Avoiding social traps in the ecosystem stewardship: The Italian Fontanile lowland spring

Matteo Balderacchi, Alessia Perego, Giovanni Lazzari, Raphael Muñoz Carpena, Marco Acutis, Alex Laini, Andrea Giussani, Mattia Sanna, David Kane, Marco Trevisan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Fontanile is a Po Valley (Italy) quasi-natural lowland spring built in the middle age. This paper identifies options for the conservation of the Fontanile water dependent ecosystem, using scenarios and simulations, and exploring different policy options. Three modeling analysis have been performed: the first was carried out for estimating groundwater contamination and recharge from above, the second for evaluating the function of vegetative filter strip on the surface water quality and the last one for testing pesticide drift reduction due to the vegetative filter strip. Uncertainty characterization included climate change projections. Despite the nitrate concentration in water could favorite the eutrophication phenomena, this not occurs because of the low phosphate concentration in water and of the presence of arboreal shade. Therefore, the protection strategies must focus on sustaining desirable water quantity conditions. Water saving and conservation technologies that improve the agricultural productivity but reduce the Fontanile water flow and large buffer strips that have a limited efficacy due to the Fontanile hydrological settings can be judged as ecological traps. Inefficient irrigation systems, good agricultural practices, integrated pest management and arboreal filter strip can preserve the quality of those ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-535
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate change
  • Irrigation
  • Leaching
  • Modeling
  • Nitrate
  • Pesticide
  • Vegetative filter strip

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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