Apicultural Spaces as Biocultural Places: A Comparative Temporal and Spatial Examination of Beekeeping Practices and Their Contextual Landscapes in the Northwest Apennines

  • Robert Hearn
  • Rebekka DosscheEmail author
Part of the Environmental History book series (ENVHIS, volume 5)


The historical rural landscapes of the Val Borbera (Piedmont) and the Val di Vara (Liguria) were characterized by intensive agro-silvo-pastoral systems. This paper explores the comparative bio-cultural history of apiculture, beekeeping and the production of honey and wax in these areas of the northwest Italian Apennines during the past 200 years. In 1798–99, an enquiry (inchiesta) into the quality, production and territorial needs of the Republic of Liguria included a question concerning the nature, extent and practices associated with apiculture and beekeeping, but also on the landscapes where this rural practice were performed. Through contextualizing these written and oral sources on a landscape scale alongside historical cartography and later aerial photography, this paper discusses the temporal and spatial evolution of apiculture, beekeeping and the production of these practices from the late eighteenth century to the modern day. In doing so, apiculture and beekeeping are shown to be  important components within and indicative of the bio-cultural diversity and heritage in these parts of the  northwest Italian Apennines and indeed elsewhere across Europe.


Apicultural and beekeeping practices Historical approaches Landscape research Interdisciplinarity Mediterranean basin Bio-cultural diversity 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Archaeology and Environmental History (LASA), Department of Antiquities, Philosophy and History (DAFIST)University of GenoaGenoaItaly
  2. 2.Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO)Department of Agriculture and Society, Merelbeke, Belgium and Ghent University, Department of GeographyGhentBelgium

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