Wetlands and climate change – taking a broad perspective is crucial
On 10-11 December 2014, 17 experts from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden, France, Greece and Spain gathered in Montpellier to discuss wetlands and climate change adaptation and mitigation. During the first day of the workshop the attendees visited two wetlands: the coastal lagoon Petit Grand Travers and the marshes in the Natural Park of the Alpilles, both located in the surroundings of Montpellier. The attendees spent most of the field trips on the seashore and on the top of a mountain, why?
Because utilising wetlands for climate change adaptation and mitigation means taking a broad perspective. Coastal lagoons depend on the health of the sand bar, which depends on the health of the rivers that provide sand to the coast, and rivers come from mountains that could be affected by forest fires, which would change the water and sediment flows in the river. Our wetlands will be affected directly by global climate change through changes in rainfall and in temperature, but the issue is much more complex – something that was discussed by the workshop participants throughout the field trip day and during the discussion sessions the following day.
On the second day, diverse examples were shared from several types of wetlands about how they are facing the challenges of climate change – from big deltas or coastal wetlands in the Mediterranean to rivers and lakes in Sweden, via the Netherlands and its historic love-hate relationship with water.
Interesting synergies were created during the workshop, particularly during the final discussion session. By means of a SWOT analysis the workshop attendees created a comprehensive overview of the current situation for wetlands in relation to climate change threats. This analysis will feed into a set of guidelines on wetlands and climate change adaptation and mitigation, to be published by Eurosite in 2015.