Research

Towards sustainable and resilient delta management strategies

Valuable and vulnerable areas

Deltas are valuable but vulnerable areas. They provide essential services to humans, such as fertile land for food production, biodiversity, drinking and irrigation water and a river network for transportation. Because of all these benefits, over 500 million people live in deltas worldwide.

Human pressures and climate change have severe impacts on deltas, which are of different nature: sea-level rise, land subsidence, ecosystem degradation, increasing flood risk, pollution, loss of biodiversity, conflicting land claims and declining livability.

Integrated approach

To deal with the pressures that threat future delta functioning, we need to understand interactions between physical, biological, chemical and societal processes in deltas. This requires an integrated approach, in which knowledge on natural system functioning is combined with knowledge on spatial planning, land and water governance and legislative frameworks.

In Future Deltas an interdisciplinary team from different research groups works together on these themes. This allows developing integrated sustainable and resilient delta management strategies, which is urgently needed to prevent loss of vital delta services.

Subsidence and associated loss of ecosystem services

We focus on problems in deltas related to subsidence and loss of ecosystem services. These two interrelated themes have major impacts on the livability in deltas, and there is an urgent need to better understand their drivers, impacts and strategies to deal with their impacts. 

Together towards sustainable future deltas