The environmental noise level in the rejuvenation pruning on centuries-old olive tree
University of the Mediterranea of Reggio Calabria - Department of AGRARIA, Feo di Vito, IT89123 Reggio Calabria, Italy
In the Italian agricultural economy, olive cultivation plays a fundamental role, and this is especially true for the southern regions where almost all cultivation is spread. In Calabria, in particular, olive cultivation has seen over the last few decades significantly improve the quality of production also as a result of investments aimed at the creation of new mechanizable plants and/or the modernization of existing ones; today some areas have got both PDO and PGI certification.
In the ‘Piana di Gioia Tauro’, located north-west of the Reggio Calabria metropolitan area, olive growing extends over 20,000 hectares and the presence of centuries-old olive tree is still widespread. The olive varieties mainly belong to the local cultivars of ‘Sinopolese’ and ‘Ottobratica’, characterized by a remarkable rusticity and high development, perhaps unique in the world; they reach 20–25 meters high, forming what is called a ‘forest of olive trees’.
The pruning operations are carried out by means of chainsaws of different power and size whereby, in addition to the previously described difficulties, operators are exposed to prolonged periods of noise levels. The purpose of this study is precisely to assess the exposure of operators to this particular olive grove. The aim is to identify the acoustic levels generated by the two pruning and cross-cutting activities, the risk thresholds and the exposure to which the individual workers of the two work sites are subjected, giving indications on the appropriate safety distances to maintain (according to current regulations) compared to noise sources.