Why care about wetlands?
Wetlands are key biodiversity hotspots that provide numerous ecosystem services such as water purification, flood control and climate change mitigation due to their capacity of sequestering carbon and modulating the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Despite their ecological and economic importance, wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate, and are among Europe’s most endangered ecosystems, with less than 20% remaining in good ecological condition.
WET HORIZONS will provide the critical flying start for the challenge of enhancing wetland restoration using a holistic approach. It will boost crucial wetland knowledge and develop sound tools and approaches for fast-tracking large scale restoration action.
The project will improve the current data available from pristine, drained, and rewetted peatlands, floodplains, and coastal wetlands, model the effects of typical restoration measures under variable conditions, and analyse the potential socioeconomic impacts, finally delivering guidelines and best management practices.
Citizen science and digital tools
WET HORIZONS will involve citizen science for data collection and will develop digital tools for upscaling wetland restoration including an app for the visualization of wetland status and a decision support system for policy makers.
This will enable to choose best pathways in wetland restoration minimizing trade-offs, including hotspot priority lists where the ecological and biodiversity benefits are greatest with minimum investment. The results will be available in open access repositories to maximize their use and outreach.
There will be a constant dialogue with policymakers and stakeholders before, during and after the project, to ground truth the findings and ensure that the tools support country-specific decision-making processes. The results of the project will be used to promote feasible and more ambitious legislation towards protecting and restoring European wetlands to increase benefits for climate and biodiversity.