Seminars & webinars
6 February, 2015

ICCG Webinar on Impact of Climate Change on the Venetian Lagoon - Climate change, sea level rise and the importance of coastal wetlands / Webinar ICCG sull'impatto dei cambiamenti climatici sulla laguna di Venezia.

Where: Venice

Webinar. Register here

Event's Timetable:

h.12.00 - h.13.00


ICCG Office,


As clearly indicated by the recent IPCC report (IPCC, 2014) the Earth’s climate is warming at an unprecedented rate and this warming will likely lead to a rapid rise in sea level. The accelerated sea level rise, aggravated by more frequent extreme events, is destructive to the coastal ecosystems and to the regional socio-economic system, which includes fisheries, farming, forestry and/or abundant residential, commercial and recreational activity. Considering that only a limited portion of the coasts can be protected through engineered measures (e.g. seawalls, levees, etc. as for example the MOSE in Venice), can we carefully and efficiently plan in advance a strategic retreat, reducing the economic loss and maximizing possible benefits for human-natural systems? In this seminar we will explore how coastal wetlands represent efficient barriers against waves and erosion, and under what conditions they are able to adapt to sea level changes or quickly recover after storms and floods. The importance of protecting and restoring coastal wetlands and specifically salt marshes, mangrove forests and seagrass prairies will be discussed during the seminar, using the Venice lagoon as an example. These ecosystems have a direct ability of mitigating climate change since they are able to sequester large quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store it in the soil (blue carbon) as organic matter and peat. Once the peat is stored underground, the preservation of these reservoirs should be a priority, since these areas, once drained and cultivated, become an important source of CO2. The example of the Bacino Zennare, a very productive agricultural area in the South basin of the Venice Lagoon, will be presented during the seminar and the hypothesis of re-wetting the basin will be discussed, also showing the results of a costs-benefits analysis.

Sonia Silvestri

Sonia Silvestri received her doctoral training in Environmental System Modelling at the University of Padova, with a focus on remote sensing and the interdependence of salt marsh morphology and halophytic vegetation. She received her Laurea in Environmental Sciences from the University Ca’ Foscari in Venice. Silvestri joined the Nicholas School (Duke University) in 2011, where she teaches “Introduction to Satellite Remote Sensing” and “Remote Sensing of Coastal Environments”. Moreover Silvestri is the director of a Duke summer program at the Venice International University “Environmental Management in a Changing World: coping with Sea Level Rise”. Her research focuses on: - Remote Sensing applied to vegetation mapping, soil studies, hydrology, tidal morphology – Remote sensing of coastal water quality - Hyperspectral imagery analysis - Salt marsh evolution modelling - Relationship between wetlands morphology and vegetation - Large-scale multi-criteria analysis (GIS) - Remote sensing and GIS applied to the identification of illegal landfills and contaminated sites – Mosquitoes population dynamic. The Venice lagoon and its watershed have been her principal research sites in the last 15 years. In particular she is expert in the use of satellite remote sensing to monitor the Venice lagoon water quality (turbidity, phytoplankton, water temperature, etc.) and tracing the dynamic of the submerged vegetation. She has been extensively working on the Venice lagoon salt marshes and specifically on using data from a variety of sensors to study the halophytic vegetation and its interaction with the morphology.

Introduced by:
Isabella Alloisio
Isabella Alloisio is a researcher and policy analyst at Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM), where she is involved in the CLIMIP project, and she is the scientific coordinator and external relations manager at the International Center for Climate Governance (ICCG). She was project manager in the field of energy regulation at the Italian Authority for Energy. She holds a PhD in International Law and Economics from Bocconi University, and she was visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley conducting research in the renewable energy field, and PhD researcher at the Centre for Research on Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy (IEFE) at Bocconi University. She has published her Phd thesis on the Policy Drivers of Photovoltaic Industry Growth in California, Germany and Japan. She holds a MA in International Relations from the University of Geneva, and worked in International Organisations, such as the United Nations and the European Parliament.

Working language: English.
Registration is required. For information and registration: or 041/2700442 (Silvia Nevi).

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