Guid Essay

Guid Essay

Changes in Economy and Landscapes of Italy and the Upper Valley – Free Essay Example

The shift in the economy from agriculture to industry in Italy has played a central role in shaping the landscape, especially in rural areas. Stories of Italy’s history are told by the forests of Monti Pisani, according to scholar Andres S. Matthews, who noticed that patterns in the landscape can often be explained by human agricultural practices in forests. He describes the transformation of the labor force in Italy from one of peasants to one of industrial and postindustrial workers and correlates it with the transformation of the landscape of Monti Pisani, by using his own experience of the land, consulting oral histories and maps, as well as by utilizing other hands-on approaches in order to understand the history of the place.

Matthews describes the process of the shift from agriculture to industry as a result of the changing relationships between humans and the environment throughout time. Terracing systems are one way in which the land in Italy has been transformed, an aspect of the landscape which Matthews captures in both photographs and describes from his phenomenological experience of such places. The stone and earthen terraces and banks helped keep soil from going downhill and were constructed by peasants who wanted to limit the presence of landslides and better control the soil-water choreography of the land that they cultivated. During his exploration of the Italian landscape, Matthews spoke to municipal planning official Fabio Casella to gain a personal insight into the ways in which terraces have been maintained in Monti Pisani, some of which have been abandoned over the years. Casella is clearly passionate about maintaining the terracing systems and cognizant of the fact that they need to be continually cared for in order to keep the landscapes where they have been built stable (Matthews). While some terracing systems may have been maintained in Monti Pisani by people such as Casella, across Italy, many terraces have been abandoned over time, as farmers who maintained them in the past gradually became industrial laborers. However, when the stability of such terraces is not maintained, they can lead to even greater soil erosion than in unterraced areas and can also cause mudslides and decreased soil quality. The effects of the destabilization of land along forested mountain slopes are described by Piero Belivacqua in ‘The Distinctive Character of Italian Environmental History’. He takes a less personal approach to describing the transformation of the land than Matthews, identifying and describing various issues in the environmental history, ultimately to show through a more distanced approach the negative effect that issues such as terracing systems have had on the Italian environment (Belivacqua). Ultimately, both authors seem to add to the idea that while terraces were a way to adapt the land to make it more usable for humans, when such systems are abandoned, they destabilize the land, often ending up doing more harm than good.

In fact, such environmental imbalances from manipulation of the land still affect areas in Italy today, such as the Po plain, which has flooded for many years, including in years as recent as 1994 and 2000 (Belivacqua). Such disasters have been caused by deforestation of land, making it well worth it to abandon such harmful practices. In retrospect, the irony associated with deforestation is that Italy has always been prone to landslides often triggered by rainfall and earthquakes that have devastated entire communities. Thus, when people deforested the land, the land became even more susceptible to landslides. The shift of the land from agricultural use to industrial may have been, in part, due to the growing population’s inherent need for sustainability and self-sufficiency. Other changes in the landscape that accompanied the shift of the Italian economy to industrialization include reforestation, as shown in the illustrations that Andrew Matthews made to compare forests in 1843 to 2014. He notes that areas that were used as community pastures in 1843 now have exotic conifer plantations growing in 2014, showing that agriculture has decreased and that many previously deforested areas now have trees growing in them (Matthews). This is a feature in the Italian landscape that has been noted in modern times with forests growing at a rate of 0.6% yearly; such impacts can be attributed to the rise of industrialization throughout time.

Whereas Italy was inhabited by the Greeks in the 8th century BCE, the first human occupation in the Upper Valley was around 1500 BCE, with permanent agricultural practices beginning with Native American populations living in the area around the 1500s. Their main crops included corn, wheat, berries, and squash, and their farming practices were shaped by subsistence farming. One Native American saying helps characterize the Native Americans’ relationship with the land: ‘Never make any decision without first looking seven generations to the past and seven generations to the future’. This emphasis on sustainability helped the Native Americans live off of the land without exploiting it as later people would; today, it seems to be comparable to the narrative that Upper Valley officials hope to instill in their relationship with local landscapes. It is interesting that Native Americans had this relationship with the land long before Americans in the 1900s who wished to reverse the harmful effects of the Industrial Revolution. If the Native American mindset that ‘We are the land’ had been preserved, instead of being overshadowed by the wave of manifest destiny and European conquering of the land, then perhaps, such exploitation of the landscape may not have occurred. This relationship that the Native Americans had with the land, where they consider the past and present in their actions and the need to maintain a certain level of environmental stability are comparable to the thoughts of Fabio Casella, the municipal planning official Matthews spoke to in Italy, about the significance of sustaining terracing systems for the environment. Such individuals seem to believe that the environment is the cradle to humanity that needs to be preserved at all cost. Without maintaining the terracing systems, then the landscape of many regions could result in disastrous episodes, so there is a need to carefully sustain landscape so that their stability is not disturbed. It thus, seems imperative for all people to understand that we are part of this environment and the land is there to preserve and give life, as the Native Americans believed.

