Skip to content

Integrated Watershed Management

6 ECTS Padua Year 1 Semester 2 Compulsory Environmental sciences


Students will be able to analyze the effects related to climate and land use change in highly populated regions (some case studies in the world will be considered). They will learn how to manage the main environmental data in a GIS environment, focusing on data related to hydro-geomorphological processes (e.g., erosion, landslides, floods) and land-use. Risk perception and social vulnerability will be also considered in the analysis, in addition to communication strategies. This is in support of strategies and decisions for land use planning and hydrogeological risk assessment and management.

The course is based on 6 modules:

  1. Introduction: Anthropocene: the Human Age. Opening lecture and round table discussion.
  2. Climate and Humans:

– GIS lab: climate change and disasters;

– GIS lab: landuse change and disasters;

– GIS lab: Socio-economic development & land degradation (soil erosion, mitigation strategies).

  1. High-resolution topography:

– GIS lab: Open-access high-resolution topographic data databases;

– GIS lab: Digital Terrain Models and topographic attributes in mountain areas;

– GIS lab: Digital Terrain Models and topographic attributes in urbanized floodplains.

  1. Earth surface dynamics analysis:

– GIS lab: Land use change and environmental criticalities in mountain areas (erosion, landslides, rainfall pattern of a catastrophic flood);

– GIS lab: Land use change and environmental criticalities in urbanized floodplains (drainage network dynamics, urbanization and floods).

  1. Hazards, Vulnerability, Risk:

– Hazards, Exposure, Vulnerability, Risk (landslide and floods);

– GIS lab: Hazards and Risk mapping;

– GIS lab: Social vulnerability and Social Risk mapping.

– Risk perception and communication; the role of social media.

  1. Think-tank lab experiment:

– Selected scientific articles group discussion;

– Integrated Watershed Management “manifesto” (in a poster the class summarizes its final view on the main environmental and societal criticalities, including mitigation strategies, at watershed scale).

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the students will be able to critically evaluate the main issues related to integrated watershed management in mountainous and floodplain environments, focusing on anthropogenic landscapes.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include:

  • Frontal lectures
  • Class work including case-study analysis followed by class discussion
  • Individual assignment (drafting of a technical report)

Teaching materials used in class and additional readings and media made available through the e-learning Moodle platform of the School.

Type of assessment

  • Individual
  • Written assignment, Oral presentation
  • The final exam will be based on:

    • the drafting of a technical report that must include the main topics illustrated during the labs
    • oral examination about the main concepts discussed during the lesson and the technical report

    The assessment will be based on the capability of the student to discuss and present a case study, raising problems and highlighting likely solutions.


  • Location : Padua
  • ECTS granting : University of Padua
  • Organisation : University of Padua



Paolo Tarolli