After a three-year interruption due to the pandemic, the Trails resumed in 2023 with two events, and the initiative fell within the objectives of the National Biodiversity Future Center to conserve, restore, monitor, and enhance Italian and Mediterranean biodiversity.
The Trail lasted one day and took place on both the 21st and 28th of August. It was a circular walk around Lake Tovel, in the province of Trento.
The purpose of this Trail was to engage not only the local inhabitants but also the numerous tourists who visit the lake every summer attracted by its beauty. Researchers accompanied the participants, narrating the biodiversity of the lake and the surrounding forest and explaining in detail the long-term ecological research they are carrying out at the site.
A special focus was on the monitoring process of the lake’s water, which is carried out thanks to a floating platform at the center of the lake. Participants could see the sensors used for the data collection and learn about the operational procedures. To download the data, the platform is reached by boat during the warmer months, while during the winter season, the presence of ice requires careful planning of the operation.
There were several stops along the route where some people, intrigued by the history of the lake, joined the Trail even though they didn’t register for the event.
The Lake Tovel Trail was organized by the Edmund Mach Foundation, with the sponsorship of the Municipality of Ville d’Anauni and of the Adamello-Brenta Park.
The second Trail of 2023 took place from October 15th to 18th in Puglia. It was a bicycle route connecting the LTER-Italy research sites of the Mar Piccolo of Taranto and Acquatina of Lecce, with two intermediate legs in Oria and Torchiarolo (province of Brindisi). The name of the Trail, “Ecological Transitions,” was inspired by the two research sites of the Mar Piccolo and Acquatina, which are two transitional environments where fresh and marine waters mix. From this first inspiration, broader reflections were made on the topic of transitions, thanks also to the meeting with people and local associations, taking on personal, social, environmental, generational, and economic connotations.
The Trail began on the evening of October 15th at the Euro-Mediterranean Center of the Sea and Cetaceans KETOS, in Taranto, that was established to study, protect, and disseminate marine biodiversity. Here, researchers from CNR presented the LTER-Italy Network and the two research sites of the Mar Piccolo and Acquatina. On the morning of October 16th the Trail officially started at the “Convent of the Battendieri”, a place to discover the botanical and geological characteristics of the territory. From there, cyclists set off for Oria, while other participants had time to walk along the Via Mellifera inside the WWF Oasis of the Convent of the Battendieri.
The two groups of participants met again in the afternoon in Oria at the “L’Onda Fertile” agricultural company to experience regenerative agriculture firsthand. On October 17th, the meeting place was Masseria Piutri, in Torchiarolo, passing through the devastation of the olive trees caused by the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa. In the afternoon, there were further discussions on projects and ideas for sustainable development of the territory, addressing the theme of slow tourism, and the case of the Pugliese Aqueduct Cycle Path.
On the last day of the Trail, October 18th, activities at the LTER site of Acquatina (Lecce), began early in the morning, with primary school students and their teachers.
The Ecological Transitions Trail was organized by researchers from CNR IRET and CNR IRSA, with the sponsorship of the University of Salento, LifeWatch Italia, Municipality of Taranto, Taranto Mare Capital, Province of Taranto, and WWF Taranto.
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