Moreover, deforestation to make room for agriculture is something that Italy has had in common with the Upper Valley. The rise in deforestation in the Upper Valley started for similar reasons as in Italy, as farming proved to be fruitful, due to the Connecticut River’s contribution to alluvial soils and fertile farmland (Pillsbury). In the mid-1700s, the Upper Valley became inhabited by European settlers, who at first, practiced subsistence farming, farming just enough to support their families but not selling crops, but by the 1800s, farming had shifted to more market-based approach. The Connecticut River allowed for easy river transport of goods to outside regions, and crops such as corn, wheat, potatoes, as well as sheep became highly in demand. However, sustainable methods had been abandoned, and thus, land was exploited to meet American demands that fluctuated over the years, similarly to what happened in Italy. Many forests were cleared for sheep grazing and cultivation of crops, which destroyed ecology in the Upper Valley, much like in Italy, where deforestation occurred to make room for human agricultural activities.

Elevating Essay Writing: Delivering Excellence and Literary Distinction

Crafting Essays that Leave a Lasting Impression

In the realm of academic expression, where words have the power to shape ideas and inspire minds, we stand as a beacon of excellence. As dedicated essayists, we take immense pride in our ability to weave words into captivating narratives, enlightening arguments, and thought-provoking analyses. Our journey as essay writers has been one of continuous growth and meaningful impact. Let’s explore some remarkable instances where our expertise has made a significant difference.

Guiding Students Towards Success

Our journey is intertwined with the success stories of numerous students who sought our guidance. In one instance, a struggling undergraduate approached us with an intricate topic in the field of sociology. Through meticulous research and a nuanced understanding of the subject, we formulated an essay that not only secured the student’s academic standing but also ignited their passion for social sciences.

Similarly, a graduate student grappling with the complexities of literary criticism found solace in our expertise. We delved into the depths of literary theory, dissecting texts and exploring nuanced interpretations. The resulting essay not only garnered accolades but also instilled a newfound confidence in the student’s analytical abilities.

Breathing Life into Topics: Examples of Our Endeavors

  1. The Intersection of Technology and Society: In an era dominated by technological advancements, we embarked on an essay that explored the intricate relationship between technology and society. By seamlessly blending sociological insights with technological trends, we created an essay that resonated with readers across disciplines.

  2. Environmental Ethics and Sustainability: With environmental concerns taking center stage, we took on the challenge of crafting an essay that delved into the ethical dimensions of sustainability. Through rigorous research, we presented a compelling argument that not only addressed the urgency of the issue but also proposed actionable solutions.

  3. Literary Analysis: Unraveling Symbolism: Literary works often conceal layers of symbolism. In an essay dedicated to the works of a renowned author, we unraveled the subtle threads of symbolism woven into the narrative. This essay not only celebrated the author’s craftsmanship but also offered readers a deeper appreciation for the written word.

A Tapestry of Literary Accolades

Our dedication to the art of essay writing has not gone unnoticed. Over the years, we have had the privilege of being recognized in esteemed literary competitions that celebrate creativity and intellectual prowess. These accolades serve as a testament to our commitment to delivering essays that transcend the ordinary and venture into the extraordinary.

Literary Award Highlights

  1. Eloquent Prose Prize: Awarded by the Prestigious Wordsmith Guild, this accolade celebrated our mastery over language and the art of storytelling. The essay that earned us this honor explored the nuanced emotions of human existence through a compelling narrative.

  2. Critical Thinker’s Commendation: Presented by the Symposium of Intellectual Thought, this award acknowledged our prowess in critical analysis. Our essay, dissecting the philosophical underpinnings of existentialism, showcased our ability to navigate complex ideologies with finesse.

  3. Literary Luminary Award: Conferred by the Literary Confluence, this award celebrated our contribution to literary discourse. The winning essay, an exploration of the intersection between culture and identity, captured the essence of diverse human experiences.

Conclusion: Pioneering Excellence in Essay Writing

As we reflect on our journey as essayists, we are filled with a profound sense of purpose. Our dedication to delivering exceptional essays that enlighten, engage, and inspire remains unwavering. Through intricate narratives, incisive analyses, and unwavering commitment to the written word, we have carved a niche for ourselves in the realm of academic and literary excellence. Join us as we continue to shape ideas, foster growth, and transcend boundaries through the power of the written essay.

