabilization and recreation support, while being financially sustainable? The innovation builds upon thirty plus years of forest management led and actively undertaken by the Forest Service of the Autonomous Province of Trento, which maintains close ties with a wide array of stakeholders intervening on the forest-pasture system at various levels. The innovation encompasses such elements as marketing strategies in the timber sector, initiatives to attract new kinds of visitors, improvements in the current tourism offering, restoration of historical pastures, enhancement of the existing forest road network, etc.
The innovation action developed throughout the first and second CINA Workshops to focus more on the development of tourism and pasture restoration scenarios with the involvement of new stakeholders, as the primary needs changed after the Vaia storm hit the Primiero area and some stakeholders manifested less interest in the project (e.g., timber production firms and private forest owners).
2 Case overview
2.1 Case history
Trentino is well known in Italy and beyond as a place of great natural value and environmental quality, and this is due in particular to natural resources and forests, which cover 63% of the territory. Such forests provide a great deal of services and the Autonomous Province of Trento has always accorded great importance to their protection. Stakeholders recognize the multifunctionality of the forest, even though they understandably seek to enhance the function that more strongly support their income.
The protection of multifunctionality has been guaranteed over the years by the Province through a regular supply of funding. The latter was facilitated by the fact that the Province, having a special autonomous status, manages most of its budget autonomously, without depending on the national Government.
Table 1: Brief history of the Primiero innovation.
|Beginning of 20th century
||Forests under management planning in Trentino are 3% of the total. Austrian planning (until 1918 this territory was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire) primarily aimed at reforestation with resinous trees.
|End of WWII
||Forests heavily damaged in terms of structure and species diversity due to strong wood demand for war. In some areas, original species mix replaced by monocultures of Norway Spruce.
||Forest planning is born: silvicultural criteria are established in 1953 and volume based tariffs are introduced in 1956.
||Program of hydraulic-forest protection to increase the stability of the territory through multiple interventions across space and time, as a response to the big flood.
||Focus no longer on timber only, but increasingly on multifunctionality: protection of soils, maintenance of ecosystems, recreation, etc.
Forest planning and management evolved through both the adoption of local-scale tools and cultivation improvements supported by financial measures and direct interventions of the forest service. Two elements have been particularly important and have characterized forest management in this region. On the one hand, the systematic adoption of close-to-nature silviculture (instead of clear-cut) and forest consolidation favoured a step beyond mere biomass production, becoming suitable tools to guarantee other fundamental forest ecosystem services, such as those associated with landscape and recreation as well as those related to slope stability (which is highly benefited by forests). On the other hand, structural, provisional and compositional improvements helped maintain the productivity of several forest areas (i.e., wood production), therefore ensuring the possibility to cut at a level of intensity that is sufficient to limit the expansion of marginal areas (unlike what happened in other regions of the Alps). Such forest planning approach is today a widely accepted tradition in Trentino.
The recently introduced Landscape Fund (implemented by the Province of Trento) brought about some changes: trees are no longer planted (it is in fact forbidden by law), but financial incentives are provided to turn wooded lands into pasture or grassland in a way that re-establishes mid-elevation mountain areas.
The management of pastures and farms has also changed: activities that used to be common practice for maintaining the pasture and the stability of the territory (e.g., stone removal, wastewater management, invasive species removal, fence maintenance) have been progressively abandoned (due to the effort required) and are now being undertaken again just because ad hoc funded awareness-raising activities have been carried out.
The management of the forest-pasture system has also been crucial to the tourism industry as the balanced mix of healthy forests and pasture areas creates a landscape that is greatly appreciated by visitors. The Forest Service of PAT maintains close contacts with a wide array of actors that play a key role in the management of the forest-pasture system.
2.2 Brief stakeholder constellation
Table 2: Brief stakeholder constellation
|Artisan association: sawmills
||Mostly interested in timber production.
|Association of breeders
||Interested in milk production/transformation (Breeders are interested in pasture improvement and availability. The forest property, and consequently the forest management, includes not only forest but also pasture)
||Interested in forest management due to its impact on hunting opportunities
|Hotel organization (hotels, restaurants, huts)
||Concerned about landscape quality as it enables tourists to appreciate the region.
|PU landowners (municipalities)
||Various interests, mostly economic. Seeking a balance between different services.
||Timber, climate regulation, aesthetic, biodiversity
|Natural Park (Paneveggio)
||Mainly interested in biodiversity protection. Has an influence on forest management
||Forest management (The Province of Trento is comparable to a region. In Italy, forest management is completely delegated to regions/autonomous provinces so there are no conflicts in competence. Of course, local laws have to meet national and European principles)
|Tourist office (APT)
||Aesthetic value, cultural value, spiritual value, recreation value, biodiversity value
|Alpine Club and other (CAI/SAT/Accompagnatori del territorio)
||Aesthetic value, cultural value, spiritual value, recreation value, biodiversity value
|Association of agronomists and forest scientists
a Type of actor: public (PU), private (PR)
b Type of role: business (BU), beneficiary (BE), user (U), manager (MA)
c Interest in the management of the forest-pasture system: low (L), medium (M), high (H)
d Potential influence on the management of the forest-pasture system: low (L), medium (M), high (H)
e Type of contribution to the management of the forest-pasture system: direct (D), indirect (I)
f Degree of importance accounting for the interest, influence and type of contribution (ranging between 3 and 9)
2.3 Reflection: overall governance situation before workshop
In the Province of Trento (IT), a wise management of the territory aimed at preventing the abandonment of mountains has ensured that areas between woodland and pasture became an uninterrupted continuum. In fact, the two environments blend together to become wooded pastures that can sustain both wood production and grazing.
As an alpine region, the IR enjoys a particularly rich and diverse supply of ecosystem services. The mosaic of forest and pastures holds great biodiversity, production, and scenic value. In the past, the management in the region has a tradition of balancing multiple forest ecosystem services, focusing in particular on the maintenance of pasture, slope stability, water retention, as well as timber production.
In recent years attention to maintaining ecosystem services has expanded from the forest to the wider territory, with funds and technical support to maintain or recover open areas at meadow or grazing from the natural afforestation. Our current job aims to active, balance and integrated management of the forest-pasture system in mountain areas. This entails the promotion of close-to-nature silviculture aiming to foster natural regeneration, improve structure and composition, and keep high production levels over time, and the adoption of livestock breeding practices helping support production activities related to mountain grazing and limiting the abandonment of agricultural and grazing activities.
Our idea is to improve the method in forest pasture management mentioned above by searching for new management techniques, new actors and business models. We consider our work as a good practice to be encouraged and the project is helping us in this effort.
In order to guarantee this balance we use directly public funds to help landowners, mainly public, to recover rural landscape by turning wooded lands into pasture or grassland. Actually we use two different types of funds on two different environment with ecological differences mainly for the altitude and forest/pasture composition and structure. On the timber line, at high altitude, we recover wooded pastures and at the medium elevation we use public funds to recover meadows.
Originally, this kind of forest-pasture management was tested by a demonstration project in 2014 in the region of Primiero. The project was born thanks to the collaboration between the Forest Service and the Province of Trento and thanks to the determination, the passion and the spirit of initiative of Luigi Gottardo, director of the forest district of Primiero. The project lasted one year and was funded entirely from the Province, it involved three farms in the nearby of the pastures, which were restored by the wood cutting and which were properties of the public administrations. The presence of a strong form of associations among farmers and local cheese producers and the big economic interest related to pasture management and local food production facilitated the involvement of different actors in this first initiative.
At the end of 2015, the collaboration among the Province, the local community, the Forest Service, the Agriculture Service and the Landscape Service has made possible the elaboration of a plan for the management of open areas. The plan was used as a base for a new project, which took place between the years 2015 and 2018, which permitted the restoration of 60 ha of meadows and pastures in the area of Primiero on private properties.
The Forest Service managed the intervention of restoration, the Province funded the initiative through the Landscape Fund and 15 farmers were involved, which could later benefit of the economic support of the European funds granted by CAP. The landowners obtain a small income from the sell of timber, but the real benefit resulted from the sense of gratification which derived from their contribution to the change under way. The idea of the innovation was born as natural follow-up of this initiative, keeping at the center of the action the need for traditional rural landscape conservation.
As part of the innovation idea, i.e. prototype, to pursue a participatory (e.g., involvement of many actors including private forest owners), integrated, and balanced management of forest-pasture ecosystems in the Primiero mountain areas, the governance of the innovation is characterized by the engagement of several stakeholders interested in its development and implementation. The constellation of stakeholders revolves around the main innovation idea to restore mountain pastures, introduce crowdfunding as a new funding source, increase tourism activities and improve collective management by forest owners and timber production firms. The governance situation related to this case sees the involvement of hotel owners, association of hunters, association of breeders, Paneveggio Natural Park Authority, PAT Forest Service and tourist office. Due to their particular nature, some actors are intrinsically more involved in some actions than others. For example, the association of breeders is a key player as far as the restoration of pastures is concerned, as their economic activity depends on pastures. Likewise, opening the dense forest to create new open areas and pastures is of extreme interest for the association of hunters who might provide valuable insights about the improvement of the habitat of various animal species. Paneveggio Natural Park Authority has a key role in the protection of landscape values, in restoring the balance between pastures and forests as a way to attract tourists and implement tourism strategies along with the PAT tourist office. Hotel owners represent a key actor for the improvement of infrastructures, tourism offer and packages. In this case the collaboration between the PAT tourist office, the hotel owners and the Alpine club is an essential element of the governance and for the success of the innovation ideas. The Paneveggio Natural Park Authority together with the general requirements of nature conservation plays a key role in highlighting the risks associated with practices aimed at attracting more visitors/extending the tourist season. The collective management of forests by private forest owners and timber production companies was high on the list to achieve an active and integrated management. However, in the year 2019 as a consequence of the Vaia storm, their involvement declined as they decided to focus on the management of the emergency and timber collection and processing.
