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New article – The future for Mediterranean wetlands: 50 key issues and 50 important conservation research questions

This article has been published in the Regional Environmental Change journal. It is the result of a collaborative work that identified key issues for Mediterranean wetlands over the next 30 years, and important research questions for their conservation.

You can access to it on the Tour du Valat web documentary portal [1].

Fishing, one of the services provided by wetlands, Gediz Delta, Turkey © Hellio & Van Ingen

Abstract : Wetlands are critically important for biodiversity and human wellbeing, but face a range of challenges. This is especially true in the Mediterranean region, where wetlands support endemic and threatened species and remain integral to human societies, but have been severely degraded in recent decades. Here, in order to raise awareness of future challenges and opportunities for Mediterranean wetlands, and to inform proactive research and management, we identified (a) 50 key issues that might affect Mediterranean wetlands between 2020 and 2050, and (b) 50 important research questions that, if answered, would have the greatest impact on the conservation of Mediterranean wetlands between 2020 and 2050. We gathered ideas  through an online survey and review of recent literature. A diverse assessment panel prioritised ideas through an iterative, anonymised, Delphi-like process of scoring, voting and discussion. The prioritised issues included some that are already well known but likely to have a large impact on Mediterranean wetlands in the next 30 years (e.g. the accumulation of dams and reservoirs, plastic pollution and weak governance), and some that are currently overlooked in the context of Mediterranean wetlands (e.g. increasing desalination capacity and development of antimicrobial resistance). Questions largely focused on how best to carry out conservation interventions, or understanding the impacts of threats to inform conservation decision-making. This analysis will support research, policy and practice related to environmental conservation and sustainable development in the Mediterranean, and provides a model for similar analyses elsewhere in the world.

Bibliographical reference: Taylor, N.G., Grillas, P., Al Hreisha, H. et al. The future for Mediterranean wetlands: 50 key issues and 50 important conservation research questions. Reg Environ Change21, 33 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-020-01743-1 [2]