Pilot Study 4

Effects of climate change on the wetland ecosystems of Attica region, Greece

Overall aim

Wetlands, as regulators of water regimes, can play a role in climate change mitigation in South Eastern Europe. However, since droughts and changes in water regimes are expected to have a significant impact on wetlands, the aim of this pilot study was to support territorial planning and policy making related to wetland ecosystems. 

Study area

The pilot study was carried out in the Attica region of Greece, with a focus on 13 wetlands, including lakes, coastal marshes and lagoons, and streams.

Tasks

The pilot study followed the IPCC-AR4 approach (2007) to assessing wetland vulnerability. These indicators combine climate change impacts, expressed in terms of drought exposure, with wetland sensitivity, expressed by function (water storage, food web support, nutrient removal, the trapping of sediments and toxins, flood attenuation and shoreline stabilisation), values (protection against floods and erosion, improvement of water quality, and recreational, cultural, educational, scientific, biological and economic activities) and anthropogenic threats. Threats were calculated as changes to a wetland area and to land cover in its vicinity, monitored over a period of 30 years through remote sensing data. In parallel, adaptive capacity was assessed through a questionnaire, focus group meetings and interviews with key stakeholders. Specific issues addressed include infrastructure capacity (data, software and hardware), operational capacity (methods, procedures, knowledge and skills) and social awareness. The wetland vulnerability indicator was assessed as a function of exposure to drought, wetland sensitivity (wetland values and functions coupled with anthropogenic threats) and the capacity of key stakeholders to respond and formulate adaptation measures.

Output

The policy formation procedure included an evaluation study regarding the operational programmes and business plans of the municipalities involved, Attica region, ministries etc. Conclusions regarding the current status of territorial planning in Attica, adaptive capacity and operational ability in relation to climate change and wetlands provided a crucial input to the pilot study. 

The pilot study provided an appropriate knowledge base for assessing the vulnerability of Attica's wetlands to climate change. Recommendations based on the assessment were addressed to the competent services, the scientific community and the public at large. This has contributed to improving understanding of the vulnerability of wetlands and the relevant consequences in order to support decision making in relation to adaptation policies and measures. A wetland strategy for Attica region was also prepared.

Attica region aims to launch the strategy and action plan for public consultation for the territorial planning period 2015 to 2020. At the same time, it will explore the possibilities for sources of funding. The region also has the goal of founding a policy network that will lead to a memorandum of understanding on climate change and the wetlands of Attica.

 

Pilot Study 4 Report: Wetland adaptation in Attica Region, Greece

Pilot Study 4 Technical Report: Drought Vulnerability Index in Attica Region, Greece

Pilot Study 4 Output: Land Use and Land Cover Changes in Attica Wetlands, Greece