There’s a chestnut tree (or rather, 48), that holds out its hand: it wants to be adopted, cured, it wants to meet you and talk with you…It lives in the “educational chestnut wood” in Granaglione, City of Alto Reno Terme, province of Bologna, and it is part of the project “TreeTalker”.
Owned by Carisbo Foundation and managed, even scientifically, by National Agricultural Academy, the Granglione’s chestnut wood is the protagonist of this project – the budget is 200 thousand euros for two years – in which the Open fields Company, the University of Bologna, the Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change, the Valreno forestry cooperative, the training company Centoform and the City of Alto Reno Terme also participate.
How does “TreeTalker” (talking chestnuts) work? The project focuses on an innovative technological instrument, basically a grey small box full of sensors and probes, installed on the trunk at eye level, that every day provides real-time data on the growth of the tree, the water taken, the Co2 absorption and the colour of the leaves.
In this way, it is possible to understand, also through an app and online, which is the health status of the tree, the effects of climate change and, at the same time, the environmental conditions of the area.
Granaglione is the pilot city, because it is equipped with the largest number of sensors, but the project has taken hold also in Perugia, Modena and in Trentino Alto Adige. To date, it should be noted that chestnuts cover over 788,000 hectares at national level, 42,000 of which in Emilia-Romagna, mostly in the provinces of Bologna, Modena and Parma.
Father of the project is Riccardo Valentini, member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Nobel Peace Prize in 2007: the aim is to spread sensors in forests all over the world.
Granaglione’s chestnuts have big names: Albert Einstein, Guglielmo Marconi, Rita Levi Montalcini, Marie Curie. They are constantly monitored and the sensor data can be verified also online on the website castagniparlanti.it. In the last few days, for example, many trees were complaining about scarcity of water and thirst.
In addition to an important action of awareness raising aimed at citizens, the project “talking chestnuts” provides skills and further information also to the chestnut growers themselves in order to evaluate the capability, the growth and recovery of trees.