Dossier: Paisatges sonors - Observatori del Paisatge

Presentation

Woods and groves are determining factors in the shaping of the landscape and play a part in our daily perception of our surroundings. The presence or absence of trees, and the types of tree found, are aspects that characterise our landscapes. The distinctive features of some specimens also, promote them as cultural and heritage points of reference in a territory.

Outstanding Tree

All over the country there are trees that have become part of our collective landscape heritage. They are usually either very large, or of extraordinarily beauty or age, and many are part of history and popular lore, having played a role in historical events, or figure in local stories and legends. Some trees have achieved symbolic status, as identity bonds representing a country, a community or an ideology. Most of these outstanding trees are known by a given name, and this personalisation has provided a source of inspiration for literary, pictorial or sculptural works. Moreover, outstanding heritage trees add another dimension, i.e. a time perspective, to our perception of the landscape.

Outstanding tree (General Sherman, in Sequoia National Park)

Unfortunately, the number of outstanding heritage trees that can be seen today is fewer than desirable. The growth of urban development, expansion and construction of new infrastructures, and changes in the management of rural areas, have not always paid due respect to the trees that are the true symbols of the territory. On some occasions, the trees simply got in the way of development, and on other occasions, their roots were lifting pavements or their branches were damaging roofs and façades. In short, many specimens were cut down or excessively pruned shortly before they were listed as valuable.

Human activity is not the only factor to blame for the disappearance of well-known trees. Natural life cycles, as well as storms, gales, disease or fulminating parasite attack, all take their toll on our trees.

We must be aware that all decisions or actions taken on any woodland area will affect the potential of the outstanding heritage trees of future generations. Bearing this in mind, the present dossier aims to:

  1. Spread knowledge of outstanding heritage trees in Catalonia throughout active websites.
  2. Collect, classify and make available the main sources of information on outstanding heritage trees of the world available on the Internet, including conservation entities and institutions and legal frameworks.
  3. Become a reference website on outstanding heritage trees both for specialists and for the interested public in general.

Note that only institutions, centres and groups with an active website have been included. Unfortunately this criterion inevitably excludes highly interesting off-line sources of information on outstanding heritage trees.

The Landscape Observatory encourages readers of this dossier to send their suggestions and feedback. This is the best way for us to improve the contents, which were not intended to be exhaustive.

This dossier has been prepared with the collaboration of Jordi DÝaz Callejo
 

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