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Managing Wetlands

An Ecological Economics Approach

Edited by R. Kerry Turner, Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh and Roy Brouwer

The extensive destruction of wetlands across Europe represents a significant loss of biodiversity along with its related economic, cultural, ethical and scientific benefits. This volume addresses the critical issues surrounding this environmental change process, employing a range of analytical methods drawn from a variety of disciplines which bridge the social and natural science divide.
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Chapter 8: Ecological and Socio-Economic Evaluation of Wetland Conservation Scenarios

M.S. Skourtos, A.Y. Troumbis, A. Kontogianni, I.H. Langford, I.J. Bateman and S. Georgiou


1 M.S. Skourtos, A.Y. Troumbis, A. Kontogianni, I.H. Langford, I.J. Bateman and S. Georgiou 1 INTRODUCTION In recent times, Mediterranean wetlands have been destroyed and degraded to a great extent. Their loss and/or degradation in the 20th century amounts to 73 per cent of marshes in Greece, 86 per cent of the most important wetlands in France, 60 per cent of wetlands in Spain and 15 per cent of lakes and marshes in Tunisia (MEDWET, 1996). The reasons for this have been the prevention of water-borne diseases, the development of agricultural land and the expansion of cities. Fundamental changes have occurred in our understanding of the functions and values of wetlands, and these have prompted many recent international efforts to protect and sustainably use the Mediterranean wetlands. Today, nearly 100 Mediterranean wetland sites have been listed as being of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. Since 1991, these efforts have been coordinated through MEDWET, a partnership between the European Commission, the Ramsar Bureau, the governments of France, Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and several non-governmental organizations. MEDWET is an initiative for concerted action, joint fund raising and mutual co-operation in wetland conservation policy. It adopts the ‘wise use’ imperative of the European Union, but also takes explicitly into account a number of factors considered to affect specifically the management of Mediterranean wetlands, namely: • poverty and economic inequality • pressure from population growth, immigration and mass tourism • social and cultural conflicts The Venice Declaration, detailing MEDWET’s strategy for the period 1996–2006, states...

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