Special Issue "Wetlands and Their Roles in the Ecohydrological Cycle under Global Climate Change"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Quality and Ecosystems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Georgia Destouni
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Interests: hydrology; water resources; environmental change; climate change; Arctic change
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Zahra Kalantari
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Interests: water-related disasters; hydrology; water resources; sustainable urban and rural development; hydroclimatic change; land use change
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Fernando Jaramillo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Interests: freshwater consumption; hydroclimatic change; water footprinting; wetland flow and connectivity; freshwater system; Budyko framework
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Wetlands are integral parts of the terrestrial ecohydrological cycling and may have significant impacts on water storage and distribution, water quality, ecosystem productivity, and biogeochemical cycling on land. This Special Issue aims at providing new insights and a coherent overview of different perspectives on these various roles of wetlands of the Earth’s landscapes and for sustainable development in a changing world. Examples of article topics of interest for this Special Issue include:

  • Developments of new methods and tools and/or case studies of general significance about wetland functions in in the context of climate change (and corresponding mitigation and adaptation measures).
  • Studies leading to new insights of and perspectives on the interactions on various scales, and particularly large scales, between wetlands, wetland networks and their hydrological catchments, in terms of water fluxes and waterborne spreading and loading of tracers, nutrients and pollutants and the roles in modulating these, e.g., by affecting temporal hydrological variability and retaining nutrients and pollutants.
  • Studies of temporal, historic to future, evolution of wetland conditions and ecosystem services under large-scale, long-term climatic change.
  • Quantifications of ecosystem services provided by natural and managed wetlands and wetland networks across various catchment scales, up to continental and global perspectives.

Prof. Georgia Destouni
Dr. Zahra Kalantari
Dr. Fernando Jaramillo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • wetlands
  • hydroclimatic change
  • wetland connectivity
  • nature-based solutions
  • wetlands functions
  • hydrologic variability
  • critical thresholds
  • wetland water fluxes

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Wetland Biomass and Productivity in Coastal Louisiana: Base Line Data (1976–2015) and Knowledge Gaps for the Development of Spatially Explicit Models for Ecosystem Restoration and Rehabilitation Initiatives
Water 2019, 11(10), 2054; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11102054 - 01 Oct 2019
Abstract
Coastal Louisiana hosts 37% of the coastal wetland area in the conterminous US, including one of the deltaic coastal regions more susceptible to the synergy of human and natural impacts causing wetland loss. As a result of the construction of flood protection infrastructure, [...] Read more.
Coastal Louisiana hosts 37% of the coastal wetland area in the conterminous US, including one of the deltaic coastal regions more susceptible to the synergy of human and natural impacts causing wetland loss. As a result of the construction of flood protection infrastructure, dredging of channels across wetlands for oil/gas exploration and maritime transport activities, coastal Louisiana has lost approximately 4900 km2 of wetland area since the early 1930s. Despite the economic relevance of both wetland biomass and net primary productivity (NPP) as ecosystem services, there is a lack of vegetation simulation models to forecast the trends of those functional attributes at the landscape level as hydrological restoration projects are implemented. Here, we review the availability of peer-reviewed biomass and NPP wetland data (below and aboveground) published during the period 1976–2015 for use in the development, calibration and validation of high spatial resolution (<200 m × 200 m) vegetation process-based ecological models. We discuss and list the knowledge gaps for those species that represent vegetation community associations of ecological importance, including the long-term research issues associated to limited number of paired belowground biomass and productivity studies across hydrological basins currently undergoing different freshwater diversions management regimes and hydrological restoration priorities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Floodplain Dynamics in the Atrato River Colombia Using SAR Interferometry
Water 2019, 11(5), 875; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11050875 - 26 Apr 2019
Abstract
Floodplain water flows have large volumetric flowrates and high complexity in space and time that are difficult to understand using water level gauges. We here analyze the spatial and temporal fluctuations of surface water flows in the floodplain of the Atrato River, Colombia, [...] Read more.
