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Mediterranean coastal wetlands: dynamics and management issues

Dynamiques des zones humides littorales et enjeux de gestion en Méditerranée

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Published on Thursday, June 05, 2014 by João Fernandes


S’inscrivant dans la continuité du numéro dédié en 2010 aux « Rivages méditerranéens » ce prochain numéro de la revue Méditerranée interrogera la diversité des relations actuelles existantes entre les sociétés méditerranéennes et les différents milieux humides qui occupent un grand nombre d’espaces littoraux. Les communications jouant sur des échelles différentes pourront être théoriques et générales ou prendre la forme d’études de cas. Si les travaux concernant la France, l’Italie, l’Espagne ou le Portugal seront bien évidement considérés, les articles faisant référence à des secteurs des rives Sud et Est de la Méditerranée, ou de la péninsule Balkanique seront particulièrement bienvenus. La dimension cartographique est fortement encouragée.



  Méditerranée is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes research on all aspects of human and physical geography. It focuses on the circum-Mediterranean.

  This special issue is devoted to examining the diversity and the quality of present-day relationships between societies and coastal wetlands through the Mediterranean world.

  Following the past issue dedicated in 2010 to the “Mediterranean coastlines” this reflexion appeared relevant and timely at this time. Indeed, management issues of coastal wetlands are at the crossroads of novel and quick ecological, hydro-climatic and geomorphologic changes related to anthropogenic activities, recent geopolitical mutations together with original international institutional initiatives in terms of sustainable development.

  Among the 20 million hectares of wetlands in the Mediterranean, those present within coastal areas are nowadays experiencing the strongest socio-economic and hydro-climatic constraints and concentrate the major part of the environmental issues (Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory report – Synthesis for decision makers - 2012). With over 135 million people, coastlines are strategic places supporting a large part of the population growth. These ecosystems have a high ecological, economic but also historical and scientific importance. If coastal lagoons are of high economic value and play a significant role in the history of the shores of the Mediterranean, salt marshes are useful for reconstructing paleoenvironments thanks to different indicators necessary to understanding the recent shoreline evolution, together with prospective approaches in a context of sea-level rise.

  Although the main constraint is linked to the expansion of urban areas into peri-urban and rural landscapes, anthropogenic and climatic factors operating on different scales on the dynamic of coastal wetlands are heterogeneous and of various magnitude. Many questions arise about physical and spatial evolution of these ecosystems, on interactions with local societies and management choices.

  These questions are wide-ranging and cover, for example,some oftheimpacts of land use intensification and abandonment, such as uncontrolled industrial or informal sand mining of coastal beaches, to power building and construction industry. The increasing risks of coastal wetlands submersion must also be taken into account. Climate change and sea-level rise contribute to an intensification of the shoreline erosion and retreat, a loss of coastal protection, an increase in the salinity of estuaries or even a subsidence in deltas. Furthermore, risks posed to public health by emerging infectious diseases due to the range expansion of some vectors (e.g mosquitoes) are also a source of concern.

  From an economic point of view, with over a quarter of world tourism hosted by Mediterranean coastal areas each year, interrogations about land use conflicts arise. Questions related to global maritime trade growth play also a significant part, the need to adapt and expand seaport infrastructures and facilities to host both new giant container and cruise ships, whose size is growing, is not without consequences on spatial changes and conservation of local and regional wetlands. 

  In addition to these general aspects, more questions appeared mainly related to consequences (still poorly evaluated) of the recent geopolitical changes on the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean.

  Political changes and present uncertainties after the « Arab Spring » raise many questions about the evolution of planning and development policies as with the exploitation of some coastal areas hitherto untouched by urbanization. Further issues exist about consequences of the current global financial crisis in a country like Greece, on the availability and sustainability of capital for the natural spaces management but also on the landed dynamics with the potential sale of public lands to foreign private investors.

  Lastly, regarding to management and conservation policies, questions can be asked about the real influence of the relations and cooperation development between Mediterranean and Northern European countries (after the relative failure of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) created in 2008), on the transmission of international standards and on the role and efficiency of specific initiatives such as the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol (ICZM)in the Mediterranean, (which entered into force in 2011 in some neighboring countries, under the auspices of the UNEP). First supranational legal tool specifically dedicated to the management of coastal areas, but without taking specifically coastal wetlands into account.

Main themes

  Contributions which will illustrate these questions might concern physical, socio-economic, sanitary or even methodological aspects and will focus, among other things, on the following major topics:

1Impact of land use and anthropogenic activities

- Impact of coastal development and urbanization

- The development of tourism and eco-tourism activities

- Impact of marina and port infrastructure development projects

- Land use change conflicts

2. Consequences of global changes

- Outcomes of climatic changes on geomorphologic evolutions and landscapes

- Health risks due to the range expansion of some vectors (malaria, West Nile virus, etc…)

3. Planning and management initiatives

- Implementation and efficiency of national and international law

- Institutional and associative land management and conservation initiatives

- Technical and institutional management tools (protected areas, legislations, data base, GIS, etc…)

  Although closely related to ecological aspects this issue will not cover neither the ecological functioning of wetlands nor problems regarding biodiversity loss.

  Proposals focusing on different scales could be theoretical and general or case studies. If work from France, Italy, Spain or Portugal will of course be considered, papers referring to regions from southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean basin, or from the Balkan Peninsula will be very welcome. Likewise, the cartographic dimension is much appreciated.

  In the same way, current and prospective approaches will be preferred but diachronic work might also be considered.

Contributors are expected to submit first drafts by September 15 2014.

Accepted languages are English and French.

 We invite contributors to look at the ‘Guide to Authors’: http://mediterranee.revues.org/584

For more information and submission, please contact the scientific committee.

Scientific Committee

- Nicolas MAUGHAN, Aix Marseille Université, France (nicolas.maughan@gmail.com)

- Jean-Marie MIOSSEC, Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier, UMR GRED, France (jean-marie.miossec@univ-montp3.fr)

- Nadjet AROUA, École Polytechnique d'Architecture & d’Urbanisme d’Alger (EPAU), Algérie (arouanajet@yahoo.fr

- Ameur OUESLATI, Université de Tunis, CGMED, Tunisie (oueslatiameur@yahoo.fr)

And/or to visit the website http://mediterranee.revues.org   


  • Monday, September 15, 2014


  • zones humides littorales, Méditerranée, géographie, littoralisation, changements globaux, gestion


  • Nicolas Maughan
    courriel : nicolas [dot] maughan [at] gmail [dot] com

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Nicolas Maughan
    courriel : nicolas [dot] maughan [at] gmail [dot] com

To cite this announcement

« Mediterranean coastal wetlands: dynamics and management issues », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, June 05, 2014, https://calenda.org/288431

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