, 40:549 | Cite as

Societal Learning Needed to Face the Water Challenge

  • Claudia Pahl-Wostl
  • Christer Nilsson
  • Joyeeta Gupta
  • Klement Tockner

News reports on catastrophic floods and devastating droughts and their implications abound in recent years. Extreme events are becoming more frequent and their impacts increase in magnitude (Solomon et al. 2007) but societies have also become more vulnerable (Fuhrer et al. 2006; Maslin 2008). A proposed major reason for this increase in vulnerability and the associated environmental degradation is that the values of natural capital and associated ecosystem services remain unrecognized. Instead of preserving natural infrastructure to build adaptive capacity and reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts, natural capital is being destroyed (Opperman et al. 2009; Smith and Barchiesi 2009). This implies that the increasing trade-offs between human and environmental needs are not entirely inevitable but depend on how and by whom the benefits derived from nature are conceptualized. Counteracting these undesirable developments is an important governance challenge. Central questions...


Flood Risk Flood Protection Flood Risk Management Flood Management Water Governance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia Pahl-Wostl
    • 1
  • Christer Nilsson
    • 2
  • Joyeeta Gupta
    • 3
    • 4
  • Klement Tockner
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Institute for Environmental Systems ResearchUniversity of OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Environmental ScienceUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Policy Analysis, Institute for Environmental StudiesVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Management and InstitutionsUNESCO-IHE Institute for Water EducationDelftThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland FisheriesBerlinGermany
  6. 6.Institute for BiologyFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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