In the second CINA workshop, as a result of ongoing discussion and interaction with actors and stakeholders, the collective management scenario was dropped to focus only on pasture restoration and increasing tourism. As consequence of Vaia storm, which shifted significantly the attention of the representatives of sawmills and the woodsmen from the goals of the project, therefore it became very difficult to guarantee their involvement. New stakeholders were contacted, such as: the director of the social cheese factory of Primiero, the director of the Local Action Group of Eastern Trentino (LAG), teachers of the local schools and a PhD student of the University of Padova, involved in the study of restoration techniques of pastures and conservation of native species. Of great importance was the involvement of the social cheese factory through its director who is deeply connected and has a high stake in both scenarios by providing technical comments on the restoration of pastures and ideas for the promotion of the rural landscape and the development of local tourism, which is one of the most important sources of income.
3 Overall approach
3.1 The innovation strategy
What we call innovation is in fact a relatively long-standing practice in the region that deals with the multifunctional management of the forest-pasture system under the guidance and direct intervention of the Province. InnoForESt can greatly contribute to strengthen this practice by solving some of the issues in the management and fostering the active role of all stakeholders. We are particularly interested in stimulating a bottom-up process through which stakeholders can actively propose alternatives to public funding and steer forest-pasture management activities that help maintain the natural capital in the years to come.
The credibility and role of the Province were key to stimulating the interest of stakeholders and getting them together. In order to figure out innovation ideas, we thought it would be fundamental to have an introductory workshop during which stakeholders could discuss the main issues that emerged during face-to-face meetings held in the period May-July 2018. The points raised by stakeholders during the workshop were expected to provide very specific variables that, once properly set, could eventually lead to the definition of the prototype.
In order to facilitate the process of moving from variables to the prototype, an intense work was conducted by the innovation team to explore all possible nuances, obstacles and opportunities associated with the issues. The discussion of each variable was based on the “six hat method” by Edward De Bono. The method assumes that we can look at any problem by wearing six hats, each of which reflects a different way of thinking (perspective). Such perspectives might be considered in the future as the key characters of actors involved in role-board games designed for this innovation region. The white hat is that of a person knowing data and information about a topic. The red hat is that of a person perceiving emotions and having intuitions. The black hat is that of a person who knows something will not work. The yellow hat is that of a person who sees opportunities. The green hat is that of a creative person. The blue hat is that of a controller.
The “six hat” internal discussion proved useful homework allowing us to get to the strategic workshop with significant knowledge about the implications of each variable and to define some realistic “levels” that these variables could take on.
3.2 Platform and network process
The analysis of the innovation and ways to strengthen it in the months/years to come started from face-to-face meetings with all stakeholders listed in the table of section 2.2. Most of these meetings were conducted with only one stakeholder category at a time to facilitate discussions about issues felt by each stakeholder in a unique way. The organization of meetings relied on the long-standing relationship the Forest Service of PAT has had with all stakeholders. This strongly facilitated the involvement of stakeholders and the establishment of a fruitful conversation with them.
The meetings developed from a predefined list of questions, including the definition of the forest-pasture system, the identification of challenges and opportunities associated with the management of the system, the possible improvements to such management, an assessment of the activities performed by the Province and the delineation of the stakeholder’s role within the management framework currently in place. Anyway, despite the structure, the dialogues followed their own paths based on the stakeholders’ feelings.
The interviews were particularly useful in identifying a series of issues and paths for the innovations. In particular, the following issues were highlighted:
- Forest roads are not recognized the same kind of multifunctionality that the forest itself has: they are only meant as “production tools” (i.e. ways to transport wood and forest products), while they enable all sorts of activities and particularly tourism.
- Forest roads are often inadequate for various functions being often too narrow and having little side spaces.
- Bureaucracy tends to hinder both interactions among stakeholders and private initiatives.
- Wood firms, which are often small in the area, struggle to compete in an increasingly open market.
- Operators of the wood supply chain call for support in the field by specialized personnel.
Some of the innovations that, according to stakeholders, InnoForESt could stimulate are: education activities about forest management for tourist, training on new forest management approaches for technicians, increased participation of private actors in the multifunctional management of the forest-pasture system.
The knowledge acquired through these interviews was key to defining the workshop strategy and in particular led to the decision of running a non-strategic workshop prior to the strategic (CINA) workshops. This non-strategic workshop aimed to bring all stakeholders together, establish a smooth communication between them all and collectively shape the previously identified issues in a way that could help us define actual scenarios for the innovation.
During the running of time, we realised that the network process was certainly facilitated by the existence of form of cooperation already present and consolidated in the region. An example is the Green Way Primiero, an association born in 2015 with the aim of developing innovative projects in the energy sector, reducing combustible fossil fuels, improving mobility and caring for the landscape in a broad sense. The founding members are municipalities, the natural Park of Paneveggio, APT, the local bank and ACSM SpA (an enterprise which manages green hydroelectric power stations), this collaboration ensures the improved quality of life of local residents, which also translates into a way of doing tourism. Some of the concrete actions implemented by this agreement are the promotion of a system of electric bike and car sharing, with the realisation of a net of charging stations which connects the strategic points of the region and the organisation of thematic tour which permits to explore history, traditions and technological innovations implemented in the territory, in order to inform and raise awareness. Another example of the collaboration between the Alpine Society of Trentino (SAT) and the tourist office in occasion of Vaia storm: each time SAT, thanks to its volunteers, restored the tracks, which were no more accessible due to the tree crashes, it promptly informed the local tourist office, which in turn notified it to the touristic operators. The natural park of Paneveggio has already collaborated with farmers and breeders for the restoration and maintenance of meadows and pastures, taking advantage of the financial resources granted by the RDP.
These forms of cooperation are evidence of a network process which was already born in the last period and which is evolving during the years trying to answer to various needs of the local community. In the context of InnoForESt project, we selected the stakeholders to involve considering the central topic of the innovation, but the choice fell in most cases unconsciously on actors already protagonists of collaborations and other forms of associations. This situation probably helped significantly our role of coordinators and the ongoing of the workshops. Our conviction is that in Primiero there is a network process already consolidated, which needs however to be enhanced and systemized, as the stakeholders themselves highlighted during the meetings.
The challenge will be to find a figure who can play the role of leader of the wide initiatives and collaborations already existing locally. The team project covered only marginally this role, probably more concentrated to develop the content of the innovation. We tried to explore the hypothesis of Trentino Marketing as leader of any local development projects, but it straight declared that its role is to promote and finance single end products, not to steer network processes. The Forest Service of the Province of Trento can certainly ensure technical support and rule the forest management at a high level, but to drive local processes it is necessary a figure more next to reality of the region. The individual activity we proposed in the second CINA workshop had the goals also to explore individual intentions to take control of the situation and lead the change. From this work it raised there is a large availability of cooperation among the stakeholders, director of social cheese factory and director of natural park of Paneveggio also declared to be available to lead eventual initiative or project. The proposals expressed by the actors were explicit and concrete only in some cases, otherwise they were quite generic, so this did not help to identify a clear and possible network of connections. Nevertheless, as we pointed out above, probably it is better to focus the attention on the existing relationships, trying to strengthen them and to make system of them, instead of insisting in new forms of cooperation and initiatives, which could bring to a dispersal of resources and to a general disorientation.
The creation of a digital platform could help to make system and highlight the existing networks born in the last years. At the moment the digital one made available by InnoForESt project was not effective, perhaps also because the team project didn’t encourage convincingly the use of it, fostering on the other hand the figure of Luigi Gottardo, the director of the forest district of Primiero, as a form of physical platform, recognising in his authority a point of reference for all stakeholders, out of the context of the European project too. Rather than to create a new digital platform from scratch, it could be an alternative solution to start from the existing ones, such as the website of Green Way Primiero or APT.
3.3 Overall CINA workshop strategy
The workshop strategy was tailored after careful analysis of the innovation and the specific socio-ecological context in which it takes place. Such strategy relies on three major workshops: a non-strategic introductory one followed by two strategic (CINA) workshops. Discussions within the innovation team highlighted the difficulty of providing stakeholders with ready-to-use scenarios and suggested a meaningful approach would instead focus on key variables whose analysis during workshops might lead to a prototype, namely a scenario to follow. The first workshop, a non-strategic one, was meant to discuss the issues that emerged during the face-to-face meetings and identify the variables that would constitute the scenarios. The analysis of the first workshop’s output by the innovation team allowed the definition of meaningful levels for these variables, namely options that could be considered in the future for the establishment and improvement of the innovation. The second workshop started from these options and was an opportunity to discuss them and choose those that seemed more suitable for the development of the innovation. The combination of the selected options would have led to the definition of scenarios to adopt for the successive building of the prototype. Nevertheless, the events which occurred in the region changed completely the context and influenced the selection of scenarios. In the third workshop the analysis of the previous selected options was put aside, in order to focus only on the two scenarios, which were considered more important. The meeting aimed at discussing the feasibility of the prototype, exploring its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. At the moment a fourth workshop seemed not be necessary, but the team project is exploring the alternatives to organise small working groups to further single topics and support eventual emerging initiatives.
