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

Nigel G. Taylor*, Patrick Grillas, Hazem Al Hreisha, Özge Balkız, Maud Borie, Olivier Boutron, Ana Catita, Jocelyn Champagnon, Semia Cherif, Kerim Çiçek, Luís T. Costa, Mohamed Dakki, Mauro Fois, Thomas Galewski, Alessandro Galli, Nicholas M. Georgiadis, Andy J. Green, Virgilio Hermoso, Rezart Kapedani, Manfred A. LangeZoran Mateljak, Maher Osta, Eva Papastergiadou, Clairie Papazoglou, Sergi Sabater, Boudjéma Samraoui, Farrah Samraoui, Abdelkrim Si Bachir, Eva Tankovic, Mathieu Thévenet, Antonio Troya, William J. Sutherland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)

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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number33
JournalRegional environmental change
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Aquatic ecosystems
  • Europe
  • Foresight
  • Horizon scan
  • Middle East and North Africa
  • Ramsar

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