On June 6, regional forest managers, planners, and other practitioners will participate in a workshop on Franklin’s campus to share experiences about managing riparian vegetation in Ticino.
The workshop, organized by Environmental Science Professors Patrick Della Croce and Brack Hale, is part of a larger research project co-sponsored by the Forest and Wood Research Fund of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, in collaboration with EcoEng SA, with whom Franklin has been cooperating since 2015 on water-related projects, such as river revitalization, fish passes, and lakeshore revitalization.
According to Professor Della Croce, “Riparian vegetation exists alongside streams and rivers, and contributes largely to the overall health of the streams, the stability of their banks, and the amount of solid material transported by the water. From an ecological perspective, it represents a very important habitat for species such as reptilians, birds, and insects, and is an important source of food for aquatic species such as fish and insects.”
As of today, in Ticino and most of Switzerland, there are no general rules on how to manage riparian vegetation. What, where and how to cut “is often decided by single individuals on a case-by-case basis. This kind of management, without common guidelines, often focuses on the physical aspects of riparian vegetation and neglects its ecological importance” Professor Della Croce remarked.
The workshop organizers plan to collect information from different perspectives to identify good management practices that take into account different aspects of riparian vegetation, so that consistent management is possible, alongside the financial and organizational constraints of the region.
Another workshop is planned for November. After this Franklin Faculty will summarize the research to be published in an academic journal.