The 5th International EcoSummit Congress, EcoSummit 2016 – Ecological Sustainability: Engineering Change took place this year in Montpellier (France) from 29 August to 1st September. The Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory (MWO) – Tour du Valat (TdV) participated to this important conference. (See previous article here)
During the session on Monitoring Biodiversity and the Use of Spatial Information, the MWO delivered a talk on “Mapping ecosystem services of Mediterranean wetlands using Earth Observation data: Example of flood regulation service“.
Exploring conditions of wetlands
Despite decades of conservation actions, wetlands have continued to disappear at global scale more rapidly than other ecosystems. The Mediterranean region is no exception. There is an urgent need to increase the knowledge on their status and functions and to provide data and information on services they provide (e.g. food and water supply, water purification, flood control, carbon sequestration), in order to implement strong conservation and restoration measures at national and international levels.
The H2020 SWOS project brings together high-level institutions in wetland monitoring with the aim of developing a monitoring and information service for wetland ecosystems. SWOS will provide the required Earth Observation (EO) data and indicators to explore the conditions of the wetland ecosystems and detect on-going changes. This will permit preparation of conservation and restoration measures that will allow us to maintain the provision of the most relevant ecosystem services and biodiversity.
Within this framework, one case study was assessed in order to test indicators on mapping the flood regulation services provided by Mediterranean wetland ecosystems: the Lez river basin and Etangs Palavasiens in Southern France. The aim was to see how different type of thematic maps could be derived from EO data (e.g. land use/land cover status and trends, surface water dynamics, topography) and contribute to measure the potential flood regulation service provided by wetland habitats. In addition, the case study assessed the impact of wetlands’ physical transformations over time, such as natural wetland habitats loss or conversion into agricultural lands, on the maintenance of their flood regulation service.
Read the H2020 SWOS presentation at Ecosummit
Read more on this article Feedback from a young conservationist on monitoring wetland surface
Anis Guelmami: firstname.lastname@example.org
Impact of climate warming on the wintering waterbird communities of the Mediterranean basin (MWO, TdV)
Mediterranean wetlands are the major wintering areas for a large number of waterbirds of the Western Palaearctic. Birds find there optimal environmental conditions to replenish their body reserves essential for a high fitness. However, climate warming affect the ecosystem functioning of Mediterranean wetlands by a change in edaphic conditions. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential effect of the climate change on wintering waterbird community assemblages. We used the temporal trend in Community Temperature Index (CTI) to explain the shift in community structure of 100 species for a 22-year period (1991-2012) based on data from winter waterbird censuses. We measured the northward shift of communities and the relative impact of winter warming. Our results highlight a strong northward shift of waterbird communities about 300 km in 22 years, but winter warming is only responsible of 2% of this shift. Other factors have to be explored, as wetlands and species protections, land use changes or changes in precipitations. These results may bring major knowledge on the conservation of Mediterranean wintering birds, and notably species currently wintering in sub-Saharan Africa for which the Mediterranean Basin might represent an important wintering area in the future.
On the last day of the EcoSummit Congress, the TdV organised a field trip in the Camargue. During this field trip, the 45 participants had the opportunity to visit the TdV’s estate and to learn more about the management methods (land and water) implemented in the natural reserve, combining biodiversity conservation and sustainable economic activities.
Elie Gaget: email@example.com
Photos (Credit M. Merkohasani)