Floodplain water flows have large volumetric flowrates and high complexity in space and time that are difficult to understand using water level gauges. We here analyze the spatial and temporal fluctuations of surface water flows in the floodplain of the Atrato River, Colombia, in order to evaluate their hydrological connectivity. The basin is one of the rainiest areas of the world with wetland ecosystems threatened by the expansion of agriculture and mining activities. We used 16 Differential Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radars (DInSAR) phase observations from the ALOS-PALSAR L-band instrument acquired between 2008–2010 to characterize the flow of surface water. We were able to observe water level change in vegetated wetland areas and identify flooding patterns. In the lower basin, flow patterns are conditioned by fluctuations in the levels of the main river channel, whereas in the middle basin, topography and superficial channels strongly influence the flow and connectivity. We found that the variations in water level in a station on the main channel 87 km upstream explained more than 56% of the variations in water level in the floodplain. This result shows that, despite current expansion of agriculture and mining activities, there remain significant hydrological connectivity between wetlands and the Atrato River. This study demonstrates the use of DInSAR for a spatially comprehensive monitoring of the Atrato River basin hydrology. For the first time, we identified the spatiotemporal patterns of surface water flow of the region. We recommend these observations serve as a baseline to monitor the potential impact of ongoing human activities on surface water flows across the Atrato River basin. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Water Quality Across Irrigation Schemes: A Case Study of Wetland Agriculture Impacts in Kilombero Valley, Tanzania
Water 2019, 11(4), 671; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040671 - 31 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Coupled change in land and water use due to increased farming intensity is a main factor affecting water quality and quantity, ecological functions and biodiversity globally. Prolonging growing seasons and increasing productivity in wetlands through irrigation have been targeted for increasing food security, [...] Read more.
Coupled change in land and water use due to increased farming intensity is a main factor affecting water quality and quantity, ecological functions and biodiversity globally. Prolonging growing seasons and increasing productivity in wetlands through irrigation have been targeted for increasing food security, particularly in developing countries. Nevertheless, irrigation and drainage have often been associated with degradation of water quality through increased agrochemical and fertiliser runoff and leaching at local scales. In this study, we investigated water quality in streams used for irrigation in a wetland area in Kilombero Valley, Tanzania. We measured physical-chemical water parameters and collected macroinvertebrates with different sensitivity to water quality across several small irrigation schemes covering various conditions. Turbidity, temperature, nitrate-N, and ammonium-N were significantly higher at sampling sites downstream of irrigation compared to upstream. Macroinvertebrate diversity, richness and average score per taxa (ASPT) were higher in general in sampling sites upstream of irrigation, with more sensitive macroinvertebrates decreasing in abundance downstream. There was a positive correlation between physical-chemical parameters and macroinvertebrate indices across the sites. We demonstrate that macroinvertebrate indices can be used as a quick assessment of water quality in response to irrigation schemes in small-scale farming systems of Tanzania. This in turn can allow us to track changes affecting wetland ecosystem function and biodiversity at higher trophic levels and across larger scales, thereby providing useful early warnings to help avoid widespread degradation under widespread agricultural intensification. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Priorities and Interactions of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with Focus on Wetlands
Water 2019, 11(3), 619; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030619 - 25 Mar 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Wetlands are often vital physical and social components of a country’s natural capital, as well as providers of ecosystem services to local and national communities. We performed a network analysis to prioritize Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets for sustainable development in iconic wetlands [...] Read more.
