Wine growers in Italy are facing tougher planning rules and regulations when it comes to clearing land to make way for profitable wine crops.

It has long been recognised that soil erosion, overland flow and sedimentation can all be enhanced through altering the vegetative cover and land use of a catchment. Often localised small-scale changes to the hydrological system can combine over time and result in significant problems later down the line. Understanding water budgets and the dynamic relationships between land use and the water cycle are key to assessing the behaviour of catchments.

This article outlines key issues faced by wine growers in the Tuscany Region and the Regional Government following  devastating floods that have been blamed, by some, on land use. It raises the challenges faced when attempting to strike a balance and the importance of careful planning and holistic catchment management to ensure the benefits of a shared land use are realised by humans and the environment.