Furthermore, farmers neglected to take into account the importance of agrobiodiversity, monoculturally farming single crops that were in demand at the time. The potato blight that impacted the Upper Valley significantly, devastating many farmers, and served as a reminder of the need to grow more than just one crop at a time and to practice sustainable methods of agriculture. Such unsustainable methods of agriculture also manifested themselves in the Italian landscape through terracing systems and their subsequent abandonment. Though they are distinct issues, both are manifestations in the land of the lack of attention to sustainability by humans, causing lasting effects in the environmental dynamics and geographies of the regions.

When it became clear that land in the Upper Valley was not as valuable for production as land in the West was, much previously cultivated land became uninhabited by farmers. In this way, the rise of capitalism and industrialization impacted the land, as humans did as they pleased in order to make the most profit in the least amount of time. The transformation from an agrarian society to an industrially based society significantly shaped the environment of the Upper Valley in New Hampshire, which I also witnessed through the presence of stone walls. When I went to Lyme with my mother, I was both confused by and intrigued by the stone walls that sprinkled the forests and mountainsides in and around the town. I later found out that these stone walls that crisscross the Upper Valley forests help tell the story of past inhabitants and the impact that their actions had on the environment. Wool was in great demand during the 1700s, and accordingly, much deforestation and overgrazing occurred to make room for such agrarian desires. This caused soil erosion, resulting in stones being pushed to the land surfaces, which many European settlers used to build the stone walls. The logic behind building these stone walls was that they would clear the land of stones, making room for grazing or cultivation, and further, they would allow the farmers to mark the boundaries for where their land was and, in the process, keep sheep and other grazing animals in (Sauchelli). Even the size of the stones that construct the fences can give hints as to what the enclosed land might have been used for, with fences composed of many small rocks indicating that the land was used for cultivation while those fences with larger rocks surrounded land that was used for mowing or grazing. This was because land that was mowed or used for grazing did not need to have small stones removed, while cultivation did (Wessels). Thus, because the stones fences that I saw were composed of rather large rocks, I can gather that the nearby land must have been used for mowing or grazing.

Importantly, a difference between the material presences in the Italian landscape and those in the Upper Valley are that the stone walls helped Upper Valley farmers to take ownership of their land in a visual and often permanent way, but such fences did not necessarily have to be maintained in order to keep from harming the environment, like the terracing systems did. Since the terracing systems changed the landscape in such a drastic way, there was a need for constant maintenance. The slopes that transcend the Italian countryside were vastly farmed by creating these graduated terraced steps that would allow for such lands to be farmed effectively, in contrast to the stone walls which played a less significant role in allowing for agricultural practices to occur.

As previously explained, the gradual shift from agriculture to industry is a characteristic that both Italy and the Upper Valley share. Today, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center employs the highest number of people in the Upper Valley area, showing that agriculture is no longer of great importance like it was in the past (Pillsbury). This change in the labor is mirrored by the decrease in the number of farms in the past as well as the fact that the amount of cultivated land in the Upper Valley has dramatically declined over the years. By 1890 in New Hampshire, there were 1440 abandoned farms, and such previously deforested and cultivated land gradually became reforested. Such abandonment of farms is seen all across the Upper Valley, which as discussed before, is shown by the presence of the abandoned stone walls as well as the second growth forests that cover the New Hampshire and Vermont regions that encompass the Upper Valley. The rise of second growth forests is also a characteristic that the Upper Valley shares with the Italian landscape, with the decline of farming causing trees to spread into no longer cultivated areas. Such reforestation in both areas can thus, be seen as a result of the shift in the economy to one that values industry over agriculture.

As seen, the landscapes of both Italy and the Upper Valley have been shaped significantly by their regions’ agrarian and industrial histories as well as the populations’ views on the significance of sustainability. Both lands have been exploited in the past, accompanied by a shift from an economy that emphasized agriculture to one that valued industry. With pressure from local populations as well as international promotion of the importance to deal with pressing environmental issues, both Italy and Upper Valley have started to aim towards a healthier and more sustainable relationship between humans and the landscapes they are a part of. Although there exists a desire to reverse environmental degradation of the past, both these places still have deep-rooted traces of the transformation that has occurred due to a change in the economy and labor structures that will take much work to encounter. By thinking more about future generations that will inhabit the Earth and encouraging more sustainable agricultural and industrial practices, both Italy and the Upper Valley may see more positive growth in the future. In essence, we cannot change the unsustainable practices of the past, but we can learn from such environmental mistakes and seek to empower generations to come.

Click to rate this entry!
(Votos: 0 Promedio: 0)


We will be happy to help you and inform you about any questions.


Leave a Comment