The sequence of the workshops was as follows:
- First non-strategic workshop (22 January 2019): it represented the occasion for a first contact with future stakeholders, it was crucial to explore their level of participation, their motivation and interests. It was basically an opening meeting, which laid the basis for the next innovation analysis and visioning CINA workshop. Moreover it was important for the project team to test for the first time the effectiveness of the methodological approach chosen, given the low experience in participatory process. The analysis of the feedbacks and results permitted to learn from that first experience in favour of the organisation of the official CINA workshop.
- First CINA workshop (7-24 May 2019): we can classify it as an innovation analysis and visioning CINA workshop, stakeholders discussed on the validity of different variables for each of the four scenarios presented, with the aim to start to reflect on limits and impacts of the innovation and to start to define the structure of the innovation prototype.
- Second CINA workshop (17 December 2019): the outputs of the previous workshop and the impact of Vaia storm on the general context convinced the whole project team to focus only on specific scenarios, so that the process of prototype selection was concluded by us as result of the analysis of the participatory process going on and of the chance of success of the innovation. This workshop was structured and organized in order to put the stakeholders in the condition to reflect on the interconnection between the two scenarios selected (pastures and meadows restoration and local tourism development), on the goals of the innovation and on the factors, both negative and positive, which were deemed crucial for the future development of the innovation, in the short, medium and long term. We tried to promote both cooperation and personal initiative, with the aims to push the stakeholder to express their real intentions and personal targets, in order to play the game in first person, take control of the innovation development and foster the concrete realisation of the defined goals. These aspects characterized the second CINA workshop both as “prototype assessment” and as “roadmapping” CINA workshop.
In conclusion of the participatory process, given that the attempt to foster personal initiative among the stakeholders and the invitation to take part to small work groups on particular issues were not successful, the project team took the opportunity to cross and interconnect the innovation process with the process of elaboration and approval of the Mountain and Forestry Plan (PFM).
The elaboration of the plan was born as reaction of the Department of Agriculture, Forest and Soil protection to respond to the necessity of modernisation of the economic system of Trentino and of encouragement of new forms of entrepreneurship arisen by the a provincial law in the year 2019. The Department identified the PFM as the instrument to accomplish to this request of enhancing the economic competitivity and introducing simplification measures.
The starting point is to create a database which permits to identify the areas which could be potentially be restored to meadows and pastures. For these specific areas, simplification of bureaucratic procedures are foreseen in case of transformation request. The selection of the areas has been done through GIS analysis, starting both for meadows and pastures from open areas already exploited by farmers for mowing and grazing animals in the year before by farmers, following the principle to favour active farms and hence to support the economic potential and the real entrepreneurship of the region. After this first phase, the planning process includes the organisation of technical groups in each district, in order to verify the validity of the results directly with the forestry officers for each geographical areas. We took part to the technical group which occurred on the 4th March 2020 for the Primiero area, our innovation region. Luigi Gottardo, director of the forestry district and partner of the project, evaluated each single area, excluding some of them because of their insignificance from the zootechnical point of view or because of the low interest shown by farmers and landowners towards the restoration of meadows and pastures for those specific areas. In some cases some integration will be proposed, in order to enhance the potential of the agricultural economy of the region.
Luigi Gottardo daily works in strict contact with forestry landowners and local farmers of Primiero, he has a deep knowledge of the territory, so he played a decisive role in this phase of the planning process. Furthermore Luigi, as partner of the InnoForESt project, took part in the CINA workshops and knows the needs and issues arisen by the stakeholders. Therefore, the technical group represented also the opportunity to interconnect the two participatory processes and to enhance the interests of the stakeholders, which has been strongly taken into account by Luigi in the evaluation phase of the selected areas.
The next step of the planning procedure is the approval process, which will entail public conference with a restricted list of participants, who will have the possibility to discuss the plan proposal and present specific observations.
At the moment the timeline of the PFM elaboration process is unsure for the Covid-19 emergency, but our intentions were to follow the evolution of the process and find the right way to emphasize both PFM and InnoForESt experience and their interconnection also with the support of the Assessor for Agriculture and Forestry.
4 Type 1 workshop(s): Innovation analysis and visioning
4.1 Visioning workshop 1
4.1.1 Scenarios used
The first workshop focused on four variables, each characterized by three levels or options. As specified in section 3.3, no predefined scenarios were considered given the difficulty of meaningfully designing them. Instead three levels or options were presented for each variable and stakeholders were asked to choose their preferred ones (one per variable). The selected options would collectively generate the prototype.
Four variables were considered: crowdfunding for enhancing the supply of ecosystem services, restoration of pastures, collective management by forest owners, collective management by forestry firms. The options considered for each variable/topic are presented in the following table, which shows how, moving from 1 to 3, the level of commitment required to stakeholders increases.
Table 3: Increasing level of commitment across the four variables applied in the scenarios.
|Crowdfunding for restoration and actions aimed at improving the supply of ecosystem services
||Products: improvement of infrastructures on trail “x” (5 posters + 20 garbage bins + 20 benches) near settlements in the region’s five municipalities Resources: Trentino Marketing/PAT fund the preparation of information flyers and a web interface for payments, displaying updates on donations. The tourism office patronizes the initiative and promotes it through tourist offices and among its members, who will advertise it with tourists. The tourism office collects a contribution from hotels that is proportional to number of beds and level (i.e. stars)
||Products: improvement of infrastructures on trail “x” (5 posters + 20 garbage bins + 20 benches) near settlements in the region’s five municipalities. Specific tourist packages and marketing actions are promoted to anticipate the tourism season and start educational activities in schools Resources: Trentino Marketing/PAT fund the preparation of information flyers and a web interface for payments, displaying updates on donations. The tourism office patronizes the initiative and promotes it through tourist offices and among its members, who will advertise it with tourists. The tourism office collects a contribution from hotels that is proportional to number of beds and level (i.e. stars)
||Products: improvement of infrastructures on trail “x” (5 posters + 20 garbage bins + 20 benches) near settlements in the region’s five municipalities. Specific tourist packages and marketing actions are promoted to expand the tourism season over spring and fall, and start educational activities in schools Resources: Trentino Marketing/PAT fund the preparation of information flyers and a web interface for payments, displaying updates on donations. The tourism office patronizes the initiative and promotes it through tourist offices and among its members, who will advertise it with tourists. The tourism office collects a contribution from hotels that is proportional to number of beds and level (i.e. stars)
|Restoration of pastures at mid-elevations
||About 25 ha of pasture-forests, pastures and grasslands are restored. One cut per year, pasture for 40 days and the spread of x hundreds kg of sludge per hectare are guaranteed.
||About 50 ha of pasture-forests, pastures and grasslands are restored. One cut per year, pasture for 40 days and the spread of x hundreds kg of sludge per hectare are guaranteed.
||About 100 ha of pasture-forests, pastures and grasslands are restored. One cut per year, pasture for 40 days and the spread of x hundreds kg of sludge per hectare are guaranteed.
|Develop a shared management of forest owners
||Some forest owners adopt a common system for the measurement of lots
||Some forest owners adopt a common system for the measurement of lots and the release of contracts
||Some forest owners adopt a common system for the measurement of lots, the release of contracts and sales
|Develop a shared management of forestry firms
||Some firms adopt a service of cutting and removal of timber from the forest
||Some firms adopt a service of cutting and removal of timber from the forest, and a service of response to intervention calls
||Some firms adopt a service of cutting and removal of timber from the forest, and a service of response to intervention calls, and a shared service for selling timber
The workshop was held in the Primiero Community Centre, in a mid-sized room with moving chairs and tables, and a screen for projecting slides. The room is kept stark, while at the same time an artistic fresco spreads over the entire upper ceiling.
The workshop encompassed both plenary and group sessions. First, the goal of the workshop and methods were presented to all participants. Then participants discussed the proposed topics in small groups (4-5 people) under the direct supervision of one or more members of the innovation team. Finally, a wrap-up plenary session was held to share the findings of the various groups, derive some conclusions and discuss the follow-up.
Participants were provided with sheets reporting the topics to be discussed and the options to choose from. Peculiar elements of each option were highlighted in bold so that participants could easily capture differences between the various options.
This workshop was in fact split in two sessions, one focusing on crowdfunding and pasture restoration, the other focusing on collective management of forests. Participants were invited based on their expected interest in the above topics, knowing that some of them would have hardly contributed to discussions on topics that are far from their daily business.
