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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 968618, 15 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/968618
Research Article

Natural Recovery and Planned Intervention in Coastal Wetlands: Venice Lagoon (Northern Adriatic Sea, Italy) as a Case Study

Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics & Statistics, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Calle Larga Santa Marta 2137, 30123 Venice, Italy

Received 7 March 2014; Revised 5 June 2014; Accepted 6 June 2014; Published 13 July 2014

Academic Editor: Maria Alexandra Teodósio

Copyright © 2014 Chiara Facca et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The goals of conservation and sustainable use of environmental ecosystems have increased the need for detailed knowledge of ecological evolution and responses to both anthropogenic pressures and recovery measures. The present study shows the effects of natural processes and planned intervention in terms of reducing nutrient inputs in a highly exploited coastal lagoon, describing its evolution over a 16-year period from the late 1980s (when eutrophication was at its peak) until 2003. Changes in nutrient and carbon concentrations in the top layer of sediments were investigated in parallel with macroalgal and seagrass biomass in the most anthropized basin of Venice Lagoon in four surveys conducted in accordance with the same protocols in 1987, 1993, 1998, and 2003. A pronounced reduction in trophic state (mainly total nitrogen, organic phosphorus, and organic carbon concentrations) and macroalgal biomass was recorded, together with the progressive expansion of seagrass meadows. General considerations are also made on the effects of Manila clam farming and the shift from illegal to managed clam farming.