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Stormy Weather

In coming decades the climate crisis will cause a rise in the frequency of catastrophic natural events. For the nearly 180 million people living in the Mediterranean coastal area, from Barcelona to Cairo, this means surviving an increasing number of extreme storms and flooding, and counter-intuitively longer-lasting droughts and less overall rainfall. However, nature’s own coastal ecosystems, if protected and enhanced, offer a cost-effective and resilient way to help us reducing the effects of these increasingly devastating climate crisis consequences.

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Coastal wetlands have provided humanity with a wide range of benefits and life-enhancing qualities since the dawn of time. Indeed, they have been witness and mid-wife to the birth of many a civilisation. In the light of the current climate crisis we face with its biblical proportions, the unheralded benefits of coastal wetlands are more than ever critical as we struggle to adapt. Lagoons and floodplains, among others, are natural sponges. They act as buffers against flooding, absorbing water excess from sea-level rise or from downpours and river floods, enabling the water to spread out safely over wider areas. By doing so, the speed and depth of the encroaching water is reduced to safer levels, limiting its negative impact on ecosystems and human infrastructures. Those very same wetlands act as barriers, helping to shelter and protect us from the ever-increasingly frequent storms and higher tides. They also provide water during times of drought, improving its availability for people and agriculture. At a local scale, wetlands help regulate and reduce temperature by evaporation.

Saltmarshes and sea-grass meadows also constitute important carbon sinks, sequestrating atmospheric carbon in the ground. This is an essential natural process of healthy coastal ecosystems that helps to mitigate the main cause of global warming.

But while flourishing coastal wetlands help us adapt and defend ourselves against these increasingly negative climate effects, they are also among the climate crisis’ first victims. As weather patterns are changing, water supply to coastal wetlands is altered, affecting salinity, supply of nutrients and water quality. This destroys some of the most important benefits they provide. Rising sea-levels will be the last nail in the coffin of wetlands, increasingly devastated by intensive exploitation and urbanisation. Poorly managed coastal settlements will find themselves inexorably at the mercy of storms and flooding.

In future posts we will further explore these topics, and illustrate their real consequences, as well as our efforts to protect and enhance coastal wetlands in sites as diverse as Sardinia’s Gulf of Oristano, Tunisia’s Ghar el Melh and Montenegro’s Ulcinj Salina – and many others. Stay tuned!

Life begins in wetlands.

Coastal wetlands have provided humanity with a wide range of benefits and life-enhancing qualities since the dawn of time. But now they’re disappearing at an alarming rate.

Our stories showcase Mediterranean coastal wetlands, the people who protect them, and the challenges they face.

Natural solutions for a better future

Natural solutions for a better future

Today’s global society faces a range of unprecedented challenges – and here in the Mediterranean, these challenges are urgent and all too visible. What we do to address them in this crucial next decade will affect lives across the region and beyond for generations to come.

read more
Natural solutions for a better future

Natural solutions for a better future

Today’s global society faces a range of unprecedented challenges – and here in the Mediterranean, these challenges are urgent and all too visible. What we do to address them in this crucial next decade will affect lives across the region and beyond for generations to come.

read more

Natural solutions for a better future

Today’s global society faces a range of unprecedented challenges – and here in the Mediterranean, these challenges are urgent and all too visible. What we do to address them in this crucial next decade will affect lives across the region and beyond for generations to come.

read more

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Natural solutions for a better future

Natural solutions for a better future

Today’s global society faces a range of unprecedented challenges – and here in the Mediterranean, these challenges are urgent and all too visible. What we do to address them in this crucial next decade will affect lives across the region and beyond for generations to come. Read More

Why you should care about wetlands

Why you should care about wetlands

Mediterranean Wetlands are vanishing, and we need them in order to survive. Help us #RestoreNature and wetlands today! Read More

2021: it’s now or never for Mediterranean wetlands

2021: it’s now or never for Mediterranean wetlands

The article is also available in FR & AR &  IT & SP In the Mediterranean, we’ve been converting and degrading our wetlands for centuries, and since 1970 we’ve lost half of what remained. Read More

Why is it so important to protect island wetlands?

Why is it so important to protect island wetlands?

Island wetlands provide invaluable services right across the basin. They store and purify the water island communities need to survive, and they produce fish, food, salt, reeds and other economic materials. They cool hot summer air. In terms of biodiversity, island wetlands provide unique habitats for endemic and endangered species, as well as hosting some of the most important sites for birds in the whole of the Mediterranean, both native and migratory. Read More

Earth Day 2020: Wetlands, Earth’s key to Fighting Climate Change

Earth Day 2020: Wetlands, Earth’s key to Fighting Climate Change

Since 1970, Earth Day has created a symbolic opportunity for all of us to remember how important it is to make sure we take care of the planet and its resources. The 2020 edition will focus on climate action. Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable. Read More