Participants invited at the first session were members of the following stakeholder groups: association of breeders, association of hunters, hotel owners, tourist office, Natural Park, Forest Service. The association of breeders was expected to significantly contribute to the discussion about the restoration of pastures as their economic activity relies on those. In particular, they were expected to provide some technical comments about how much additional pastures is required and how much may be practically restored. The association of hunters might provide valuable insights about the importance of opening the dense forest to improve the habitat of various animal species. Hotel owners were expected to comment on the opportunities and difficulties associated with the attraction and involvement of visitors. We thought they could particularly comment on the idea of raising the tourist tax as a way to generate revenues for restoration, something they may find overly problematic. Another area in which their comments could be particularly important is that of extending the tourist season, which currently is just summer and winter but could partly include spring and fall. The tourist office might complement the opinion of hotel owners, by providing a broader perspective. They could certainly comment on the tourist tax issue and the attitude of visitors towards initiatives aimed at raising funds. The Natural Park might highlight the general requirements of nature conservation, the risks associated with practices aimed at attracting more visitors/extending the tourist season, and offer its availability in supporting initiatives (even within the Park’s boundaries) of pasture restoration and greater tourist involvement. The Forest Service, in its established role of process supervisor, might remind everybody the status quo, highlighting what is more needed on the side of management and what is reasonably achievable in the short to medium run.
The tourist office did not show up because of another commitment and so did some hotel owners and representatives of the Alpine Club. Such absences may become a problem for discussing the tourism topic. An effort is needed to attract these stakeholder groups so that tourism can be fully considered in the prototype.
Participants invited at the second session were members of the following stakeholder groups: forestry firms (i.e. woodsmen and sawmills), public landowners (i.e. municipalities), Forest Service. Forestry firms have some strong feelings regarding the wood market: the difficulty of treating the supply of timber currently available owing to the storm as well as the need of a reorganization and greater collaboration to face competition from the outside. Public landowners were deemed crucial to the workshop not only because they own most of the forests in the region, but also because they are administrators of municipalities whose subsistence is deeply based on natural resources and their enjoyment (i.e. tourism). The Forest Service, in its established role of process supervisor, might remind everybody the status quo, highlighting what is more needed on the side of management and what is reasonably achievable in the short to medium run.
Representatives of sawmills did not show up due to previous commitments and this may be a problem given their crucial impact on the wood market and forest management. An effort will be made by the innovation team to get them back on board for the rest of the process.
4.1.4 Key thematic findings
Regarding the crowdfunding topic, the Tourist Office and Trentino Marketing have already activated similar initiatives (online fundraising and dissemination). Trentino Marketing could be further involved as funding body and activator. The idea of using resources collected to improve trails is nice, but garbage bins should be avoided as they need to be cleaned periodically and benches should be as simple as possible and made with locally available materials. The improvement of thematic trails near villages is a good option to favour contact with mid-elevation areas. Local tourist operators are often not trained/expert enough and are not able to generate a network. Active tourism is a niche that should be expanded besides school trips and elder tourism. Local youth could be involved more for the development of digital tools promoting cultural, gastronomical, forest aspects (revenues from the app might be used for educational activities and communication). There is still a lack of clarity about who should take care of the topic in the first place, but the tourist office and hotel owners seem the ideal candidates.
Regarding the pasture restoration topic, emphasis was placed on responsibility – land owners should receive support based on their willingness/commitment to maintain the newly created pastures over time – and the risk associated with an increased extent of pasture, namely an increase in animals with subsequent heavy environmental effects. Good practices by breeders and land owners should be rewarded and compensations should be spread over long time frames under strict controls to make sure that pastures are maintained. It would be important to identify criteria for the monitoring of pasture quality (not just the amount of restored pastures). It is important to separate the different actors – owners/breeders vs. small owners – and at the same time try to create a network of them all.
Regarding the topic of shared management by forestry firms, participants proposed a series of strategies (some of them already proposed or partially implemented in the past) that, in their view, would improve things and bring in advantages for all. Such proposals include: implementing a combination of sales of standing trees and sales of cut trees with “alleged auctions” (the owner conducts the auction before trees are cut); establishment of a consortium of firms, multi-annual auctions.
Regarding the topic of shared management by land owners, participants primarily focused on the lack of conditions that, if in place, would enable a marked improvement in forest management. In particular, they mentioned the heterogeneous contract schemes across different municipalities, lack of common rules for owners and firms, uneven tariff schemes. Finally, they mentioned the importance of a common vision, without which it is hard to improve things significantly.
4.1.5 Detailed thematic findings
Crowdfunding for restoration and supply of ecosystem services
The first group highlighted that garbage bins along the trail should absolutely be avoided as they favour the release of waste in the forest and must be emptied by someone. The tourist tax is already partly devoted to the maintenance of trails, but we can think about how to complement it with money from other sources. While tourists may be willing to contribute, if properly informed about the goals, hotel owners may have some fears (i.e. losing customers). If we really want to stimulate tourism in the area, priorities are the extension of the tourist season, the widening of the tourist opportunity spectrum and the establishment/reinforcement of collaboration among hotel owners. The group chooses option 3 as the one to pursue.
A hotel owner of a high-level resort in the region contradicts the idea that there is only one visitor type in the summer, namely elders: the true problem is that the target in the area has historically been the Italian tourist (particularly from neighbouring Veneto). She strongly expresses the idea that the area should look beyond national borders (e.g. German and Czech tourists), but in order to do that the knowledge of English is required. If this obstacle is overcome, then the potential is significant: several potential visitors are attracted by the relatively wild character of the area.
The second group suggests trails may be attractive if they are assigned unique themes, possibly related to the municipality in which they are found. The experience has shown that, given today’s mobility options, visitors are more than willing to move in order to reach a thematic attraction (e.g. museum, trail). The length of these trail is clearly a crucial issue and one that is related to the type of visitors we intend to attract. It is important to observe, however, that most tourists walk relatively short distances. These trails could certainly be promoted through a brochure, but an app would be much better. The group chooses option 1 as this is the most easily implementable in the short term.
The third group agrees on the need to avoid the installation of garbage bins and the importance of giving value to mid-elevation areas. The group believes the operators’ knowledge of the territory is still rather weak and the Tourist Office may not be the best actor to organize excursions. The tourist tax could be increased by half a euro and an app be used to reach out to as many visitor types as possible. The group chooses option 3, which could be implemented in different stages.
A hotel owner and the president of the National Park added that local actors (many of whom are just hired for the season) should be trained about what the territory can offer and schools could be involved to both foster environmental education and widen the spectrum of visitor types.
The first group, which chooses option 3, highlights that a crucial issue is the maintenance of restored areas and that today mowing is only carried out as a “gardening” activity (hay is generally thrown away). Maintenance could be enforced through provincial law, which states that those who benefit from funds for mowing are expected to maintain the mowed area for a 10-year period. The group also highlights problems associated with conflicts between multiple owners in the same area.
The second group also emphasizes the importance of rewarding good owners who maintain restored areas. The group also highlights how an issue of the area is the extreme fragmentation of properties, that turns into a problem when it comes to mowing and restoration (e.g. non-mowed patch within a mowed area).
Paolo Mori, the moderator, mentions the experience of forest condominiums where several owners share their properties (they do not sell them) and one forest operator manages them.
The third group adds the idea of defining the restoration area based on the capacity of local firms, while accounting for the accessibility (including mechanized access) of the areas to restore. A suitable method of mowing has to be selected in order to guarantee the collection and re-use of hay (some methods generate a useless residual). Finally, we should all be wary of the potential vicious cycle that may occur if the expansion of pasture area induces an increase of cowsheds.
Shared management by forestry firms
The first group chose option 3 intended as a combination of management by land owners and management by firms. Land owners should promote both sales of standing trees and cut trees according to the system of the “alleged auctions”. This seems to bring in significant advantages for all as firms could manage purchase and sales of wood knowing that what they cannot buy is recovered through a cutting service. Municipalities instead would have less bureaucratic issues, while having the possibility to sell already cut wood with higher revenues.
The second group discusses about the possibility of constituting a consortium of firms and the idea of multi-annual auctions (price is fixed as auction base, which eventually determines the actual price) to minimize bureaucratic things, which group members recognize as deeply problematic. They finally suggest land owners should give preference to consortium members, (partly) closing the market to outsiders.
Shared management by land owners
The first group chose option 3, although group members highlighted the issue of different contract schemes: at the moment, each municipality uses a different one. Some greater uniformity could be guaranteed by something like the old “forest association” (made up of seven public land owners, not supported by dedicated personnel but managed by municipalities one at a time), which no longer exists. Common rules are highly needed (for both firms and owners), but different administrators can hardly establish an agreement: change could come from the bottom.
The third group also chose option 3, though group members have different views when it comes to practical aspects (e.g. tariff schemes). Sales could be improved if approaches of the private sector were adopted, but common visions are lacking at the moment.
The division of workshop participants in groups proved a wise decision as put everybody in the condition to talk freely without being intimidated by a large audience. Something that had already emerged in the previous (non-strategic) workshop is the fact that some stakeholders, when allowed to talk, tend to reiterate opinions and themes that are particularly dear to them even if these may be partly out of scope. This makes it a bit difficult to stick to the main topic at times. The workshop emerged as great place of constructive discussion, but also a place of “fight”, when some long-lasting differences of views emerge abruptly. Nonetheless, the face-to-face interaction enabled by the workshop proved to be a great opportunity to share experiences and skills, discover initiatives conducted by others (e.g. Trentino Tree Agreement) that could be replicated in other contexts (transferability) and/or upscaled. When choosing options, stakeholders do not seem fully aware of the “costs” these might have for them (e.g. commitment required) and tend to look primarily at their own advantages rather than the overall welfare (e.g. forestry firms trying to preserve their market space without considering the burden imposed on the community).
