In the last meeting-debate held in Campi Salentina, the facilitators of the Mobius Circle organization presented to the participants the main steps of the ten-month-long civic monitoring process and the conclusions reached with respect to the usefulness and current effectiveness of the Lacrima canal oasis. The project was implemented by the municipality of Campi Salentina thanks to financing from the ERDF European structural fund.
The monitoring group has completed its civic monitoring report on this project. The report not only describes the nature of the interventions financed and actually implemented, but also aims to provide a civic assessment of the usefulness and effectiveness of the project in the light of all the information collected and the surveys carried out over the past months.
The report includes a SWOT analysis of the financed project. We pointed out that the project undoubtedly goes in the right direction with respect to adapting to climate change, both because it recovers the hydraulic functionality of an old canal, ensuring protection in the event of floods, and because it intends to reconstitute a wood around the canal itself, where there are already some specimens of Virgilian oaks and white elms, now rare throughout Apulia, thus making the oasis a biodiversity stronghold.
However, in view of the amount of funding, one would have imagined a more robust planting of new young trees, the presence of which was not found. On the contrary, the vegetative development of the oasis seems to have been left more to the spontaneous activity of plant propagation, and only a certain number of cuttings were planted, many of which did not survive the dry periods because they were not properly irrigated.
Furthermore, it was pointed out that the lack of a management plan for the oasis, as well as the absence of an adequate communication and citizen involvement strategy poses a series of risks that could compromise the future development of the oasis into a true peri-urban park. The harmonious and vigorous development of the oasis’ vegetation will require maintenance, care and further planting, activities that at present have not been foreseen and adequately planned. Also, in order for the oasis to become a place of social and cultural cohesion that citizens can actually enjoy, it needs to be animated through services and recreational activities available all year round.
For these reasons, and because the project has not yet generated the expected benefits, the overall verdict on the project is: concluded and ineffective. However, it is hoped that the municipality of Campi Salentina will continue its efforts to ensure the full development of the oasis, as the ecosystemic services offered by trees and nature are increasingly precious and indispensable in a region at high risk of desertification and fires.
In the final part of the report we have come out with some ideas and proposals with respect to the shortcomings found. In particular, we recommend that the municipality launches a public notice aimed at third-sector entities to be entrusted on an experimental basis with the management of the oasis in partnership with the municipality itself. These entities could find financial sustainability by proposing excursions and nature visits and other low-impact activities, asking for a contribution from the participants; an information kiosk and small bar for visitors’ refreshments could also be envisaged. The entrusting body would have to guarantee the execution of some of the maintenance activities and continue planting according to precise criteria, as well as guaranteeing maximum usability for all.
Finally, we recommend the installation of signs along the cycle paths to easily identify the oasis and signage at the oasis itself explaining the nature of the project and the naturalistic value of the oasis.
The complete civic monitoring report, in addition of being published on this platform and that of Monithon, will be shared through the association’s communication channels and will also be returned to the municipality itself for its own evaluations, to the regional planning body and to all interested stakeholders.