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Ecosystem modelling, restoration and management

Mediterranean wetland ecosystems must respond to many pressures, some of which have recently increased under the combined effects of climate change and anthropogenic activity.

These changes are documented in reports and scenarios that are regularly re-assessed; however, their consequences are generally not very well apprehended at the local scale. In Mediterranean wetlands, as is the case for all habitats in which there is high demographic pressure, the economic and social changes occurring affect the ecological and production systems. The fact that many people are being drawn to the Mediterranean coastal zone, the massive land-use changes, and the intensification of farming practices, as well as the changes in the future environmental conditions there, question the capacity of wetlands to remain in the same condition, maintain their biodiversity, and keep providing their functions and services.

The current socio-economic and political context has a propensity to produce short-term responses that are not very compatible with long-term environmental stakes. Putting in place well-adapted management responses requires the development of tools that can translate the current phenomena, anticipate how they will change and their impacts, in order to reorient management practices or undertake dynamic rehabilitation activities. These tools are to a large extent based on prospective modelling, ecological engineering, and management with an adaptive and intersectorial approach in which options are assessed within the framework of a participative methodology that takes account of social and political considerations.

This programme is based on a multidisciplinary approach that makes use of biological, climatic, hydrological, socio-economic, and political data, and is characterised by a multispecies (plant associations, animal communities) and generally multitrophic approach to ecosystems.

Photo: 

Flooding of ricefields
Flooding of ricefields
Grazing at Prespa
Grazing at Prespa

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