4.1.7 Stakeholder interactions
Some people, as expected, are more talkative and influential than others and they tend to take the stage. Representatives of the Forest Service and the Natural Park, owing to their important role and advanced knowledge of natural/administrative/social issues, have the power to steer the discussion. Friendships and professional collaborations certainly matter and contribute to the formation of alliances that put forward their opinions with particular strength. Similarly, long-standing conflicts emerge in the form of the impossibility to understand another’s opinion or the tendency to dismiss it. Some stakeholders (e.g. a hotel owner) shows an incredible strength and motivation to change things. This seems to generate two consequences: on the one hand, it infuses enthusiasm and the desire to do something; on the other hand, however, it stimulates diffidence because some people may receive comments as personal criticisms. Forestry firms tend to be rather strong in the discussion, trying to impose their vision on others, even though this might be only partly beneficial for the community at large. Members of the Forest Service can tackle firms’ activism by explaining the pros, cons and reasons of different decisions.
4.1.8 Lessons learnt
It appears to be hard to engage various actors with different partisan interests, mainly economic, and different competences and activate a beneficial collaboration and discussion. Despite the low experience in activating and managing participatory processes, PAT was able to engage a wide range of stakeholders who were previously involved in a preliminary workshop and informed about the main objectives of the project. This first workshop allowed us to: i) identify those stakeholders who showed great and genuine interest in the project and that were worth inviting to the second CINA workshop, ii) and select the scenarios to be further developed.
The first workshop was not organized with the aim to select explicitly the factors which are fundamental for the evolution of the innovation. No specific methodology or strategy was applied to pursue this goal, nevertheless the analysis of the results of the discussions, which took place during the meeting, permits to already identify some of the factors, which could gain importance in the course of the project.
Here a short list:
- Financial resources, both public and private (higher tourist tax was mentioned).
- Political support, specific regulatory instruments.
- Coordination among public administration, especially among municipalities (in particular for the management of the harvest and sale of wood, forms of contract for the landowners).
- Bureaucracy simplification.
- System of control and monitoring.
- Availability of accessible open areas (possibility of mechanized access).
- Economic sustainability of the restoration interventions.
- Maintenance and continuous support and contribution.
- Fragmentation of forestry properties (as an obstacle for the success of the restoration project).
- Valorisation of local products.
- Competition with global market (positive as incentive for the development of a high quality market, negative for economic lost due to the entrance of big foreign companies in the wood sector).
- Education, environmental awareness-raising (especially starting from local schools) and specific training for touristic operators (knowledge of English language to open the touristic offer to foreign visitors).
At the moment it’s not possible to classify or to weight the factors for importance and value, but this could be probably possible later on, after the second CINA workshop.
The team project has always tried to apply a non-hierarchical approach within the first non-strategic workshop. The starting point, after Vaia storm, was to observe and understand, through the reading of articles and press releases, the social and economic phenomena arising from the extreme events. The aim was to analysis the responses of the community and to transfer and incorporate those processes in the process of development of the innovation. That’s to say that we didn’t impose a governance approach a priori, but we adapt our strategy at the current situation and at the social context of the region from the very first moment, limiting the control of the process at the focus on the main issues.
The first CINA workshop was structured in such a way that the participants were put at the same level of the project managers. The entire meeting based on a free and open discussion in small groups, in order to permit to everyone to feel at ease and to contribute spontaneously to the debate. The discussions were stimulate by a sheet were the main issues were reported. These issues were selected from the team project considering both feedbacks from the non-strategic workshop (22th January 2019) and the outputs of the internal discussion based on “the six-hats method”. This is the evidence that a big effort was done in order to facilitate a bottom-up process and therefore in order to enhance the real needs and perspectives of the stakeholders.
5 Type 2 workshop(s): Prototype assessment
5.1 Prototype workshop 1
5.1.1 Scenarios used
Vaia storm, which occurred in October 2018, completely changed the background of the Innovation Region. The destruction of a big part of the forest heritage of Primiero changed temporarily the priorities of the region. The restoration of the principal infrastructures, the retrieval and the sale of the crashed trees became the priority. This event strongly influenced the evolution of the innovation and the building of the prototype too. Indeed, Vaia storm shifted significantly the attention of the representatives of sawmills and the woodsmen from the goals of the project, as a consequence it became very difficult to guarantee their involvement. For these reasons the project team decided to reduce the number of scenarios, putting aside the topics regarding the development of a shared management of forest owners and forestry firms and focusing on restoration of pastures and meadows and the development of local tourism initiatives.
Moreover, the analysis of the results of the first CINA workshop steered to the decision not to further explore the options given for each variable and to change the approach for the next meeting. That’s why the second CINA workshop didn’t start from the solutions indicated in the previous table, although the main topics raised from the discussion dealing with it were kept into account for the development of the related scenarios.
The restoration of pastures and meadows and the local tourism development are the two scenarios used as background for the activities of the second CINA workshop and the basis for the development of the final prototype.
Scenario 1: restoration of pastures and meadows
The aim is to re-established mid-elevation mountain areas turning wooded lands into pastures and grassland, whose role is crucial for several actors. This represents an opportunity for economic development and enhancement of the traditional alpine landscape.
Firstly, it is necessary to create a map of existing open areas and introduce specific planning instruments which give a broad vision of the current condition of the region, above all after the event of Vaia storm. In this way it is possible to indicate the area of intervention, never forgetting the economic sustainability and practical feasibility of restoration and management actions. It is essential to verify the accessibility to the new and existing grasslands and to provide the territory with infrastructures, which support the future maintenance of the pastures.
The availability of public funds is the starting point for the realisation of these measures, but it is crucial to introduce economic support instruments which reward virtuous attitudes, on the basis of the quality level of pastures and meadows. It’s important to avoid any form of abuse of the public financial resources by big and small breeders and farmers, especially if coming from out of region, which aim only to obtain the funds, without granting the continuous presence of livestock on the rented areas. To ensure the continuous maintenance of pasture and meadows, by the animal grazing and the regular mowing activity is fundamental in order not to waste the initial effort for the restoration of the historical former condition of the area. Moreover, the cattle dimension must be proportional to the surface of the pasture, to preserve the flora biodiversity and the quality of the ecosystem, which could be damaged by the excessive exploitation of the vegetation and muck-spreading or by the reduced number of animals, not sufficient to limit the phenomenon of reforestation. Consequently, technical methods of control and monitoring are needed, in order to achieve an optimal management of the financial resources and correct maintenance of grasslands.
Scenario 2: local tourism development and environmental sensibilisation
The local tourism development is deeply interconnected with the restoration of the traditional mountain landscape, which supports the identification with his own territory and cultural heritage, an essential condition to obtain significant results at social and economic level.
It’s fundamental to strengthen the collaboration between the local actors of the different sectors, to stimulate the exchange of expertise, experiences and knowledge, the promotion of new and already existing initiatives. It is appropriate to apply specific marketing strategies, which can integrate the agricultural activities and the touristic offer, in order to emphasize the local economy and cultural heritage. This can not be possible without the development of tourism policies which are attentive to the quality and protection of the environment, through the full involvement of rural operators and the visitors education.
The environmental education and sensibilisation must involve the local people too, especially the young generation, thanks to scholar policies which support the synergy between the school and the territory and the realisation of targeted projects on the local realities.
The workshop was held in the same room of the first CINA workshop, in the Primiero Community Centre. At the beginning the stakeholders introduced themselves and the project team did a summary of the previous meetings. All participants sat in a circle and they were provided with two sheets reporting the program of the day and the main topics raised in the last CINA workshop, shown by a diagram. Afterwards, participants were divided into groups of 4-5 people and they filled out a poster with some questions about the innovation under the direct supervision of one or more members of the innovation team. They could answer both freely and by attaching small cards which reported some of the factors influencing the innovation. A plenary session was held to share the findings of the various groups. Successively, the participants were invited to individually answer a form, which had the aim to investigate their real individual interest in the project. The workshop ended with a plenary session, during which the participants discussed the main topics raised from the previous activities and with a short presentation about “Methods for the quick certification of the quality of pastures” of Valentina Rossetti, PhD student of the University of Padova.
Many changes occurred to the composition of the stakeholders who took part in the second CINA workshop. The representatives of sawmills and woodsmen were not invited, as a consequence of the change of the context. Indeed, due to Vaia storm in October 2018, it became very difficult to keep their interest in the project high. They were too busy and concentrated on their business activities. Therefore, the team took the decision to put aside the scenario on the development of a shared management of forest owners and forest firms, focusing on the restoration of pastures and meadows and the development of local tourism.
Considering the evolution of the innovation’s structure, the project team decided to integrate the group of stakeholders with other actors, who could make a significant contribution with their point of view. The new stakeholders are: the director of the social cheese factory of Primiero, the director of the Local Action Group (LAG) of Eastern Trentino, teachers of the local schools and a PhD student of the University of Padova, involved in the study of restoration techniques of pastures and conservation of native species. The production activity of the social cheese factory is deeply connected with the restoration of new pastures and meadows, which are essential for the production of high-quality milk and consequently local valuable cheese. It was expected to contribute on both scenarios, not only by providing technical comments on the restoration of pastures, but also ideas for the promotion of the rural landscape and the development of local tourism, which is one of the most important sources of income.
