Life begins in wetlands.
Nature-based Solutions use the tools that nature already provides to spur long-term economic, social and environmental benefits.
The IUCN defines Nature-based Solutions as: “actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural and modified ecosystems in ways that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing both human well-being and biodiversity benefits.”
In the Mediterranean, the need for Nature-based Solutions is critical, and our coastal wetlands offer huge potential in this respect. When healthy, they offer society the following vital services, which we’re working to scale up and expand across the basin.
Water provision and purification
Wetland ecosystems naturally store and purify our drinking water. In a water-stressed Mediterranean, this role is growing in importance by the day.
Protection from the sea
As climate change increases sea levels across the Mediterranean, coastal wetlands buffer the land from waves and wind, the first line of defence against encroaching salt waters.
Coastal fisheries and sustainable agriculture rely on healthy coastal wetland ecosystems, providing important low-carbon sources of nutrition for our growing population.
Coastal wetlands are among the most productive habitats on Earth, housing rich biodiversity from critical fish populations to countless migratory bird species.
Coastal wetlands disperse and absorb excess water, preventing soil erosion and property damage from the increasing extreme weather events that are hitting our region. They also maintain water supplies in times of drought.
The climate crisis is hitting the Mediterranean 20% harder than the rest of the world, but our coastal wetlands are among the most effective carbon sinks on Earth. They have a vital role to play in mitigating future temperature rises.
TESSA – Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-Based Assessment
In order to understand and quantify the real value of nature-based solutions at particular locations, detailed site-specific information is needed. That’s where Wetland-based Solutions’ TESSA – the Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-Based Assessment – comes in. TESSA provides practical guidance on low-cost methods for evaluating the benefits people receive from nature, identifying, measuring and putting a meaningful value on ecosystem services in assessed locations. This helps practitioners make better planning decisions which take the importance of natural systems fully into account.
The toolkit includes methods ranging from household surveys and participatory mapping to quantitative biophysical assessment.
Wetland ecosystem services that can be assessed with the toolkit include:
- Nature-based recreation and tourism
- Cultivated goods (farming and fishing)
- Harvested wild goods (lagoon fishery)
- Water quality
- Flood protection
- Cultural services (aesthetic and spiritual)
- Climate regulation (coming in phase 2)