In all parts of the world, wetlands are endangered by human activities and development. Areas with wetlands often provide locations for housing and recreation. Consequently, threats to wetlands rapidly lead to the loss of the valuable services they provide to humans. Wetlands have been studied in many disciplines, both in the natural and the social sciences. Integration between disciplines has been tried, though often without much success. This study approaches the analysis of wetlands' development and policy by using integrated ecosystem modelling that builds upon a combination of insights from hydrology, ecology and economics. It devotes particular attention to the spatial dimension, the development of a set of complementary indicators and the aggregation and evaluation of information.
The first part of the book provides a short introduction to the relevant building blocks of the approach, which include discussions of wetlands, the natural sciences, economics, integrated modelling and evaluation. The second part of the book presents a case study in which the integrated modelling approach is applied to a wetlands area in the centre of the Netherlands: the Vecht area.
The case study was part of an EU project entitled Ecological–Economic Analysis of Wetlands: Functions, Values and Dynamics, sponsored by the EU's Environment and Climate R&D programme (ECOWET, contract no. ENV4-CT96-0273).