Ravenna Pine Forest

The next book you pull off the shelf is about the San Vitale Pine Forest in Ravenna, Italy.

You remember accompanying Aunt Darcy to the forest during a summer vacation. Aunt Darcy believes forest bathing – immersing oneself in the natural word – is important for one’s mental and physical health. On each of her work trips, she tries to find a few hours in nature to relax and rejuvenate.

Aunt Darcy conducted a study of the Southern Po Plain aquifer in Ravenna. As the coastal area where the Po River drains into the Adriatic Sea is below sea level, the aquifer is at risk of saltwater intrusion.

You open the book to the page with the bookmark. Curiously, the bookmark has a URL to a YouTube video marked on it. So you navigate to the website to watch it.

Location of Ravenna, Italy

San Vitale Pine Forest

The bookmarked page includes information on plant tolerance of saline water. She must have been concerned that salt water intrusion might degrade water quality. If the concentration of salt (i.e., the mass of salt per a volume of water) gets too high, it could damage the pine forest and the surrounding vegetation. In the book, Aunt Darcy circled the citation for Antonelli & Mollema 2010 and the following lines of text:

  • Groundwater with a salinity ranging between 0 and 3 g/L is considered freshwater.

  • Species richness in the San Vitale forest declines dramatically where the salinity reaches 3 g/L.

  • Pine trees in the San Vitale forest can tolerate a salinity of up to 5 g/L. At higher concentrations tree health declines and many die.

  • In wetlands where salinity exceeds 10-12 g/L, few species survive.