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Open AccessArticle

Wild Food Thistle Gathering and Pastoralism: An Inextricable Link in the Biocultural Landscape of Barbagia, Central Sardinia (Italy)

1
University of Gastronomic Sciences, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele 9, 12042 Pollenzo, Italy
2
Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Via Torino 155, 30172 Mestre, Italy
3
Medical Analysis Department, Faculty of Science, Tishk International University, Qazi Muhammad, 44001 Erbil, Iraq
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5105; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125105
Received: 9 May 2020 / Revised: 18 June 2020 / Accepted: 19 June 2020 / Published: 23 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Landscape, Nature Conservation and Culture)
In Sardinia, pastoralism has been at the heart of cultural identity for millennia. Such activity has shaped the landscape by sustainably managing its elements over the centuries. We conducted 30 semi-structured interviews regarding the uses of wild plants as well as their contribution to sheep breeding over the last few decades in two villages of Barbagia di Ollolai. We recorded the use of 73 taxa belonging to 35 families. Over one-third of the vernacular food taxa were mentioned as raw snacks. Specifically, 22% were used only as raw snacks, while another 22% were used as raw snacks in addition to other uses. Indeed, there is a subcategory of raw snacks represented by thistle plants, named cardu, referring to thorny herbaceous taxa. Cardu are often related to the pastoral realm in the Mediterranean Basin as they are gathered, often with the help of a knife, peeled with the blade, and consumed on the spot while grazing sheep, but ultimately, their crunchiness provides a pleasant chewing experience. In addition, cardu may have been used as thirst quenchers. We conclude that pastoral activity has significantly contributed to the development of a distinctive food heritage and cultural landscape. View Full-Text
Keywords: cultural landscape; ethnobotany; foodscape; Mediterranean; traditional ecological knowledge cultural landscape; ethnobotany; foodscape; Mediterranean; traditional ecological knowledge
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Mattalia, G.; Sõukand, R.; Corvo, P.; Pieroni, A. Wild Food Thistle Gathering and Pastoralism: An Inextricable Link in the Biocultural Landscape of Barbagia, Central Sardinia (Italy). Sustainability 2020, 12, 5105.

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