Towards Adaptation to Climate Change: Water for Rice in the Coastal Wetlands of Doñana, Southern Spain
Abstract Rice production in coastal wetlands provides critical ecosystem services that range from flood control to wildlife habitat. In the Iberian Peninsula rice was introduced in the 10th Century. Today Iberian rice accounts for about one quarter of the total rice production of the European Union, almost exclusively cultivated in the coastal wetlands of Spain, with permanent flooding. The intensive water management required to produce rice stands at a crucial point since freshwater supply is deteriorating at an unprecedented rate. Here we explore flexible adaptation options to climate change in the Doñana wetlands - a world heritage and biodiversity site - from two points of view: What are the policy options for agricultural water management in view of climate change? How can informed stakeholders contribute to better adaptation? The first question is addressed by simulating water availability to farmers with the WAAPA model under a range of adaptation policy options derived from the view of the local communities. The second question was addressed by means of participatory research. Adaptation options are framed according to the local environmental, social and policy context. Results suggest that perception on the potential role of new water infrastructure and farming subsidies dominates the view of local communities. The choices of the stakeholders that could be simulated with the hydrological model, were quantified in terms of additional water availability for the rice farming, therefore providing a quantitative measure to the qualitative solutions. Information provided during the study shaped the final adaptation options developed. Our research contributes to the definition of sustainable rice production in Europe.
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Volume (Year): 31 (2017)
Issue (Month): 2 (January)
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