Wetlands are often vital physical and social components of a country’s natural capital, as well as providers of ecosystem services to local and national communities. We performed a network analysis to prioritize Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets for sustainable development in iconic wetlands and wetlandscapes around the world. The analysis was based on the information and perceptions on 45 wetlandscapes worldwide by 49 wetland researchers of the Global Wetland Ecohydrological Network (GWEN). We identified three 2030 Agenda targets of high priority across the wetlandscapes needed to achieve sustainable development: Target 6.3—“Improve water quality”; 2.4—“Sustainable food production”; and 12.2—“Sustainable management of resources”. Moreover, we found specific feedback mechanisms and synergies between SDG targets in the context of wetlands. The most consistent reinforcing interactions were the influence of Target 12.2 on 8.4—“Efficient resource consumption”; and that of Target 6.3 on 12.2. The wetlandscapes could be differentiated in four bundles of distinctive priority SDG-targets: “Basic human needs”, “Sustainable tourism”, “Environmental impact in urban wetlands”, and “Improving and conserving environment”. In general, we find that the SDG groups, targets, and interactions stress that maintaining good water quality and a “wise use” of wetlandscapes are vital to attaining sustainable development within these sensitive ecosystems. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Potential of Wetlands in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda
Water 2019, 11(3), 609; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030609 - 24 Mar 2019
Abstract
Wetlands used as cost-effective nature-based solutions provide environmental and socio-economic benefits to people locally and regionally. With significant loss of wetland areas due to expansion of forest, agriculture, and energy production industries, some countries, including Sweden, have begun providing economic support for environmental [...] Read more.
Wetlands used as cost-effective nature-based solutions provide environmental and socio-economic benefits to people locally and regionally. With significant loss of wetland areas due to expansion of forest, agriculture, and energy production industries, some countries, including Sweden, have begun providing economic support for environmental objectives for wetland conservation and restoration. Targeting such objectives and setting up relevant plans can decrease the risk of losing valuable wetland-related benefits and help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Different ranges of wetland ecosystem services are broadly addressed by the SDGs, however, target-based assessments are required to better understand wetland functionality for sustainable development. This study investigates whether and how wetland ecosystems at local and regional scales can contribute to achieving the SDGs and their targets in Sweden. Scientific literature, policy documents, and international reports on Swedish wetland ecosystems are scrutinized to exemplify the SDGs and their targets, applying a scoring framework based on their interactions. This reveals that, overall, Swedish wetland ecosystems and implemented management plans can positively interact with 10 SDGs and 17 targets at different levels. The analysis also highlights synergies that need to be considered for integrated environmental governance and enhanced policy coherence for Swedish wetland management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Permafrost Thaw with Thermokarst Wetland-Lake and Societal-Health Risks: Dependence on Local Soil Conditions under Large-Scale Warming
Water 2019, 11(3), 574; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030574 - 20 Mar 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
A key question for the evolution of thermokarst wetlands and lakes in Arctic and sub-Arctic permafrost regions is how large-scale warming interacts with local landscape conditions in driving permafrost thaw and its spatial variability. To answer this question, which also relates to risks [...] Read more.
A key question for the evolution of thermokarst wetlands and lakes in Arctic and sub-Arctic permafrost regions is how large-scale warming interacts with local landscape conditions in driving permafrost thaw and its spatial variability. To answer this question, which also relates to risks for ecology, society, and health, we perform systematic model simulations of various soil-permafrost cases combined with different surface-warming trends. Results show that both the prevalence and the thaw of permafrost depended strongly on local soil conditions and varied greatly with these for the same temperature conditions at the surface. Greater ice contents and depth extents, but also greater subsurface volumes thawing at depth under warming, are found for peat soils than other studied soil/rock formations. As such, more thaw-driven regime shifts in wetland/lake ecosystems, and associated releases of previously frozen carbon and pathogens, may be expected under the same surface warming for peatlands than other soil conditions. Such risks may also increase in fast permafrost thaw in mineral soils, with only small thaw-protection effects indicated in the present simulations for possible desertification enhancement of mineral soil covers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Dominant Hydro-Climatic Drivers of Water Temperature, Salinity, and Flow Variability for the Large-Scale System of the Baltic Coastal Wetlands
Water 2019, 11(3), 552; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030552 - 17 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
For the large-scale coastal wetland system of the Baltic Sea, this study develops a methodology for investigating if and to what degree the variability and changes in certain hydro-climatic drivers control key coastal–marine physical conditions. The studied physical conditions include: (a) water temperature, [...] Read more.
