Environment: Here comes the "virtual gardener", designing green spaces

23/5/2019

An innovative and easy-to-use tool for designing green areas with Italian flora species, identifying the most suitable ones with respect to the geographical area and the environmental characteristics. It's called Anthosart Green Tool and it’s the outcome of an homonym project coordinated by ENEA, targeted at reducing the costs of managing green areas and water consumption, as well as discovering possible alternative uses of plants in food and crafts and their links with art, literature, music and territory.

Available free of charge for smartphones and tablets, this "virtual gardener" designed for nursery gardeners, designers, administrators and private citizens, allows to select a set of species present in our Country from the over 1,400 contained in the database to set up green spaces and access an information kit, with the objective of promoting its environmental and cultural value, respecting nature protection.

After entering the data relating to the geographical area, altitude, type of infrastructure (flower bed, rock garden, avenue, etc.), type and colors, level of brightness, humidity and salinity of the soil, we can easily access all the information on the most suitable species, as well as  photographs, botanical files, cultural insights, practical advice and useful links.

In addition to a better performance of green infrastructures and a consequent reduction in management costs, ENEA's innovative tool aims at contributing to safeguarding and enhancing national biodiversity and urban landscapes and reducing the damage caused by the introduction of alien species. Furthermore, the use of the tool and the consequent insertion of spontaneous species in green areas can expand the offerings of quality nursery gardening with the production of Italian flora species not yet present on the market.

According to recent studies[1], the Italian nursery gardening turnover exceeds 2 billion and 500 million euro, with over 27 thousand companies[2], 29 thousand hectares cultivated and 100 thousand workers. The total expenditure for gardening in Italy exceeds 2 billion and 700 million euro with a constant growing trend in the 2017-2022 five-year period. European and world data were also positive, with a turnover exceeding 34 and 86 billion dollars respectively.

The richness of our flora, with over 7 thousand species and their ability to adapt to the different environmental characteristics of the territory, offers great opportunities for greenery design and also meets the need for diversification of the nursery sector", Patrizia Menegoni of the ENEA Division “Protection and Enhancement of the Territory and Natural Capital, said. "Gardens, borders, flowerbeds, roofs and green walls can work as a link between green infrastructures and natural landscapes, bringing nature back to the city and building a more sustainable urban green, also improving the quality of life and well-being of people" she continued.

Created as part of the project Anthosart, conducted by ENEA in collaboration with Forum Plinianum and Società Botanica Italiana and funded by the Ministry of Education, University and Research, the database was presented as part of "My Plant & Garden - International Green Expo”, one of the most important international professional fairs for nursery gardening, garden and landscape in Italy.

 

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[1]Euromonitor International (reference year: 2017)

[2]Data Ministry of agricultural, food, forestry and tourism policies (MiPAAFT)

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