The Local Action Group (LAG) of Eastern Trentino is a private-law association, established in 2016 to allow for the implementation of the RDP (Rural Development Programme) 2014-2020 in the Province of Trento. Sustainable development, integrated development of tourism, agriculture and culture, diversification and evolution of local farms and enterprises, cooperation and collaboration among local communities are just some examples of the goals which guide the LAG’s strategy. The strong connection with the aims of the innovation created great expectations on their possible contribution to the workshop, especially to enhance the possible financial resources and to propose themselves as a reference in the future for the development of the innovation.
Teachers provided valuable insights on the importance of education and sensibilisation of the new generation on sustainability, nature conservation and cultural traditions of the mountain areas. The PhD student of the University of Padova represents the branch of scientific research, which could strongly contribute to the creation of new techniques of monitoring and control of the quality of the pastures, as a basis for a fair distribution of the funds.
The core part of the group of stakeholders remained basically the same: association of breeders, association of hunters, hotel owners, tourist office, Natural Park Authority, Forest Service, private and public landowners (i.e. municipalities), Alpine Club (SAT, local expert guides) and association of Agronomy and Forestry.
The director of the LAG did not attend the workshop and neither did a representative of Alpine Club, private owner and some of the public owners (mainly of municipalities). Despite all of these absences, the main groups of stakeholders were well represented, although the presence of all components would have certainly granted a further contribution to the development of the scenarios of the innovation. The participation of LAG director would have certainly represented a great opportunity to explore the actual financial resources and receive a different insight on the possibilities of tourism development. In the eventual future workshops, it could be appropriate to involve this actor again, together with other private breeders, in addition to the representative of the breeders association. Their personal point of view and their deep connection with the territory could be important to highlight other issues and necessities.
The project team tried to involve also Trentino Marketing, which covers an important role in promoting and enhancing the touristic initiatives and the peculiarities of Trentino region. For this reason it could give an interesting contribution to the development of the innovation, either as intermediator or coordinator of emerging initiatives. Its support could be granted not only by their broad knowledge in promotion and divulgation, but also in terms of availability of economic resources. Trentino Marketing declared it will monitor the evolution of the innovation, but any kind of concrete contribute will provide only in response to a definitive and well-structured proposal.
5.1.4 Key thematic findings
Restoration of pastures and meadows and development of local tourism collected great interest among the stakeholders, confirming the choice to focus on these two topics, limiting the number of scenarios for the prototype assessment. The combination of results of each part of the workshop gives rise to some particular issues. First of all, participants pointed out the importance of a strong and wide collaboration between the actors of the different sectors. This allows for the continuous exchange of information, knowledge and experience, which is essential to generate synergy and a high level of involvement. Stakeholders should make available their expertise and initiatives, without jealousies and fears, this is certainly the first step for the construction of a shared project. This aspect is even more important considering that in Primiero, both for what concerns the valorization of landscape and the local tourism development, many successful initiatives and measures have already been developed and what is now missing is a systematic coordination of the involved actors.
Another important issue is the environmental education and environmental awareness: the restoration of the traditional mountain landscape and the preservation of the cultural identity cannot be separated from a radical change of mentality of politicians, local people, visitors and especially of the future generation.
Obviously, to reach these goals a long time is needed, nevertheless it is relevant to start even today with educational projects in the schools, initiatives targeted to the tourists and training plans for technicians, politics and local operators. The identification with his own local region, tradition and culture and the attention for nature and biodiversity conservation are essential conditions for the realisation of the project, in this sense education and sensibilisation become a priority.
Another topic which arose from discussions is the necessity of environmental policy instruments and political support, especially from European policy, generally considered insufficient for what concerns agriculture and rural development. As already highlighted in the last workshop, the availability of public funds on local, provincial and European level is crucial, but these resources need to be managed under the control of a unique institution, as suggested by a forest and agriculture assessor for a municipality of Primiero region. Less attention was given at private financial investments, which are in any case also important to support projects and initiatives.
More relevance was given to the excessive bureaucracy, which often represents a big obstacle for the realisation of actions, even when they are self-financed and valuable both from the landscape and touristic point of view, as a hotel owner personally experienced. Procedures and regulations are essential a form of guarantee, but they really need to be simplified, in order not to discourage projects and initiatives which could be profitable for the territory.
An interesting aspect is the fact that all stakeholders seemed to have gained awareness of the deep interconnection between the two scenarios: it’s well established that the enhancement of the multifunctionality of the forest has an impact on economic profit, landscape preservation, nature conservation and tourism development. The restoration of pastures and forestry interventions assured a “territory profit”. They enable to preserve the landscape, which benefits not only single entrepreneurs and farms, through the valorisation of local products, but also the entire community by increasing the touristic attractiveness of the territory.
5.1.5 Detailed thematic findings
Scenario 1: restoration of pastures and meadows
The interest of stakeholders in restoring new pastures and meadows is evident, not only for the economic impact on their business activities, especially for breeders and the social cheese factory, but also for the impact on landscape and the attractiveness of territory. Indeed, this topic was raised several times in the individual forms as a goal of a hypothetical action plan.
The director of the social cheese factory of Primiero pointed out that the reason why they are so interested in the creation of new open space in the woodland is not to increase milk and consequently cheese production, but instead it is the increase of local forage production. This could limit the import of forage, granting the increase of the control of the production chain, from grass to final cheese product, and providing high quality products which enhance the tourism offer. Thus, the ultimate aim is the self-sufficiency and quality. In this regard, the president of the breeders association of Primiero, indicated the building of a drying system for the whole consortium as a priority goal for future collaboration. This together with the restoration of meadows in middle altitude mountain region (1300-1700 m) could rise the availability of local raw materials.
The increase in grasslands surface could also help to resolve the problem of manure management, which represents one of the problems the breeders are facing in the last few years and which cannot be underestimated. The correct fertilisation of pastures is crucial for the production of high quality forage and hence of high quality milk and cheese. Nevertheless the increase of pastures extension won’t be the definitive solution. If the correct equilibrium between livestock density and level of fertilisation of grasslands, the quality of grasslands and forage couldn’t be granted anyway in the future.
Regarding this issue, a freelance forester reported an interesting example of how it is possible to face the problem of manure management: in the area of Storo, in the south-west of Trentino, the need for manure to fertilise the corn fields couldn’t be satisfied by the low number of farms. Nearby, in the Ledro valley, on the contrary they had much more organic fertilizer than they needed, so breeders made an agreement with Storo’s farmers and brought them their manure. This experience of compensation should be taken into account also for Primiero valley.
Another issue which was particularly emphasized during the workshop is the necessity to keep always in high consideration the economic sustainability and practical feasibility of restoration and following maintenance of the new open areas. Especially if we considered the possibility to restore pastures or meadows in the areas affected by tree crashes during Vaia storm. A careful choice has to be made, so that breeders and farmers could be put in the condition to easily reach these areas and to ensure their future maintenance. In this sense, the Forest Service of the Province of Trento is crucial, as coordinator and technical support of all restoration interventions.
During the discussion, some stakeholders questioned the necessity to create new pastures and meadows, considering the large surface of abandoned grassland already present in the region. Perhaps it is better to begin from a detailed census of all abandoned open areas, in order to have a clearer idea about the starting conditions and to adjust the restoration interventions to the real necessities of local breeders in respect of the principle of economic sustainability. In any case, the requirement of infrastructures is evident, because the creation or the restoration of grassland must consider their ease of management, which can be granted only if these areas are easily accessible.
The participants mentioned some political and technical instruments which could be useful in this context: maps and plans for the identification of the areas of interest, a framework agreement among municipalities, Natural Park and breeders association, a management protocol for restored grasslands and guidelines for the interventions. Independently from the kind of legal instruments which would be introduced, once again stakeholders pointed out the necessity to simplify the bureaucratic procedures, which so often discourage and limit the local initiatives, even when they are valuable both from the landscape and touristic point of view. A process of simplification could be probably made possible for provincial and municipal legislation, but it will be more difficult for local institutions to act on European legislation and regulations, unless the European authorities themselves introduce some changes, as the director of the technical office of the Provincial Forest Agency (APROFOD) highlighted. In any case, the simplification of procedures doesn’t mean to cancel all those limits and rules which are intended to avoid abuse and illegality. The fragmentation of properties was also mentioned as one of the biggest obstacle to these kind of measures, however, an effective solution to overcome this problem hasn’t been found yet.
The definition of new instruments of economic support is inevitable, as they pointed in the first meeting. Nevertheless, the introduction of funds has to be combined with a system of allocation which rewards only virtuous breeders on the basis of the quality level of pastures. In this way, the financial resources can be best managed, granting the correct use and maintenance of grasslands. However, this kind of funding entails the introduction of a method of control and monitoring of the breeders’ activities, about which Valentina Rossetti (PhD student of the University of Padova) gave some hints during her PowerPoint presentation. Nevertheless it is clear that this aspect still needs to be further studied, before final official protocols can be drawn up. In any case, there is evidence of possible future collaboration between university and Forest Service to work on the definition of a specific methodology of control and monitoring, which could be applied in the fields by forest officers.
A representative of hunters association, suggested that in the regions where big predators, such as brown bears or wolves, are consistently present, funding for the restoration and maintenance of pastures should take into consideration also the bigger effort that the breeders have to face. For example, institutions could give more money for each animal to the breeders who work in the range of a pack of wolves. About this, a revision of the current funding could be necessary, which the Province of Trento grants for the management and prevention of damages of large carnivores in order to avoid overlap and waste of resources.
