Capra, Gian Franco and Ganga, Antonio and Buondonno, Andrea and Grilli, Eleonora and Gaviano, Carla and Vacca, Sergio (2015) Ethnopedology in the study of toponyms connected to the indigenous knowledge on soil resource. PLoS One, Vol. 10 (3), p. 20. ISSN 1932-6203. Article.
In taking an integrated ethnopedological approach, this study aims to investigate the meaning of the distribution of the toponyms used in traditional and recent cartography of Sardinia (southern Italy). It is particularly, but not only, focused on those related to soil resources. Sardinia is particularly interesting in this respect, as its unique history, geography, and linguistic position makes it one of the Italian and Mediterranean regions with the greatest number of toponyms. This research investigated the toponyms belonging to an important sub-region of Sardinia, called Ogliastra (central-eastern Sardinia). The research was conducted through the following integrated approach: i) toponymy research and collection from different sources; ii) database creation and translation of toponyms from the Sardinian language (SL); iii) categorization of toponyms; and iv) graphical, statistical, and cartographic data processing. Distribution and diversity of toponyms were assessed using the compiled database, coupled with a geographical information system (GIS). Of around 7700 toponyms collected, 79% had already been reported in SL, while just 21% were in Italian. Of the toponyms in SL, 77% are of known meaning and 54% of these toponyms were characterized by a meaning directly and/or indirectly connected to specific environmental features. On the whole, morphology would appear to be the primary environmental factor able to explain the complex, articulated presence, distribution, and typology of the investigated toponyms. A least squares regression analysis of pedodiversity vs. topodiversity shows a very closed distribution, with an impressive high correlation index (R2 = 0.824). The principal factor analysis (PFA) shows that such a connection may be morphologically based, thereby confirming that pedodiversity and topodiversity are strongly linked each other. Overall, the research shows that an integrated ethnopedological approach, combining indigenous and scientific knowledge may be of great interest in order to mitigate the impressive phenomena of the indigenous knowledge lost.
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