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Parco del Bosco delle Sorti della Partecipanza di Trino

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Protected Area

Identity Card

  • Land Surface Area (ha): 1.068,02
  • Regions: Piemonte
  • Provinces: Vercelli
  • Municipalities: Trino
  • Establishment Measures: LR 38 19/08/1991
  • PA Official List: EUAP0207

 

 

Nature

The wood is a rare and unique relict of forest plain, which has survived till present times thanks to some strict management deforestation rules which probably date back to the Middle Ages: as a matter of fact, according to some sources, the rules were fixed in 1202, when Bonifacio I Marquis of Monferrato made a gift to the "participants", that is to the families which took part in the wood management and returns.
It is mainly formed by oaks and poplars together with other extremely different species, to the extent that at the beginning of the 20th century 428 different species could be registered. Despite the current partial weakening of the wood, it is interesting to notice that the locust tree has not been able to dominate as an infestation element. The thick wood covering the plain in the past was reduced by the land reclamation works carried out during the Middle Ages and it was limited to the mountain of Montarolo. The Park safeguard includes the architectural complexes of Lucedio, Montarolo, and Madonna delle Vigne Abbeys.

Bosco delle Sorti della Partecipanza di Trino

Surviving until present times thanks to a joint management and exploitation system dating back to medieval times, Bosco delle Sorti della Partecipanza (570 ha) is a picture of our territory directly coming from the past: plain woodland, natural springs, hillocks, and dirt roads. A green "raft" in the heart of the rice fields, it is what remains of the large forest extending from Crescentino to Costanzana. It became a Regional Park in 1991.
The historical value of the protected area is enhanced by the rich documentation preserved at Partecipanza dei Boschi, which since 1275, after a donation by the marquis of Monferrato Guglielmo il Grande, has the joint ownership of the wood. Partecipanza is now formed (August 2007) by 1,272 members.

A Raft Floating on the Rice Fields

by Franco Crosio and Bruno Ferrarotti

Bosco delle Sorti della Partecipanza di Trino (580 ha), established with L.R. 19th August 1991, no. 38, extended with L.R. 7th August 2006, no. 29, is the last stretch of plain woodland of the lower Vercellese area. The large forest, the protected area is a precious scrap of, extended at the beginning of the 3rd century from Crescentino to Costanzana and was influenced by various human actions: from agriculture to the nomadic sheep farming of the Ligurian people (fire and subsequent cultivation of forest areas which were afterwards abandoned), to the large-scale exploitation by the Roman colonization (whose goals were reclamation projects and use of timber for the building and foundry sectors), to the slow development of cultivations carried out by the agricultural monastic communities (the so-called "grange") depending on Lucedio Abbey (from the 12th century), to the noble land owners' agricultural measures (from the 15th century), a consequence of the hydrographic asset and the development of rice cultivation. The latter gradually corroded strips of forest and limited Bosco delle Sorti to its present size: almost a floating raft on the rice fields.
Bosco delle Sorti could survive to the human pressure exercised for centuries at least for two reasons: first of all - the reason which protected it from the Roman pragmatism - because the Forest was part of «Lucus Dei», that is the wood sacred to a divinity, probably Apollo, and therefore protected for worship reasons; secondly - a reason valid without a doubt from the 13th century - because of the creation of the so-called "Partecipanza", that is a group of people who became owners of the area thanks to a 1275 concession by a marquis. Sharing interests and jointly managing the area was enough to protect it from the rural speculation which caused the woodlands of the lower Vercellese area to disappear. For these reasons, Bosco delle Sorti experienced only two tillages: one in 1593, which transformed 450 modia (ha 157) in fields and vineyards; the other in 1868 which transformed 14 ha in rice fields. Afterwards, also the early 20th century ambitious socialists, although they considered Partecipanza "a collectivist association par excellence" and even "a positive example of Communism" highlighted its anachronism. They therefore suggested to make real "a dream that will be tomorrow reality: the cultivation of the six thousand (?) land days of Partecipanza". More recently (1955), when another tiny part of woodland was cultivated, the concept of "general transformation of most of the woodland into cultivated fields" will be transformed into a programmatic management plan. Both efforts, which have never been approved by the members, have not been made real.

The Traditional Management of the Woodland
The management of the woodland by the members-participants is still regulated as it was in the past. Every year a section of woodland is subject to cutting in turn and is divided into a certain number of smaller areas, called "sorti" or "points". Each "point" is then divided in four parts, from here the word "quartaroli". Each point is given a number, and every year in November the participants have to draw one "point". Fate will decide in which area each member will be entitled to cut one or two coppice wood "quartaroli". For this reason the woodland is called "delle Sorti" (of fate).

Further information (Italian text)

The Woodland Management after the Park Establishment
The L.R. 19th August 1991, no. 38, extended with L.R. 7th August 2006, no. 29, and the forest settlement plans following them, aim at a rebalancing of the plain forest, combining the naturalistic, landscape, educational, and scientific function with the continuity of Partecipanza tradition, purified from the speculative implications which led to the ecosystem involution. The long-term goal is to recover the plain identity of the forest (a goal that may be achieved after decades), using a flexible cultivation method suitable to manage the characteristic reality of Bosco delle Sorti. It includes management trends for the black locust tree, the high-trunk conversion, reforestation activities, the exclusion of the coppice wood of some areas where the wood already has a marked plain identity, the elimination of the red oak, a clear and scientific prescription regarding the use of the coppice wood by the members in order to integrate empiricism and ensuring fertility.
Moreover, an important reforestation activity has been carried out on the soils that had been transformed into rice fields in the far 1868; within this activity, the old farmhouse called "Guglielmina", built in 1902, has been renovated and transformed into a modern and cosy guest house surrounded by nature. With L.R. 19th August 1991, no. 38, extended with L.R. 7th August 2006, no. 29, a new page opened without cancelling the ancient one: science and tradition have found the possibility to combine; nature and history have become the main features of Bosco delle Sorti della Partecipanza di Trino, the one and only Community Conserved Areas in Piemonte.

Bibliography from:
- Vercelli State Archive
- Partecipanza dei Boschi Historical Archive

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