The transition areas between two different habitats (forest – grassland; wood – lake; fresh water – salt water, etc.) are ecosystems because they give shelter to both species of the communities typical of adjacent habitats and species that are exclusive of this habitat. Generally they offer many different opportunities for the species and so they are characterized by a high level of biological diversity.
In the present landscape of the greater part of the floodplains, natural habitats are very rare and often small and/or isolated. Moreover, they have almost always a clear-cut boundary and they abruptly stop without any transition belt towards the outside. This situation impoverishes and modifies both the general landscape look and the capacity to give shelter to many species.
The artwork, that is dedicated to these habitats nowadays so rare, takes place within a flood-control storage, situated on the right bank of the river Ombrone. This water course, made artificial with hanging banks many years ago, is a dramatic example of the destruction of the rivers ecotones (very rich in trees/bushes and in seasonal wetlands), that constitute the transition belts towards the surrounding farmland.
The artwork is composed of a central portion, perennial flooded, that shades off with these very diversified transitional habitats in each side: wet meadows, areas with rushes and sedges, reedbeds belts, banks without vegetation, wet forest zones, etc. To emphasize their typical strong dynamism, all these new habitats are designed with geometric forms strictly defined. These forms enable the observer to catch easily the changeable flooded status of habitats during seasons, that is the most important ecological factor to which the functionality is connected. For example we observe a chessboard design on the northern side and another design that remembers a star on the north-western side.
The passage among these shapes, from the status of a perfectly geometric form (entirely flooded during winter) to intermediate stages with more blurred shapes and, finally, to the opposite extreme, again to more defined shapes but lacking in water (during the dry summertime), is the basic element of the work. It allows to understand the value, the ecological role, the spectacularity and the great beauty of these habitats placed between land and water.
Ponte a Tigliano, Prato
Ante operam state
Area characterized by a flat land encircled by banks (area used as flood-control storage).
Type of intervention
New wetland constructed by mechanical means inside a previously existing area used as flood-control storage. Afterwards, the artwork was completed by planting riparian and aquatic species thanks to volunteer groups (Social Art intervention).
State of work progress
Main authorities/agencies involved
- Consorzio di Bonifica 3 Medio Valdarno
- Comitato per le Oasi WWF dell'Area Fiorentina
Main bio-indicators (species or ‘groups’ of species) utilized to monitor the ecological functionality of the work-site:
- Waders: stopover during migration, nesting.
- Ducks: stopover during migration.
- Rails: stopover during migration, nesting.
- Herons (with particular attention to the Grey Heron, Ardea cinerea, considering that not very far there is an important heronry of this specie).
- Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis): nesting
- Bee-eater (Merops apiaster): nesting