The Great Meltdown 2 - Vaia, a storm to remember

    The Great Meltdown 2 is the sequel to 3Bee's film with which we aimed to document climate change from the perspective of human actions-altering ecosystems and biodiversity. Discover the second episode dedicated to the terrible storm Vaia of 2018.
    The Great Meltdown 2 - Vaia, a storm to remember

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    TGM 2 VAIA

    The Great Meltdown: the climate change film

    The Great Meltdown is the "film" that is before our eyes every day: the real and dangerous effects of climate change, which are affecting everyone. Unlike the first docu-film, which explored environmental disasters caused directly by human actions, this new season focuses on the devastating effects of extreme weather events. The episodes will be 5 and will be released weekly during the month of November 2023.
    - Episode 1: Milan of fire, the islands of heat
    - Episode 2: Vaia, a storm to remember
    - Episode 3: Silent Invasion, Blue Crab and Alien Species
    - Episode 4: Extreme Hail, the New Normal
    - Episode 5: Emilia Underwater - Coming Soon 27/11/2023

    tempesta Vaia danni

    Storm Vaia: the story

    Five years ago, Italy's north-eastern regions, in particular Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia Giulia, were hit by what was to become one of the most devastating cyclones of recent decades: the Storm Vaia. The curious origin of its name goes back to Vaia Jakobs, the manager of a German multinational company, to whom her brother had wanted to give the name of an extreme weather event, without knowing what it would be. But behind this name lies a far more dramatic reality: in just 30 minutes, 15 million trees were razed to the ground by wind gusts of up to 190-200 km/h. A climatic disaster occurred because the forests were made up exclusively of red spruce trees, trees that were once a mainstay of forest ecosystems and which, when faced with a climatic event of this magnitude, proved vulnerable, breaking like toothpicks.

    Piana di Marcesina

    The Marcesina Plain as evidence of Tempest Vaia

    In this context, 3Bee has dedicated the second episode of "The Great Meltdown 2" precisely to the Vaia Storm, recounting the need to rethink ecosystems to make them resilient and the importance of regenerating biodiversity to achieve this. The episodes of the new film will be five in total and will be released weekly during November 2023. For the making of this episode, the 3Bee team visited the places destroyed by Storm Vaia, stopping in the Marcesina Plain, which proved particularly evocative, not so much as the epicentre of the disaster, but as a tangible testimony of its repercussions.

    Marco rifugio Valmaron

    The testimony of Marco, manager of the Valmaron hut

    In addition, the 3Bee team interviewed those who experienced this climate disaster first-hand. Marco, the manager of the refuge Valmaron in Inigo (VI), shared his story: "our forests were completely destroyed by storm Vaia, on the night of 29 October 2018. It had been windy since the afternoon and there were already a few trees falling here and there. At one point a very strong wind came, which lasted about half an hour, and it was traumatic. They started telling me that there were trees falling: I thought one, two, three, five trees. But I never thought that all the forests around here could literally be blown away".

    bostrico

    Beetle control after the Vaia storm

    Another aspect that testifies to the consequences of a non-resilient ecosystem is the epidemic infestation of the bark beetle. The bark beetle is a small beetle that occurs naturally in the spruce forests of the Alpine Arc. It feeds in fact on the bark of spruce trees, growing underneath it and digging intricate tunnels. The presence of large quantities of damaged spruce trees scattered in the forests has allowed the bark beetle populations to change from an endemic to an epidemic presence: the barks of the spruce trees are now devastated by this beetle. This is the biggest bark beetle infestation ever observed in the Southern Alps, and it is leading to further consequences: the insect, digging a dense network of tunnels under the bark of the trees, interrupts the flow of sap and causes them to dry out on their feet.

    Oasis 3Bee for climate resilience

    Extreme events such as storm Vaia will, unfortunately, become more frequent and intense. If today we have seen winds of up to 190/200 km/h, tomorrow we could face storms of 250 km/h, like those already recorded in France. Our forests are in danger and the entire ecosystem could be severely damaged. We can no longer grow monoculture forests, we must create a harmonious landscape, but above all a true biodiversity resilient to climate and weather events that, because of us, are becoming more and more intense and frequent. How? With the Oases of Biodiversity: plots of land ranging from 1 hectare to 10 hectares whose aim is to recreate habitats for pollinating insects, absorb CO2, clean the air and reduce the heat island effect. The aim of 3Bee is to create 10,000 Oases of Biodiversity to develop a resilient ecosystem and defend us from an uncontrollable future. You want to help us regenerate biodiversity?

    By Elena FraccaroNovember 6, 2023
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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do you have any doubts or other curiosities about this article? Here you will find some insights

    When and where did Storm Vaia occur?

    Five years ago, Italy's north-eastern regions, in particular Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia Giulia, were hit by what was to become one of the most devastating cyclones of recent decades: Storm Vaia. The curious origin of its name goes back to Vaia Jakobs, the manager of a German multinational company, to whom her brother had wanted to give the name of an extreme weather event, without knowing what it would be. But behind this name hides a far more dramatic reality: in just 30 minutes, 15 million trees were razed to the ground by wind gusts of up to 190-200 km/h. A climatic disaster occurred because the forests consisted exclusively of spruce trees, trees that were once a mainstay of forest ecosystems and that, faced with a climatic event of this magnitude, proved to be vulnerable, breaking like toothpicks.

    What were the consequences of Storm Vaia?

    One aspect that testifies to the consequences of a non-resilient ecosystem is the epidemic infestation of the bark beetle. The bark beetle is a small beetle that occurs naturally in the spruce forests of the Alps. It feeds on the bark of spruce trees, growing underneath it and digging intricate tunnels. The presence of large quantities of damaged spruce trees scattered in the forests has allowed the bark beetle populations to change from an endemic to an epidemic presence: the barks of spruce trees are now devastated by this beetle. This is the largest bark beetle infestation ever observed in the Southern Alps, and it is leading to further consequences: the insect, digging a dense network of tunnels under the bark of the trees, interrupts the flow of sap and causes them to wither upright.

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