Mediterranean Wetlands: A Gradient from Natural Resilience to a Fragile Social-Ecosystem

  • Ilse R. GeijzendorfferEmail author
  • Thomas Galewski
  • Anis Guelmami
  • Christian Perennou
  • Nadege Popoff
  • Patrick Grillas


Wetlands in countries around the Mediterranean Sea have provided ecosystem services to its population for more than 6000 years (Nile, Mesopotamian civilizations). Rising population numbers, consumption patterns that increase demands on resources, and reduced water renewal rates have been putting existing social-ecological interactions under considerable stress. This renders both ecosystems and people more vulnerable to naturally existing hazards, because it increases the likelihood that a hazard will occur and increases the potential damage that may be caused. The general trends of declining biodiversity and reducing water availability, as well as an increase in demand for ecosystem services, make Mediterranean wetlands and the people that depend on them less resilient and increasingly exposed and vulnerable to physical and economical hazards that naturally occur in the Mediterranean basin. This fragility is likely to only further increase as these trends have yet to be countered and the frequency and intensity of hazards are likely to increase under the influence of climate change and other anthropogenic pressures. Conservation and sustainable use of Mediterranean wetlands are therefore a serious challenge, but of increasing urgency if we are sincerely concerned about human well-being in the Mediterranean basin.


Anthropogenic pressure Biodiversity Ecological functions Ecosystem services Freshwater Land cover change Urbanisation Vulnerability Water quality 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilse R. Geijzendorffer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thomas Galewski
    • 1
  • Anis Guelmami
    • 1
  • Christian Perennou
    • 1
  • Nadege Popoff
    • 1
  • Patrick Grillas
    • 1
  1. 1.Tour du Valat, Research Institute for the Conservation of Mediterranean WetlandsArlesFrance

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