Coastal Forest Hydrology Lab

The IGRG has conducted several studies in the past 10 years regarding the interactions among vegetation, ground water, sea water, rainfall, irrigation, infiltration, and drainage in the coastal area of Ravenna.

Thanks to a series of agreements with the City of Ravenna, ENI, and the Forest Service (CSI – Coastal Salt-water Intrusion, RiGeD – Ra) it was possible to equip the area between Lido di Dante and Lido di Classe (Pineta Ramazzotti) with piezometers, multi-level samplers and soil moisture probes.

The area is particularly suited to study the effects of vegetation on ground water and the complex interrelationships among plant species diversity, biodiversity, ecosystem evolution, water hydrochemistry, ground water flow, and aquifer salinization. The lab has been setup in a way to be able to monitor continuously water level and hydrochemistry in portion of the coastal pine forest that have been affected ,at different levels, by a forest fire in July 2012 and areas that have been unaffected by the fire. This is an unique opportunity to study the effects of forest fire on coastal ground water as well as the recovery of the vegetation, aquatic fauna, and ecosystems over time.Currently, the area is equipped with:

  • 5 piezometers fully screened down to a depth of 27 m.
  • 16 multilevel samplers 6 m deep, with minifilters every 0.5 m from the ground level to -3 m, and every meter from -3 to -6 m b.g.l.;
  • 2 vertical transects through the vadose zone for continuous monitoring of water content, electrical conductivity, and temperature.

The land where the lab is located has been mapped with drones and high resolution GPS, so that an excellent DEM is available. Electric resistivity geo-tomography on several transects have been performed to characterize the phreatic aquifer and the extent of salt water intrusion in the area of the lab.


Future Projects and Collaborations

Beside the ongoing collaboration with local stakeholders, in the future we would like to pursue research integrating the hydrologic and hydrogeologic characteristics of the site with effects on the vegetation, aquatic fauna of the surface water and ground water, ecosystem development, vegetation/fauna recovery after the fire, evolution of ground water quality during vegetation recovery.

We are willing to seek funding possibilities in this area and welcome eventual expertise in the biologic/ecological sector that would team up with for this aim.

What we need: Eddy covariance mini-tower, on-site meteo station, biological and ecological expertise.





Greggio, N., Giambastiani, B.M.S., Sandroni, L., Bonanni, G., Antonellini, M., Dinelli, E. 2014. Sediment origin and geochemistry in a lowland coastal aquifer. In Proceedings: 10th International Hydrogeological Congress, Vol. 1, pp. 213-222. Thessaloniki, Greece, 8-10 October 2014.

Mollema, P.N., Antonellini, M., Gabbianelli, G., Galloni, E. Water budget management of a coastal pine forest in a Mediterranean catchment (Marina Romea, Ravenna, Italy) (2013) Environmental Earth Sciences, 68 (6), pp. 1707-1721.

Mollema, P., Antonellini, M., Gabbianelli, G., Laghi, M., Marconi, V., Minchio, A. Climate and water budget change of a Mediterranean coastal watershed, Ravenna, Italy (2012) Environmental Earth Sciences, 65 (1), pp. 257-276.

Marconi, V., Antonellini, M., Balugani, E., Dinelli, E. Hydrogeochemical characterization of small coastal wetlands and forests in the Southern Po plain (Northern Italy) (2011) Ecohydrology, 4 (4), pp. 597-607.

Antonellini, M., Mollema, P.N. Impact of groundwater salinity on vegetation species richness in the coastal pine forests and wetlands of Ravenna, Italy (2010) Ecological Engineering, 36 (9), pp. 1201-1211.


Extended Abstracts

Giambastiani, B.M.S., Greggio, N., Pacella, K., Iodice, A., Antonellini, M., 2014. Effect of forest fire on coastal aquifer salinisation and freshwater availability. In Proceedings: 23nd SWIM – Salt Water Intrusion Meeting, 125-128. Husum, Germany, 16-20 June 2014.