Ecosystem services provided by Mediterranean wetlands


Mediterranean wetlands provide ecosystem services that are important for our well-being, but which are threatened by the degradation of the environment. Our research on ecosystem services at the Tour du Valat pursues the following two objectives:

  1. Produce precise knowledge and indicators on trends in ecosystem services throughout the Mediterranean;
  2. Use this knowledge and these indicators to interpret the importance of wetlands and their functions for society, so as to better advocate for their sustainable management.

Actions and methodology

  • Consult local stakeholders, decision-makers at various levels of government, and scientists via surveys, interviews, and workshops;
  • Make systematic reviews of scientific literature and policy documents;
  • Interpret remote sensing data concerning ecosystem services and essential biodiversity variables;
  • Map ecosystem services;
  • Link biodiversity data to ecological functions.


New technologies such as remote sensing, social media, correspondence tables, and participatory mapping provide promising means for quantifying ecosystem services throughout the Mediterranean Basin. To obtain results that are relevant for Mediterranean wetlands, it is often necessary to adapt the existing methods.

Provisioning and mitigation services seem to have declined over the last 30 years in the Mediterranean Basin, whereas cultural services seem to be developing more dynamically. As far as Mediterranean wetlands are concerned, the diversity of the services provided has declined, because natural habitats have been increasingly converted for urban and agricultural uses.

In addition, the artificialisation of watercourses has caused their ecological functions to decline.

As a result, the current and potential capacity of Mediterranean wetlands to provide ecosystem services has declined, while the demand for these same services has increased due to the growing number of people living in and around deltas, as well as their dependence on these services.


Project leader: Ilse Geijzendorffer

Staff involved: Anis Guelmami, Christian Perennou, Patrick Grillas, Laurent Chazée, Thomas Galewski, Sara Fraixedas

Date of projet: since 2008


Technical partners

Financial partners


  • Geijzendorffer, I. R., Cohen-Shacham, E., Cord, A. F., Cramer, W., Guerra, C., & Martín-López, B. (2017). Ecosystem services in global sustainability policies. Environmental Science & Policy, 74, 40-48. (link to the article)
  • Nathalie Pettorelli, Henrike Schulte to Bühne, Ayesha Tulloch, Grégoire Dubois, Cate Macinnis‐Ng, Ana M Queirós, David A Keith, Martin Wegmann, Franziska Schrodt, Marion Stellmes, Ruth Sonnenschein, Gary N Geller, Shovonlal Roy, Ben Somers, Nicholas Murray, Lucie Bland, Ilse Geijzendorffer, Jeremy T Kerr, Stefanie Broszeit, Pedro J Leitão, Clare Duncan, Ghada El Serafy, Kate S He, Julia L Blanchard, Richard Lucas, Paola Mairota, Thomas J Webb, Emily Nicholson (2017) Satellite remote sensing of ecosystem functions: opportunities, challenges and way forward. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation . (link to the article) DOI: 10.1002/rse2.59