Management of natural and semi-natural areas along the Arno River (Florence, Italy)

Francesca Bottalico, Paola Brundu, Valentina Cappelli, Susanna Nocentini, Davide Travaglini, Orazio Ciancio, Gherardo Chirici, Leonardo Ermini


Over the years structure and composition of riparian vegetation have been deeply changed to reduce flood hazard and to exploit water resources and mining. Today, modern policies try to balance hydraulic safety requirements with river habitat restoration and conservation. The aim of this study is to identify new management approaches for natural and semi-natural areas along the Arno river. The study is based on detailed mapping of forest types and land use using remote sensing data and ground observation. Surveys were carried out in plots laid out along the stretch of river falling in the Province of Florence. Indicators were used to identify different functions: environmental and landscape enhancement, wildlife conservation (specifically birds), recreational use, hydraulic risk reduction. Results show that the riverine area comprises very diverse environments impacted by different degrees of human activity. These environments are both relevant reservoirs of biodiversity and important areas for recreational use. The proposed management system aims at guaranteeing both hydraulic safety, and the conservation of environmental, social and landscape value of riparian vegetation.


riparian vegetation; adaptive management; functional indicators; river bed classification

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