For the large-scale coastal wetland system of the Baltic Sea, this study develops a methodology for investigating if and to what degree the variability and changes in certain hydro-climatic drivers control key coastal–marine physical conditions. The studied physical conditions include: (a) water temperature, (b) water salinity, and (c) flow structures (magnitudes and directions of flows between marine basins and the associated coastal zones and wetlands). We use numerical simulations of three hydro-climatically distinct cases to investigate the variations in hydro-climatic drivers and the resulting physical conditions (a–c) among the cases. The studied hydro-climatic forcing variables are: net surface heat flux, wind conditions, saltwater influx from the North Sea, and freshwater runoff from land. For these variables, the available observation-based data show that the total runoff from land is significantly and positively correlated with precipitation on the sea itself, and negatively correlated with saltwater influx from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea. Overall, the physical condition (a–c) variability in the Baltic Sea and its coastal zones is found to be pairwise well-explained by simulation case differences as follows: (a) Net heat flux is a main control of sea water temperature. (b) Runoff from land, along with the correlated salt water influx from the North Sea, controls average sea salinity; with the variability of local river discharges shifting some coastal zones to deviate from the average sea condition. (c) Wind variability and change control the Baltic Sea flow structure, primarily in terms of flow magnitude and less so in terms of flow direction. For specific coastal wetland zones, considerable salinity differences from average Baltic Sea conditions (due to variability in local river discharges) are found for the coasts of Finland and Estonia, while the coastal wetland zones of south-eastern Sweden, and of Estonia and Latvia, emerge as particularly sensitive to wind shifts. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Anthropogenic Changes in a Mediterranean Coastal Wetland during the Last Century—The Case of Gialova Lagoon, Messinia, Greece
Water 2019, 11(2), 350; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020350 - 19 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Human interventions during the last 70 years have altered the characteristics of the Gialova Lagoon, a coastal wetland that is part of a wider Natura 2000 site. In this study, we explore how human interventions and climate altered the wetland’s hydrological conditions and [...] Read more.
Human interventions during the last 70 years have altered the characteristics of the Gialova Lagoon, a coastal wetland that is part of a wider Natura 2000 site. In this study, we explore how human interventions and climate altered the wetland’s hydrological conditions and habitats, leading to changing wetland functions over time. Our interpretations are based on a mixed methodological approach combining conceptual hydrologic models, analysis of aerial photographs, local knowledge, field observations, and GIS (Geographic Information System) analyses. The results show that the combined effects of human interventions and climate have led to increased salinity in the wetland over time. As a result, the fresh and brackish water marshes have gradually been turned into open water or replaced by halophytic vegetation with profound ecological implications. Furthermore, current human activities inside the Natura 2000 area and in the surrounding areas could further impact on the water quantity and quality in the wetland, and on its sensitive ecosystems. We suggest that a more holistic understanding of the broader socio-ecological system is needed to understand the dynamics of the wetland and to achieve sustainable long-term management and conservation strategies. Full article
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Other

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Open AccessPerspective
Change Drivers and Impacts in Arctic Wetland Landscapes—Literature Review and Gap Analysis
Water 2019, 11(4), 722; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040722 - 06 Apr 2019
Abstract
Wetlands are essential parts of Arctic landscapes, playing important roles for the sustainable development of the region, and linking to climate change and adaptation, ecosystem services, and the livelihood of local people. The effects of human and natural change drivers on key landscape [...] Read more.
Wetlands are essential parts of Arctic landscapes, playing important roles for the sustainable development of the region, and linking to climate change and adaptation, ecosystem services, and the livelihood of local people. The effects of human and natural change drivers on key landscape characteristics of Arctic wetlands may be critical for ecosystem resilience, with some functional aspects still poorly understood. This paper reviews the scientific literature on change drivers for Arctic wetland landscapes, seeking to identify the main studied interactions among different drivers and landscape characteristics and their changes, as well as emerging research gaps in this context. In a total of 2232 studies of various aspects of Arctic wetland landscapes found in the literature, natural drivers and climate change have been the most studied change drivers so far, particularly regarding their impacts on carbon cycling, plant communities and biodiversity. In contrast, management plans, land use changes, and nutrient-pollutant loading, have not been investigated as much as human drivers of Arctic wetland change. This lack of study highlights essential gaps in wetland related research, and between such research and management of Arctic wetlands. Full article
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