Updated trends of water management practice in the Italian rice paddies from remotely sensed imagery

Abstract

The rice growing district in northwestern Italy, where paddies were traditionally flooded throughout spring, was interested by a general decrease of standing water presence caused by the adoption of dry seeding crop practices, with consequences for water management and for the ecology of breeding waterbirds. This communication analyses changes in flooding dynamics in the last four years, estimating them from MODIS data and comparing results with previous knowledge of the same study area. Results highlighted an intensification of the phenomenon in the north-western regions (–3.3 ± 0.6% per year in the period 2013–2021) and the almost complete loss of flooded surfaces east to the Ticino river (reaching in 2021 5% of the flooded extension estimated in 2000). Such findings highlight the importance of monitoring this phenomenon – considered by other authors as the biggest anthropogenic change in surface water of all Europe since 2000 – in near real time from remotely sensed data to monitor dynamics and support sustainable management of water usage at the district level.

Publication
European Journal of Remote Sensing