The Nirano’s Mud Volcanoes - a Pilot Area for CEETO Project

A visitor behaviour study will be carried out in order to identify actions that ensure sustainable accessibility and the protection of its natural values.

On March 19th 2019, a press conference was held the Eco-museum Cà Rossa of the Nirano’s Mud Volcanoes, or Salse di Nirano, in order to inform about the selection of this Reserve as a CEETO Pilot Area. The Nirano’s Mud Volcanoes area was chosen by the Emilia Centrale Park Managing Authority and the Emilia-Romagna Region to test one of the CEETO Pilot Actions for sustainable tourism management in it.

The meeting was attended by Emanuela Caruso and Mauro Generali, officials for the Emilia-Romagna Region. Furthermore, the Emilia Centrale Park Managing Authority was represented by the President Giovanni Battista Pasini and the Director Valerio Fioravanti. From the Municipality of Fiorano Modenese, the Mayor Francesco Tosi and the Councillor for the Environment Riccardo Amici attended the meeting.


Press Conference at Eco-museum Cà Rossa - Photo by Emila-Romagna Region

Within the CEETO Action Plan activities planned to be undertaken in the Nirano’s Mud Volcanoes, a CCTV cameras system will be installed for a period of 18 months. Through this system and by using artificial intelligence algorithms, the images of a significant part of the Integral Protection Zone of the natural reserve will be recorded and analysed. This will allow to extract statistical data on the number of pedestrians, bikes and cars in transit, creating "Heat Maps" of the routes that visitors use and detect any misconduct such as the exit from the marked routes and fences overruns. In cases of humans, the system will not identify individuals but only the silhouettes, collecting statistical data and respecting the privacy.

Mauro Generali, from the Emilia-Romagna Region and Lead Partner of CEETO project, explained that "The idea is to monitor the tourist flows in the most visited area and, therefore, more sensitive to anthropogenic impacts. In this way we will be able to count tourists, monitor people who leave the paths and, in short, to get a better knowledge of the use of this territory".


Visitors at the Nirano´s Mud Vulcanoes - Photo by Emilia-Romagna Region

In practice, the moving forms will be compared with a database of images in order to distinguish, for example, how many people visit the Nirano’s Mud Volcanoes on foot, by bicycle or by car. "Through the recorded images - added Generali - it will also be possible to appreciate the morphological changes of the ground that will take place during the analysis period and understand its evolution. In addition, it will be possible to correlate the data with other geological parameters that the University of Modena and the Emilia-Romagna Region are already collecting.” The data could be transmitted on a web platform and make it available to the Emilia Centrale Park Managing Authority, for subsequent research and evaluations.

Through the use of these data it will be possible to design a targeted plan of action on the area addressed to improve the existing safety protocols as well as environmental protection plans, education and awareness raising initiatives. Likewise, after the actions have been implemented, the data collection and will allow to carry out a quantitative assessment of the effectiveness of the actions.


Information sign in one of the Mud Vulcanoes - Photo by Emilia-Romagna Region

The basic idea is to make tourism compatible with the protection at the time that the delicate environmental balance is safeguarded. Through this Action Plan, it will be possible to obtain clearer information to re-define the existing rules and raise awareness among tourists. 

"We’ll have to inform the users of the Reserve - explained the director Valerio Fioravanti – about the deployed monitoring system and that their behaviour in the Park will be analysed”. At the end of the project, an open day to communicate the final results to the citizenship is planned. "The Salse di Nirano - concluded the Councillor for the Environment, Riccardo Amici - have already been analysed from many points of view and this was the missing piece”.

Click on the map below to get further information on other CEETO Pilot Areas in which innovative sustainable tourism management models are being tested.


CEETO Map of Pilot Protected Areas