Our programme

Wetlands are of vital importance in the Mediterranean region, both for biodiversity and for human societies. Their ecological, geographical and historical specificities give way to an exceptional biodiversity and a production widely exploited by Man. Their functioning contributes to many services, particularly their contribution to a sound management of water resources, both qualitative and quantitative.

However, wetlands are still too often considered to be areas that must be “cleaned up” and “developed/promoted”, on the basis of the old, but die-hard notion that they are a “health hazard” and of no value. In much of the Mediterranean Basin, they are first of all considered to be competitors for water, which is becoming rarer and rarer and more and more highly coveted, in particular in the coastal region.

The increasing anthropogenic pressures have an important impact on them, in particular due to:

  • a loss in their surface area, particularly in the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean region 
  • lost or deteriorated functions, throughout the region 
  • fragmented habitats isolating biodiversity in smaller and smaller bands within a network of infrastructures and urbanisation, particularly in the coastal strip 
To answer these issues, the Tour du Valat has set the following four objectives, which will be pursued in our programme over the next five years :
1. To improve and share our knowledge of Mediterranean wetlands, their assets, functions and services, and their responses to uses and global changes
2. To test and develop modes of adaptive management that enable the functions and assets of Mediterranean wetlands to be better conserved, made use of, and managed in a changing environment
3. To develop the capabilities of decision makers, managers, and users of Mediterranean wetlands to further their sustainable management
4. To help with the development of teams (especially in the south) and to improve the capacity of scientific teams, and more generally society as a whole, to address the issues that are affecting Mediterranean wetlands.

The programme 2011-2015 is comprised of three complementary projects: