The LIFE VIMINE project, coordinated by the University of Padua, aims to construct numerous smaller micro soil-bioengineering projects to protect saltmarsh edges, using biodegradable materials with low environmental and landscape impact (wooden bundles, groynes and wind barriers, small sediment nourishment, transplantation of halophytic vegetation).

At the basis of these soil-bioengineering protection projects is the bundle of wooden branches, with a length of about 2 meters, tied with natural fiber ropes. The small spaces left between the bundles and the saltmarsh edges are filled with sediment that is quickly colonized by vegetation, which in turn consolidates them, thus effectively reconstructing new saltmarsh areas.

The wood to create bundles was supplied free of charge and obtained from routine forest management activities (such as pruning) carried out in in the lagoon and its mainland.  The waste generated by the management of wooded areas thus became a valuable resource to be transported just a short distance away with the added plus of both reduced costs and reduced CO2 emissions. Jobs for local residents from around the lagoon were also created.

The involvement of local communities and stakeholders, due to their bond with the territory and knowledge of its dynamics, could make the project even more sustainable in the long term.

What are the CO2 reduction goals?

The surface occupied by saltmarshes (green areas) has drastically decreased from 158 square kilometers in 1912 to only 40 square kilometers today. The green lungs of Venice’s lagoon are in peril and carbon dioxide absorption decreases proportionally to the loss of green areas. This project aims to protect and remodel these important habitats.

Next Steps

This pilot project was financed by the European Community for four years from 2013 to 2017. A protocol of agreement to implement this integrated approach for the maintenance of this worksite and other fragile parts of the Venice lagoon is foreseen between the City of Venice, the ‘Provveditorato alle Opere Pubbliche’ (the Local Public Works Superintendence), the University of Padua, the Veneto Region and the 'Consorzio di Bonifica Acque Risorgive' (the local Drainage Consortium).

Links to further information

LIFE VIMINE official website (Italian)

LIFE VIMINE: Progetto Europeo per la Protezione delle Barene (Italian)

Progetto LIFE VIMINE (Italian)

Contact Details

Claudia Ferrari

Department of Strategic and Environmental Projects

City of Venice

Luca Palmeri

Department of Industrial Engineering

University of Padua

  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Social
Key Impact
New local jobs; the creation of a new local economic activity; the construction of a network of businesses working with tourism sustainably; and, above all, the protection of all the ecosystem services supplied by saltmarshes
September 2013 to September 2017
Initial Investments
2,024,295 Euros in total for 4 years
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