In October 2023, the WaterLANDS team gathered in the Wetlands International Headquarters in Ede, the Netherlands, to discuss the integration of the diverse disciplines represented across the project’s Work Packages. The workshop aimed to identify and foresee connections across activities and project outputs to find synergies as the project continues into its third year.
A core goal of WaterLANDS is to find new approaches to facilitate the upscaling of wetland restoration across Europe and beyond.
The aim is to achieve more than just environmental benefits through the restoration of degraded wetland sites. By focusing on the social, financial and governance aspects of restoration, WaterLANDS is also bringing social and economic benefits for the people who rely on the wetlands for food, livelihoods, recreation and wellbeing.
WaterLANDS brings together a range of experts from policy, ecology, stakeholder engagement, art, and finance to explore a multi-faceted integrated approach to wetland restoration.
These different disciplines often exist in silos, with conflicting priorities. The Integration Workshop brought Work Package leads together to think outside the box and get creative as they looked for new ways to connect and collaborate using a co-creative approach.
A clear narrative emerging across the two days was that for successful wetland restoration, answers will not be found only in ecology, or in governance, finance, or community engagement. All disciplines are important, but for truly holistic restoration, one will not succeed without the others.
Going forward, the different Work Packages must strive to work even more closely together to introduce an integrated approach to restoration that encompasses ecology, governance, finance, and engagement, thereby creating a system and a legacy for large-scale wetland restoration in Europe and beyond.