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Ca’ Foscari leads strategic effort to save Venice from rising sea levels

Ca’ Foscari University of Venice is at the forefront of research into the conservation of natural barriers that protect vulnerable cities like Venice from rising sea levels.

The REDUNE project, commissioned by the EU-funded LIFE program and led by a team of scientists from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice aims to make tourism on Venetian beaches environmentally sustainable by 2022.

The cities of Cavallino-Treporti, Jesolo, Eraclea, and Caorle support the project, as well as scientists and experts who will collaborate with touristic and beach resorts.

The millions of tourists that flock to the beaches on the Veneto coastline every year threaten the survival of plant species that play an essential role in protecting the coastal cities of Veneto. Gabriella Buffa, professor of Enviromental science at Ca’ Foscari and coordinator of REDUNE, explains that plant formations across the lagoon accumulate sand into dunes that provide a natural barrier between the city of Venice and the sea. Intensive tourism, however, places these essential ecosystems under threat, exposing the dunes to erosion.

Ca’ Foscari is committed to stopping this dangerous process before it causes permanent harm to the city. To achieve this goal, Ca’ Foscari will be planting over 150 thousand plants, constructing a kilometer of walk-ways and building 10 kilometers of fencing, financed in part by a 2 million euro contribution from the LIFE programme.

The REDUNE project also recognizes the importance of communicating the essential role biodiversity plays in saving Venice to the widest audience possible. The project has already received support from local town councils, touristic establishments and beaches, some of which have already adopted guidelines from Ca’ Foscari in their communications to beach-goers.

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