The theme of agriculture along the floodplains of the Po and the possible flood strips is crucial and must be considered in its general and specific aspects.The studies and special projects of the Basin Authority have told us that in the period from the 1950s to 2000 the area cultivated in the Po floodplains has increased significantly (18%); in particular, poplar groves and specialized arable land, now monocultural and often mono-sown, have increased, replacing the much more extensive and complex arboreal arable land, now completely disappeared. The areas under natural or semi-natural cover have decreased by about 8000 hectares (rate: -31%), with loss of peripheral biodiversity and fragmentation of the remaining areas. Urbanized areas, settlements and infrastructures increased by about 1,256 hectares (rate: +290%).
In recent years this model shows strong weaknesses. Bearing crops such as poplar groves are being dismantled because they are no longer profitable. The risks related to climate change, such as exceptional droughts combined with the water requirements of external cultivated areas, undermine the possibility of maintaining such large expanses of highly hydro-healthy crops. It is necessary to rebalance the general model of use of floodplains by seeking new soil management mixes in which agri-environmental measures can play a decisive role in the production of ecosystem services to the territory that are adequately recognized also from the economic point of view.