The coexistence with big predators will surely be a challenge in the medium term, in some regions it could represent an obstacle for the management of new open areas and the next breeding activities, but at the same time it’s a phenomenon which could certainly become an element of valorisation of the territory and of cultural identification, if it will be managed in the best way.
Scenario 2: local tourism development and environmental sensibilisation
The local tourism development is deeply interconnected with the restoration of the traditional mountain landscape, which support the identification with his own territory and cultural heritage, an essential condition to obtain significant results at social and economic level. It’s important to go on supporting every kind of initiatives which enhances the rural and landscape aspect of the region, which represent an opportunity of valorisation of the territory and economic development.
The restoration of rural complex of “malga” (traditional word which means the ensemble of hut and alpine pastures) was explicitly indicated as goal for a possible future local project. The idea is to restore old and abandoned structures together with the grasslands around them, to create educational farms, which permits to integrate the agricultural activity with the touristic offer.
The alderman for forest and agriculture for the municipality of Fiera di Primiero proposed to create paths which lead the tourist from the valley’s lowlands till the “malga”, with several information points about mountain activities and traditions, with an explanation of the role of woodsmen, breeders, Natural Park of Paneveggio and natural environment. Once arrived at the farm, the visitors could taste the local products and see part of the production process.
The availability of specific funding and the realisation of new infrastructures and services are crucial to permit the easy access to the farms. Generally, the planning and the realisation of forest roads and other infrastructures should always take into account also the tourist use, in respect of their multifunctionality.
This kind of initiatives are not new for the Primiero region, the local tourist office, together with Trentino Marketing, has already promoted similar experiences to the visitors, which try to transmit the peculiarities of the territory and cultural identity of the alpine community. The success of these initiatives strengthens the conviction to go in this direction, creating innovative tourism products, which include the full involvement of economic and agricultural operators and support the development of environmentally friendly tourism.
The sensibilisation about nature, wellness and landscape protection of local people and visitors must be a priority in every development project. In this sense, the role of education and schools is fundamental as an opportunity of information and education of the young generations and their families. The synergy between school and territory should be improved by the introduction in the school programs of project works on specific local realities, so that young people could increase their awareness on the peculiarity of their region, facilitating the process of cultural identification.
It’s essential to enhance the existing collaborations among the different actors, given that the networking of the professional competences is essential to grant a transversal usability of the territory and the tourism promotion. An example is the collaboration between the Alpine Society of Trentino (SAT) and the tourist office in occasion of Vaia storm: each time SAT, thanks to its volunteers, restored the tracks, which were no more accessible due to the tree crashes, it promptly informed the local tourist office, which in turn notified it to the touristic operators.
The competition with the global market could big challenges in the medium term, it could represent a threat for the local development, but at the same time also a positive factor as it could stimulate the continuous research of high quality and niche products, which is the only way to support the economic activities and the valorisation of community territory.
For the second CINA workshop a detailed program was expected, which changed for what concerns the timing and the sequence of the activities, preserving anyway the goals and foreseen core activities. This flexibility permitted the team project to satisfy the ongoing process of the workshop, giving more time to the discussions when appropriate.
The program included a first moment for the stakeholders to introduce themselves, especially the new ones, which was followed by a short overview of the process of the innovation illustrating the two principal scenarios, which were further investigated at that point. Sitting in a circle, all stakeholders received the program of the day and an information sheet where a basic diagram showed the main issues and topics raised in the last meetings according to the two scenarios (restoration of pastures and meadows/local tourism and environmental sensibilisation). This permitted the project team to easily guide the presentation and the stakeholders to have a general and quick view of the topics.
We chose not to use presentation slides, but instead to use an informal approach, trying to make them feel involved from the very start of the workshop. After a brief introduction of the activity program, participants were divided into 3 groups of 4-5 people. The project team structured beforehand the composition of the groups so that in each of them every role and competence was well represented.
Participants had to fill out a poster, answering some questions dealing with the innovation: the purpose was to make them reflect on the goals of the two scenarios, the necessary conditions to make them concrete, the elements of interconnection between them, the principal actors and the factors which they considered crucial for the innovation in a future perspective. The conviction was that the use of structured material could help to guide the discussion and to stimulate reflections, more than a simple group discussion, as happened in the first CINA workshop. Moreover, the opportunity to express findings and concepts in a written form could help to interiorize them.
They could answer both freely and by attaching small cards which reported some of the factors influencing the innovation. The goal was to facilitate an indirect selection of factors, avoiding a vote by a show of hands or other explicit forms. The use of cards helped them to start immediately with the activity, giving them inspiration and stimulating easily answers to the questions. Obviously, participants could also add other factors on empty cards, if they considered it important.
Once again, the group activity proved to be effective in involving every participant, putting them in the condition to talk freely and to encourage the sharing of experience, knowledge and different insights. The activity was constantly supervised by the project team, with the intention to steer the discussion when necessary, to give support and to follow the flow of the debate. At the end, one representative for each group share their findings to the others, pointed out the main issues.
In the second part of the workshop, we proposed to the stakeholders to take position and clearly express their interests and intentions towards the realisation of a shared project of local development, which could develop over the deadline of the European project. They received a form with some questions about goals, roles, strategy, resources, time limits and expected results. They had to answer individually. This activity aimed to understand if there are concrete possibilities to assist at the birth of new collaborations and initiatives in the innovation region, improving and supporting the realities already in existence.
In conclusion, a plenary session was held to share last findings and comments of the participants, the team project declared the intention to share the results of the meeting with the stakeholders and to support every eventual initiative also by meeting in small working groups, in order to satisfy necessities and lead the process at least to the end of the project. At the end, Valentina Rossetti, PhD student of the University of Padova, displayed her slide presentation on “Methods for the quick certification of the quality of pastures”. This has been an occasion to demonstrate the intention to contribute concretely to the evolution of the innovation.
5.1.7 Stakeholder interactions
In the second workshop, similarly to the previous one, some people contributed more actively to the discussion and to the group activity than others, mostly thanks to their temperament and their personal level of involvement. This was evident especially during the plenary session, when only some of the actors expressed clearly their opinion and insight. The director of the tourist office took a firm position defending his work and what his team has done till now, although he was aware of the possibility of further progress, also thanks to the opportunity given by this project. The way the project team pointed out the necessity to develop the tourist aspect of the innovation, probably brought out this defensive attitude. Both the president of the association of breeders and the director of the social cheese factory took part actively to the debate. They underlined their interest to follow the evolution of the innovation, demonstrating high pro-activity and spirit of cooperation in order to obtain as much as possible from possible future collaborations.
During the group activity, stakeholders were generally collaborative, some more talkative than others. It was interesting to observe how the same issue or the same factor could be interpreted in different ways from the participants depending on their role and competence. Some stakeholders (e.g. a hotel owner), likewise to the previous meeting, showed incredible motivation and a strong temperament, which shined through their speeches. This kind of attitude not always results effective to communicate an opinion, because it can in some cases make the interlocutors uncomfortable. Once again, representatives of the Forest Service and the Natural Park had the key role to steer the discussion, thanks to their broad knowledge, competence and thanks to the public role they are used to play everyday.
5.1.8 Lessons learnt
Based on the experience of the previous workshop, we have organized workshop 2 aiming at a direct and active engagement of all stakeholders and invited them to collaboratively develop the prototype and innovation idea. The elements and details which arise during the workshops will allow specific interests and needs of this small mountain community to be identified and therefore submit to the EU for consideration.
No need has emerged for a third general workshop that involves all stakeholders, but instead the necessity to create thematic sub-groups which should focus on their scenario of interest. These further meetings should have the aim to support further collaboration among the stakeholders, which could evolve in a concrete local shared project. The intention of the project team is to follow the evolution of these possible initiatives, at least till the end of InnoForESt project.
The activities which have been held during the second CINA workshop helped to highlight the factors which are more relevant for the stakeholders. The use of the cards during the group activities stimulate indirectly the choice of the main factors, without proposing them an explicit exercise of selection.
The analysis of factors started from a list we prepared for the RBG, which took place in Trento the week before (on the 10th December 2019). The list was created by the combination of the factors we identified through the study of the materials regarding the previous workshops and the stakeholders’ interviews and the list which the components of WP3 gave to us. To represent the factors we used clear and synthetic concepts, in order to make them immediate and let the stakeholders to freely interpret them, falling them in their background. From this list we created the cards which the stakeholders could attach on the posters to answer to the questions, also adding new factors on blank cards we provided them. The participants were not asked explicitly to select the factors they considered most important, but the cards were presented as an instrument they could use to carry out the proposed activity.
