picture of the article Swamp areas of Bientina: menaced by civilization The creation of a regional park has been porposed to defend the remaining swamp areas of Bientina, Sibolla and Fucecchio, menaced by industrial development.


Swamp areas of Lucca: development and carelessness. Chance to recover Bientina and the lake of Sibolla with their natural and environmental characteristics. This is the topic  of a recent congress promoted by various environmental associations of Lucca (Italia Nostra, W.W.F, Amici della Terra, Lega Ambiente) and with the collaboration of experts for botany(professor Mauro Tomei), biology (doctor Mario Cenni) and local history (professor Paolo Morelli).
What is the purpose of this meeting?
"We can easily say that, nowadays, people know the harmony and the balance existing beetween different natural habitats and the different species living in them.
". That is what Attilio Tongiorgi, President of "Italia Nostra" from Altopascio, supporter of the remaining tuscan swamp areas, said. " The importance of these areas is great: they have fundamental environmental functions that regulate the water rate and the spread of specific flora and fauna.
These are proper laboratories that we cannot destroy nor recreate without losing delicate biological mechanisms."
These areas need to be protected and preserved for the coming generations. They are "green monuments", untouched oasis among the uncontrolled industrial development.
The Padule of Bientina, the area between Monte Pisano and Cerbaie (municipalities of Capannori, Porcari, Altopascio, Bientina, Castelfranco di Sotto, Santa Maria a Monte) is menaced by urbanization and industrialization and consequently by water pollution and drainage of its main channels.
Other problems are the presence of abusive waste deposits for urban and industrial waste materials and the intense exploitation of the soil and of the underground water supply. "With this congress - continues Tongiorgi - along with the proposal of the constitution of a Regional National Park and of "Bientina", “Sibolla" and "Padule di Fucecchio", we have shown to the Region and to inherent Associations the need of recovering, preserving and developing this area, considered as a priceless environmental patrimony."
The area of "Bientina" will be included in the International Convention of Ramsar, along with the other two areas, and they will be considered as "biotopo" (particular ambient with peculiar characteristics) worth to be preserved by the Società Botanica Italiana, . These areas have became “Protected Areas" (Legge 52/82 and Legge Galasso, Region of Tuscany).
They need drainages and a restoration of the swamp ambients through floods in the areas already touched by water.
“This possibility - said Tongiorgi - also presents an alternative model of control and use of a territory that already constitutes a vast natural area and a park located only 10 km from the city of Lucca. This is a vast "green maquis" where to enjoy a pleasant stay.
These swamp areas could become object of natural research and could be equipped for didactic visits and guided excursions, becoming the perfect destination for environmental researchers. This area is also rich of archaeologic and historical evidences. Once it was the bed of the biggest lake of Tuscany. Here, archaeologists have found various Roman and Etrurian rests and some areas are still unexplored.".
The Park of the “Swamp areas of Valdarno Inferiore", whose project has been presented at the congress by professor Raffaello Corsi of Lega Ambiente Valdera, is a concrete proposal, worth to be considered. It proposes the safeguard of the lake of 'Bientina", of "Sibolla", of the nymphaeas, of the carnivorous plants and of the interesting areas of Padule di Fucecchio and Cerbaie. They are administratively fragmented, but they are a proper environmental system not to be considered as a useless swamp area. It is an important naturalistic, hydrologic and economic ambient.
Swamp areas also are important for thermoregulation, like the sea, and constitute a water supply the importance of which is bound to increase. This is due to the climate changings (dry climate).
Economic activities such as fishing and fish-breeding (2/3 of the market come from these swamp areas) are important and successful and they pay more than agriculture practiced in drainaged areas. In these swamp areas there are over 300 species of plants (woods, meadows, swamps, bushes, trees). Recently, the entire "maquis of Bottaccio", in the municipality of Capannori, has been cut down.
There also are different species of animals: from insects to amphibious, from reptiles to birds (ducks, wild ducks, teals, lapwings, piro-piro, royal robins, snipes, woodpigeons, water hens and so on). During migration periods it is possible to see red herons and storks. Biologists study the maintenance of the essential environmental processes so to guard both different species and ecosystems. We want to save this “eden" and researches and analysis must be finally taken into account  by the relating Associations.

This area, moreover, is a natural basin and a perfect park where hunters could go. This territory should be qualified and considered as a natural lung in the industrialized area that surrounds this desert "swamp areas", the so-called "no-man's-land" miraculously escaped from "civilization”.

Massimo Raffanti

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