Wetlands

Applying an ecosystem-based approach to water and land interfaces

CURRENT STATUS

Wetlands are key providers of water and essential services to life. Hotspots of biodiversity, they are also one of the fastest declining ecosystems worldwide. The threats against them continue to mount. An increase in the conversion of natural areas to urban and agricultural areas, infrastructure development, water diversion and pollution of air and water are some of the main factors causing their degradation and loss.

Classification of wetland habitats, information on their location, their ecological character and the services they give people, such as water sources, sources of food, storage of carbon and buffering or mitigating disaster risks, is often sparse and difficult to find or access. Despite some local restoration efforts in the last decades, tangible improvements in their condition and in the re-establishment of their ecological functions are far from being met.  The result is a limited coverage of wetlands in policies and management practices.

OUR ACTIONS

We aim to enhance the knowledge on wetlands by highlighting their hydro-ecological features as a complex ecosystem and so ensure the inclusion of transitional habitats in regional management and monitoring practices. Through the promotion of wetlands as wider ecosystems in long-term mechanisms and governance models, our work aims at ensuring effective conservation and adaptive monitoring and restoration programmes that take into account ecosystemic hydro-ecological connections.

Our achievements and targets are

An improved nomenclature of wetland habitats in regional classification systems building on the Ramsar classification of wetlands.

An enhanced delimitation method of wetland ecosystems in Europe and the Mediterranean region through high resolution satellite imagery.

Clear Indicators to better support effective planning and adaptive management for wetland habitats.

A methodology for area-based mapping of wetlands.

Generating scientific evidence to influence policy and legal frameworks towards the full protection and restoration of wetland ecosystems and its components.

Analysis of carbon pools levels and sequestration potential by wetland habitats, how they can be affected by human use, and measures and actions in Europe to restore the capacity of wetlands to sequester carbon.

Related projects

Resources

Get in touch

Dania Abdul Malak

Wetland policy related inquiries

daniaabdulmalak@uma.es

Dania Abdul Malak is a senior environmental researcher and Director of the European Topic Centre at the University of Malaga (ETC-UMA). She has over 15 years’ experience in environmental assessment and management...

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Marco Trombetti

Data related inquiries

marco.trombetti@uma.es

Marco graduated in Forestry and Environmental Science in Bari (ITA), holds a MSc in Geoinformation Science from Wageningen University (NL) and a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Basilicata (ITA)...

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