Fieldwork \ The Case of Italian Stone Pine
The Pine forests of Italy, dominated by Pinus pinea are a particularly relevant case for examining adaptation to coastal conditions. Historically, pine forests were planted along sandy shorelines, in order to protect land from sea-salt spray, while harnessing a productive crop, indicating how the scale of individual plants accumulate to describe the landscape. Some of these areas are now at or below sea level. Many of the re-forested areas are now considered naturalized, and are being protected. This case samples the early origins of Pinus pineaas a species emblematic of Rome to its evolution as a major forestation species along the western shoreline. Lines, grids and naturalized areas are mapped, drawn and described, but it is the sampling of the roots of young saplings that reveal the encounter with mature trees. Pinus picea is evidence that plants can harness the relentless events of the weather. Many individual species are legacies of a pre-settlement landscape and are now reaching the end of their natural lifespanswhile others are acclimatizing by clumping and remaining low and wide, indicating that Pinus picea is remarkably well adapted to coastal disturbance. The resulting installation at the American Academy in Rome explores the varied ages, adaptive forms and changing behaviors at each stage of development, in order to help articulate a broader role for plants when characterizing future coastal development. The project develops a portflio of methods to study the friction and collaboration between human and plant life. Plants are liberated from static backgrounds and aerial surveys inviting their adaptive and behavioral beauty into the design process.