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Parco del Delta del Po: The Protected Area

Parco del Delta del Po

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Protected Area

Identity Card

  • Delta del Po Emilia-Romagna Regional Park:
    • Land Surface Area (ha): 53.653,00
    • Regions: Emilia Romagna
    • Provinces: Ferrara, Ravenna
    • Municipalities: Alfonsine, Argenta, Cervia, Codigoro, Comacchio, Goro, Mesola, Ostellato, Ravenna
    • Establishment Measures: LR 27 2/07/1988
    • PA Official List: EUAP0181
  • Further managed Protected Areas:
    • Riserva Naturale Orientata Dune Fossili di Massenzatica
    • Riserva Naturale Speciale Alfonsine
    • SIC e ZPS Bardello
    • SIC e ZPS Bosco della Mesola, Bosco Panfilia
    • SIC e ZPS Dune di San Giuseppe
    • SIC e ZPS Pineta di San Vitale, Bassa del Pirottolo
    • SIC e ZPS Valle Bertuzzi, Valle Porticino-Cannevié
    • Sito d'Interesse Comunitario e Zona di Protezione Speciale Salina di Cervia
    • Sito d'Interesse Comunitario e Zona di Protezione Speciale Valli di Comacchio
    • Paesaggio Protetto della Centuriazione
    • Zona Umida Ramsar Valli residue di Comacchio

A Park Shaped by Water...

Emilia-Romagna Po Delta Park characterized by unique territorial and ecological features. It covers over 52,000 hectares of an area which is considered among the most productive and rich in biodiversity: the Park has thus a respectable identity card.
Even if it is one of the most inhabited and economically developed Protected Areas in Italy, Emilia-Romagna Po Delta Park still preserves the largest expanse of protected wetlands. This is why it has supported and founded the International Association of Delta Parks: "Delta chiama Delta".
Given its historical role of cultural and economic crossroads between West and East, the Po Delta preserves many important traces of its magnificent past. Within the Park, therefore, valuable natural elements coexist with great artistic and cultural beauties – which have been recognized also by Unesco.
The Po Delta Park is a very complex Protected Area, since it is at the same time a terrestrial Park, a fluvial Park, and a coastal Park. Its most typical natural element is undoubtedly water, but other easy lines of communication can be used to reach the Park.
The unstable relationship between water and land, their uncertain balance, gave birth in the Po Delta to a varied and changeable landscape in which woods, pinewoods, and flooded forests alternate with inner fresh or salt water wetlands. The biodiversity characterizing the delta territory is extraordinary, above all for the presence of more than 280 bird species.
The most characteristic aspects of the Delta are dealt with in detail in the Park Visitor Centers and museums.

Natural Environments

 Emilia-Romagna Delta Po Park covers some of the most productive and rich in biodiversity areas in Italy. The Park includes the country's largest protected wetlands, areas of great ecological value.
It is a territory rich in natural environments, housing hundreds of plant and animal species. The considerable number of existing species is deeply linked to the diversity of local habitats, whose characteristics depend on the different chemical-physical conditions of the soil and on climatic conditions.

(Some of the following links lead to italian web pages)

      Flora

      There is no comprehensive census of the vegetable species living in the Po Delta Regional Park. However, the data collected during the years by different Authors about specific areas attest to the presence of at least 970 species, and it is possible to estimate the specific diversity of the area at about 1,000 - 1,100 species.

      (The following links lead to italian web pages)

      Further Information

      Fauna

      The fauna of the Delta Po Park is undoubtedly one of the most valuable elements of the protected area.
      Besides the Park's 374 Vertebrate species, the birds of the Po Delta represent an extraordinarily precious heritage, with more than 300 reported species during the last decades, 146 of which are nesting and more than 151 wintering. Such richness turns the Park into the most important ornithological area in Italy and one of the most relevant in Europe.

      (The following links lead to italian web pages)

      Further Information

      Agriculture

      The land reclamation activities carried out in the past, in particular between the end of the 19th century and the 1970s, turned thousands of hectares of marshy areas and wetlands into cultivable land.
      During the last two centuries, great expanses of wet pasture lands and fishing valleys have been replaced by agricultural areas, drained thanks to the action of dewatering pumps. Only a few thousand hectares in the area of Ravenna have been reclaimed by alluvium, by filling them with the flood waters of the rivers of the Apennines, rich in deposits, and favoring the natural process of silting up of the wetlands. Agriculture is nowadays the main production activity carried out in the areas surrounding the wetlands, strongly influencing their conservation state and the quality (eutrophication caused by fertilizers and refluent zootechnical substances; pollution deriving by the use of pesticides) and quantity (use for irrigation aims) of water. Agriculture directly influences the conservation of riparian and marshy habitats only when it is practiced along river banks or in the marginal areas of the wetlands.

      Further information (Italian Text)

      Fishing

      The human activities linked to aquaculture and to professional fishing are allowed and favored in the Park wetlands, since they are very important for economy and employment and because, in some cases, they are activities with a great historical and traditional value.
      Fishing – considered as each action aiming at catching fish – can be divided into different typologies as well: professional fishing, and the gathering of mollusks with it, and sport fishing.
      Whatever the case, fishing is carefully regulated by the Park Authority, in order to ensure the conservation of the fish fauna in the Protected Area, with particular attention to those species whose conservation is crucial.
      Aquaculture is a somewhat different activity from what we usually call fishing (that is, the simple gathering of a natural resource). The so-called "vallicoltura", or lagoon fish breeding, is the traditional and extensive fish breeding which has been practiced since several centuries in the Valli of the Po Delta: here fishes are caught by exploiting their mass migratory movements at the exit of inner basins. The fish gathering is carried out with a typical structure called "lavoriero", placed next to the breeding basins.

      Further information (Italian Text)

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