cod. 1009364

Academic year 2023/24
1° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Ecologia (BIO/07)
Discipline ecologiche
Type of training activity
67 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit


Learning objectives

The course is offered to students of the Master degree and aims to train a culture and skills to monitor the various environmental components and to transfer their tools and skills for multilayer analysis of the territory. These are cross-disciplinary tools across disciplines that enable professional figures like those of the STAR graduate to read, interpret, and put heterogeneous information into contexts of complex and large-scale analysis. Five main training objectives are proposed.
1) Identify the bodies that act on the territory, define their role in environmental management and more generally in interventions in the area in relation to other local actors; in particular, the role played by the river contract will be analyzed;
2) build skills and provide tools for research, analysis and interpretation of useful data for the identification of pressures and the management of the impacts that lie in the territory, such as statistical ISTAT data censuses, ARPA monitoring data, scientific works of international literature;
3) Provide the ability to build and manage a database, organize and harmonize data (eg measurement units, outliers, incorrect data),
4) know how to manage the information of a relational database with spatial representation systems, for example with Geographic Information Systems, from which to obtain descriptive themes (eg spatial distribution of the agricultural area used and the main types of crops) and predictive ( eg potential soil vulnerability on the basis of layers with pedological information, irrigation and cultivation practices and on the basis of nitrogen balance)
5) be able to identify any critical issues, their importance in terms of intervention priorities, and possible responses.
All objectives contribute to consolidating knowledge and applying them in the territorial context considered. Objectives 1 and 2 also contribute to the formation of critical capacity and self-learning.


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Course unit content

This monographic course aims to provide students with tools for analyzing the territory to identify the most important pressures, possible impacts and lay the foundations for identifying possible responses. The analysis scale is the river basin of the Mincio River, where urban, industrial and infrastructural centers are present, and where agricultural and zootechnical activities are intensively practiced. The site also features Natura 2000 sites and regional and local protection zones. There is also a dense hydrographic grid with a system of interconnected lakes.
The course consists in organizing the monitoring and analysis of the different components, considering both qualitative and quantitative aspects: air quality, water quality and hydrology, soil characteristics and soil typology, typology and consistency of agricultural activities, typology and consistency of animal husbandry, extension and population of urban centers, urban wastewater purification, presence and typology of industrial settlements, presence and importance of contaminated sites.
The pressure analysis is dealt with following the procedures and approach of the River Agreement, which provides for a program agreement between entities, including the University of Parma, operating in the Mincio River territory.
The existing river contract has already identified a series of shared projects to be implemented in the medium to long term to address the main critical issues of the basin. Students will also be asked to evaluate these projects by suggesting updates and integrations.

Full programme

1. Lake Garda and the river basin
Chemical-physical characteristics, trophic state and trend. Water balance, precipitation and average natural outflow
2. Regulatory consortia
of sublacual river, dam and water management policy for irrigation, hydroelectric and DMV; DMV rule.
3 Circular circumference of Lake Garda and generated load of civilian origin
Analysis of nutrient and organic matter loads before and after the depurator enters into operation. Database of all Mincio purifiers: types of plant, receptor and load generated
4 Soil system budget in the Mincio basin
Realization of the database of agro-technical activities in the Mincio basin and identification of municipalities with strong nitrogen surplus
5. Pedology and irrigation in the Mincio basin
Analysis of the vulnerability of aquifers based on soil characteristics and irrigation modes. Balance of water in the Mincio basin
6. Mincio River Management Problems
Most important wetland elements in Northern Italy and threat analysis: water scarcity, burglary, invasive species and conflicts between private interests and operator.
Active management of the allotment vegetation (Lotus) by remote sensing, scaling and removal
7. Transit loads, internal system processes and carrying capacity
Analysis of the annual balance sheets of oxygen, carbon and inorganic nutrients (N, Si and P) in Lake Mezzo: saturation of wetland services
8. Polluted site of national importance
Chemical pole, economic boom, collapse of the production system and dispersion of micro-pollutants in the environment: analysis of the current state
9. Charges generated and exported from the basin
Estimate of the total loads, the role of internal processes at the river and of the system of the secondary drainage canal system


The reference text is the synthesis of the analysis of the pressures and criticalities of the Mincio basin made during the Project from Agenda 21 to Action 21. The document contains an updated picture of the state of the system and provides a complete list of the projects to be implemented in the River Mincio Agreement. The text will be delivered to the students at the beginning of the course, together with the slides of the 20 modules.
The teacher will propose supplementary material from time to time as a result of his research experience and the contributions of the experts who will attend the course.

Teaching methods

The course is organized in 9 modules, each of which analyzes different aspects of the river course of Mincio and its basin, moving from Lake Garda to Foce in Po.
In some modules there are interventions by external lecturers and practitioners working in the basin in question-
Two activities are provided: 1) monitoring activities of nitrates in river waters, immission and fencing, and 2) visiting the Mincio Park for a round table with consortium operators, ARPA staff, professionals and staff of the Park.
The organization of the teaching consists of 4 modes with different levels of student participation.
Modes 1 (40% - 20 hours). Frontal lectures of the lecturer, interactive, in which are presented the modules that constitute the course. Activity contributes to completing knowledge and training
Mode 2 (20% - 10 h). Frontal lectures by external teachers and technical figures that work on the coordinated territory by the teacher. The activity serves to complete the skills.
Mode 3 (15% - 6h). Presentation of grouped data for administrative units by students. The activity develops the ability to communicate and self-learn
Mode 4 (25% - 11 hours). Educational outings (3 h Mincio park, 8 h monitoring). The activity serves to apply the acquired knowledge and to acquire instrumental skills.

Assessment methods and criteria

During the course students are assigned to the portions of the basin in question (eg one or more common). The student learns to find statistical information about the assigned community, to represent them through GIS and thus contributes to the creation of the basin database, which is the final product of the course. The final product of each student (database and GIS) is evaluated as part of the final judgment. The vote of this activity is 30% of the final vote
At the end of the course, the student must support a test (30 questions) for multiple responses that will contribute to the remaining 70% of the final grade.
The vote is out of thirty; The minimum vote is 18, maximum 30, praise is given to students who significantly contribute to the creation of the database and the GIS during the course.

Other information

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