To identify the most important factors, we classify them according to the frequency they were mentioned during the whole workshop, considering the activity group (counting both the cards used on the posters and factors quoted during the presentations of each group) and the individual activity (counting those which raised from the answers given in the form). To calculate the overall frequency, similar concepts or specification of the reference factors were aggregate. Obviously, also new factors not considered in the initial list were counted and included in the final classification. Here a part of the list of the factors resulted more important according to our evaluation (in yellow the new factors raised from the activities):
Table 4: Factors classification for frequency of citation during the workshop activities.
||SPECIFICATIONS OF STAKEHOLDERS
|Environmental policy instruments and political support at national and European level
||Municipal/Provincial/European/breeders association/Paneveggio Park/tourism agency/school funds
|Cooperation and network of actors
|Valorisation of the cultural and historical identity protection
||Restoration of the landscape/repopulation of mountain areas/valorisation and restoration of mountain huts and pastures
|Education and sensibilisation
||Training (families, young people, technicians, politicians, touristic operators and actors)
|Scholar policy based on synergy between school and territory
||Projects on specific territorial realities with local school
|Private financial resources
|Simplification of bureaucracy
||Multifunctionality of forester roads/accessibility and connection
|Communication, promotion and marketing strategies
|Valorisation of local products
||High quality/niche/valuable products
|Access and exchange of knowledge and information among stakeholders
|Coordination among actors
||Create system/valorisation of existent collaborations and synergies/networking of expertises of operators
These results confirm the issues raised till now: the development of targeted policy instruments and the political support at all hierarchical level are crucial to permit the change in the region. Without this, a bottom-up process is not satisfactory for the realisation of the aims, even if the residents and local actors themselves are the promoters. The necessity to restore the traditional mountain landscape and therefore the cultural identity of the territory was also mentioned. High evidence was given to the education and awareness raising, especially direct at the young generations and families, technician and politicians. Regarding this aspect, among the new factors the role of the school was recognized as crucial to contribute to change the attitude of the community, probably this factor raised only at this point of the process, thanks to the presence of two teachers, which were not involved previously.
Another interesting aspect is the explicit need of coordination among actors and existing initiatives and collaborations, which highlighted the necessity of making system of what has already been implemented in Primiero, rather than introducing new actions and forms of networking. The importance of private investments and of bureaucracy simplification are indicated as new factors, because not included in our official list, but they’re not certainly new as challenges and critical issues for the Italian innovation.
Beyond all this considerations, the selection of these factors could be useful for the development of the prototype, in light of a balance of all already existing initiatives, projects and collaborations activated on the territory, in order to verify the real priorities of the region. The weight of factors need to be estimate in the whole context, overcoming the individual perception of the participant. This approach could probably change significantly the order of priority and it could be useful for the realisation of an operative road map, as next step of the innovation development and as starting point of a new coordination plan for the local development.
As last consideration, we analysed the work of Stefan Sorge on the factors of our IR and we compared his results with the classification which we obtained from the analysis of CINA workshop outputs. We noticed almost immediately that the most important factors arising from WP3 analysis are mainly the same selected by stakeholders: the availability of environmental policy instruments, such as funds or specific regulations, and political support is crucial, in the same way of cooperation and networks of actors, access and exchange of knowledge and information among stakeholders, valorisation of the cultural and historical identity protection and education and sensibilisation.
Instead, more attention was given to factors which are particularly connected with the participatory process and the characteristic of the actors, such as power and representativeness of stakeholders in the decision-making processes, their role of enabler, changer, supporter or hinder of the process, their level of participation and the possibility to have regular meetings or a direct contact by means of a physical platform.
It was interesting to notice the importance given to extreme events and their impacts on the innovation process (in our case the impact of Vaia storm was quite evident) and to external threats, represented by environmental, climatic, economic and political changes.
In conclusion, among the more relevant factors Stefan Sorge mentioned there was also social acceptance, which is obviously fundamental for the stakeholders directly involved in the innovation development process, because it has a strong impact on their level of participation. Moreover, it’s important for the community in order to support possible changes fostered by the innovation, in our case landscape restoration and reinforcement of rural activities development. For this reason to focus on education and awareness raising at all levels become even more relevant for the success of the innovation.
The Italian team structured the workshop so that the stakeholders could feel as much as possible involved and part of a process, which they themselves were contributing to build. The choice of avoiding frontal presentation, sitting from the very first moment in a circle, letting them introduce themselves to the other participants and the group activity were all attempts to support a self-governance process.
Our role, especially moderator Paolo Mori’s (Compagnia delle Foreste S.r.l.), was substantially of mediator and promoter of the sharing and cooperation process, which easily arise with the group activity. We tried to encourage the confrontation and to manage the time of the different activities, applying a flexible approach, in order to identify the momentary needs of the stakeholders and not force the ongoing of the workshop.
We always tried to avoid hierarchical governance mode, even for what concerns the development of the scenarios and the prototype. The intention of team is to keep in high consideration the interests and feedbacks of the stakeholders, so that the decision process can be led by the real current needs and inclinations of the local community. The selection of the scenarios after Vaia storm, the identification of the conservation of traditional landscape by the restoration of pastures and meadows are an evidence of this attempt to let the stakeholders and social and economic contest steer the process. The Italian team is having the crucial role to make system of all the outputs coming from the workshops and other related event, in order to synthesize and focus the attention on the main elements for the development of the innovation.
In light of recent developments, the governance mode of our innovation is changing towards a more hierarchical mode. After the unsuccessful attempt to foster personal initiative among the stakeholders and the organisation of small work groups focusing on particular issues, the project team took the control of the innovation process and identified in the process of elaboration and approval of the PFM a big opportunity to valorise the results obtained till that moment through the CINA workshop process.
To strengthen the interests and needs of the stakeholders arisen from the bottom-up process remains the priority, but our role changed his form, from simple promoter and mediator to masterminds and steersman of the process. The goals and core topics of the innovation are still the same, only the approach changed. Basically we are trying to incorporate the innovation development process in a planning process, which is recognised at institutional and provincial level, in the effort to answer to the requests of the stakeholders.
6 Overall lessons learnt
Looking back at the entire participatory process put in place during the last three years, we can affirm that it has been a positive experience, stakeholders were generally involved and collaborative and they took part actively in the activities we proposed during the meetings. The workshops have been occasions of enrichment and mutual growth. Nevertheless, if we think about CINA workshops focusing exclusively on the impact they had on the innovation development process, it is necessary to highlight some critical issues. CINA workshops haven’t been relevant to trigger a change in our IR. First of all, when we try to encourage individual initiatives and the participation to small work groups, we didn’t receive any feedbacks. Even the attempt to deepen the development strategies and move from a general to a specific level, which we pursued with the individual activity in the second CINA workshop, wasn’t sufficient to make new collaborations come out. This stimulated a critical reflection on what the project team and the InnoForESt itself really represent for the stakeholders. Probably they don’t see us as an opportunity or an effective means to reach their personal and collective goals or to promote their initiatives. One of the reason is possibly the lack of economic support by InnoForESt project, indeed this is crucial to stimulate concrete development programs on the territory. Moreover, we strengthen the conviction that the area chosen as IR in Italy was not ideal for the InnoForESt purpose. It would have been more interesting to bet on other valleys of Trentino, where local tourism and economy in general need to be encourage by new proposals and ideas and especially the network and collaborations among actors are weaker than those of Primiero. Perhaps, in a different area it would have been possible to assist to a participatory process more effective at least from the point of view of concrete impacts on local community in the present and in the near future.
In conclusion, even if the general approach of CINA workshops and governance of the innovation has not turned out as essential for the birth of new initiatives and development strategies, it has been anyway useful to analyse the background of the region, make a balance of existing activities and forms of collaboration and highlight needs and perceptions of local actors. The elements which emerged from the process underlined the importance for Primiero community to continue along the same direction, making system of all the successful initiatives and active networks. Moreover it represented anyway a good opportunity to underline the issues, particularly important for our local reality, to bring to the attention of the European Commission, related to forest management and FES provision, which is one of the final goal of the InnoForESt project.
A first brief analysis of the answers given by the stakeholders during the individual activity, it was useful to investigate the real personal interests and ambitions of the participants. Moreover, it gave a more detailed vision of the possible future collaborations. It will be interesting to see if the eventual next group activities could help to foster the development of concrete proposals for the two scenarios, which could be supported by Trentino Marketing and other institutions also out of the context of the InnoForESt project. Next step will entail a detailed analysis of the material produced in the last CINA workshop, in order to prepare the new proposal to the stakeholders and to program the next objective.
Reflecting on the future innovation process, we can exclude the implementation or development of specific concrete initiatives as support of the local tourism and economic development, which directly emerged from the stakeholders of InnoForESt project. Nevertheless, if we consider the interconnection which we are promoting between the innovation process and the PFM elaboration process, we can assume that, in medium and long terms, some direct impacts on the rural economy and landscape restoration will be noticeable certainly at the local level, in Primiero, but probably also at the provincial level. We identified this path as an alternative channel to give answers almost to part of the needs expressed by the stakeholders during the workshops. That’s to say, to introduce of planning instruments to identify the wooded areas which potentially can be transformed in meadows or pastures, to increase the simplification of bureaucracy, to foster the landscape restoration and to protect the historical identity of the local community (rural activities, traditions of the mountain areas), to strengthen the political support to the rural economic development (not exclusively by funds).
The technical group, which was part of the PFM process, permitted us to enhance the interests of our stakeholders strictly related to the issue of meadows and pastures restoration. We hope to have the opportunity to follow closely the whole approval process and to observe how it will develop, in order to better understand the concrete implication on the region, not only considering rural economy but also tourism development and awareness-raising, which are topics deeply interconnected, as the stakeholders underlined during the participatory process.
Concluding, if the implementation of the PFM will be effective and local actors will be able to exploit this opportunity at best, the innovation development process will have reached part of our goals.