Vulnerable deltas, difficult choices
Deltas are economic and environ-mental hot spots. They are very fertile, strategic sites with rich ecosystems. But deltas are vulnerable to flooding and drought, especially in the face of climate change.
Deltas are similar in lots of ways, but its the differences that are most interesting. Thats where there's the most to be learned.
There are dozens of large deltas in the world and most of them are densely populated. Throughout the centuries, people have made use of the riches available in these wetland areas, with their unique combination of salt and fresh water. They have adapted to nature and fought against it, which is how rice paddies came into being, as did fisheries, dams and dikes, floating dwellings and villages on artificial mounds. It has become clear that we need to know a great deal more about these areas, as climate change is starting to have a major impact on them. In fact, governments are sometimes faced with impossible choices: do we raise the height of the dikes to cope with higher sea levels in future, or would we be better off retreating to higher land? What measures can be taken when planning an area to accommodate climate change, and where is the infrastructure vulnerable? read more »