In Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, in particular in the area called “Valli del Natisone”, at medium-high altitudes and in sub-acidic soils rich in organic matter, throughout the centuries local population has selected, grown and preserved different chestnut cultivars for many applications: fresh consumption, animal nutrition, timber production, thereby actively contributing to the maintenance of the antropic biodiversity of the germplasm, and providing an excellent example of conservation horticulture. Since the beginning of the century and in particular from the 1950s onwards, mountain areas of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, as well as other Alpine territories, have been characterized by some main social changes: massive emigration, a birth rate drop and a pronounced ageing of the population. Therefore, there has also been a progressive abandonment of agriculture and animal husbandry. The Regional Agency for Rural Development (ERSA) of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region with the Chestnut R&D Center has been engaged in a study for the characterisation and the recovery of the Castanea germplasm present in the Region. Genetic, morphological and chemical analysis were carried out in order to obtain a specific descriptive profile for each selected cultivar. The preliminary results of this study allow us to understand that some chestnut biodiversity in Friuli Venezia Giulia Region may be commercially competitive, also through an effective valorisation of the ecosystem services deriving from the sustainable use of these natural resources. The Muron cultivar in particular seems to offer interesting features coming directly from an ancient glorious past. Since spring 2018 also started an experimentation using euro-japanese cultivars in vocated areas.
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