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Volume 14 (1) - 1991


Per una storia ambientale delle pianure costiere medio-adriatiche – Environmental History of Central Adriatic Coastal Plains

Pages 33-44


The paper describes the impacts of human activities on morphological and hydrographic features of some small coastal plains, which extend along the Italian side of the Middle Adriatic, from Gabicce to the Gargano promontory. The main features of river basins and thc watercourses (gradients, meandering, etc.) have been firstly considered. By means of historical documentation, it has been possible to reconstruct the rivers network of the past and find data about floods. Human action may be considered as the main factor of environmental modifications in these coastal plains. Particular attention has been paid to the works aimed at river exploitation: water was used for mills, little hydroelectric power plants, irrigation and so on, and millions of cubic metres of gravel and sand were quarried from river beds. On the other hand, at the end of last century and during the first decades of the present one, many marshlands have been reclaimed. New cornfields and orchards replace the pantani, paludi and ristagni(i.e. small marshlands) which for a long time infested the lower valleys of Marche, Abruzzo and Molise. Finally, the impact of population growth and economic exploitation of the Adriatic coastal plains hes been considered. It can be synthetically recognizead in the following points: the establishment of the railway and the enlargement of reads and motorways; the development of massive turistic urbanization with a strong and wide influence on the environmental equilibria of the coastal fringes, once made up of sands and dunes.

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