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18/07/2012 4:12 pm
For centuries the inhabitants of mountain villages in Champdepraz and Champorcher have lived on a subsistence economy based on agriculture and livestock.
Immediately outside the current boundaries of the Park, cereals and potatoes were sown on the few flat plots, crops that have almost disappeared from the area. At Champdepraz chestnut trees were a fundamental source of food (the fruits), bedding for livestock (the leaves), construction timber and firewood; at Boden and Gettaz des Allemands (trails 102-3-4a) there are still imposing fruit trees, once much more numerous and now surveyed and monitored by the Autonomous Region of Valle d’Aosta. In these same two villages, there can still be seen numerous buildings for the storage and transformation of products from the land.
Livestock farming (mainly cows, goats and sheep) was widespread in the mountains of Champdepraz and Champorcher, despite being hindered by the harsh nature of the places. Innumerable small pastures, obtained by deforesting the deepest and most productive land located at an altitude of between 1500m and 2200m, made it possible to feed the animals during the summer and to produce cheese and butter. Below the altitude of 1500m, the irrigated and regularly fertilized meadows-pastures provided hay for winter and fresh forage in the autumn and spring. Nowadays, the larger tramuta stables/pastures are still used, while the lower quality pastures have been partially reclaimed by the trees.
To retain a high level of environmental diversity and to protect the traditional alpine landscape, the Park Authority encourages pastoral activities to be maintained. From the establishment of the Park to the present day, the decline in livestock numbers since the 1960s has stopped; currently on average 300 animals are put to pasture in Champdepraz (mostly cattle) and 600 animals in Champorcher, equally divided between cattle and sheep and goats.
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