Case study 4: Mitigating national hazards by soil management: FR-IT-SI case studies on prevention of soil erosion and flood risks
Sustainable soil management activities related to erosion protection, preventing land-slides and flood risk in FR, IT, SI case study sites lead to mitigate national hazards in the Alps. A joint case study methodology is developed in different case study sites. Soil erosion and hydrogeological risk maps for hazard prevention measures are elaborated. Based on soil data, degradation risks are identified, disseminated to stakeholders and used for mitigating national hazards.
Italy - Aosta Valley
Aosta Valley is a mountain region located in N-W Italy. With a surface of 3.263,25 km2, a resident population of 127.329 people (1/1/2016), and a density of around 39 people/km2 distributed over 74 Municipalities, it’s the smaller and less populated administrative Region in Italy. The regional territory ranges from 340 m of the lowland areas in the central valley (about 100 km long) and 4810 m asl (M.te Bianco peak). More than 60% of the surface is located above 2000 m asl. Therefore, altitude is a driving factor in the socio-economic development of the territory, showing a strong vocation for tourism.
Aosta Valley shows a relevant spatial heterogeneity in the main soil forming factors (climate, parent material, relief, vegetation cover). Therefore, a large range of soil types can be observed, from very poorly developed Regosols (e.g deglaciated areas) to Phaeozems (alpine prairies), Cambisols and Podzols in agricultural areas and forests, respectively . Severe slopes, vegetation cover and snow cover at higher elevations strongly influence the soil properties and development. Also human impacts (ski runs contruction, pasture, terracing on steep slopes) can affect soil characteristics. Among other disturbances, wildfires and avalanches can interact with soil evolution, too.