In line with the European Green Deal objectives, the research and innovation activities of the project will provide a thorough understanding of the complexity inherent to the management, conservation, and restoration of wetland ecosystems. REWET will analyse and identify the best restoration strategies to maximise carbon storage capacity and reduce GHG emission of wetlands, considering their climate mitigation service.
The project will provide measurable contributions to achieve the following targets:
In order to contribute more effectively to the EU reference framework on wetlands and generate higher impacts across Europe, the study cases have been selected to cover a range of local conditions and geographic characteristics based on the following criteria: (1) climatic and geographic conditions; (2) type of wetland; (3) vulnerability to natural disasters; (4) social, cultural contexts, vulnerability and (5) governance structures.
Furthermore, their excellence in terms of implemented restoration activities or envisaged restoration activities has been considered through the following sub-criteria: (1) the degree of restoration and conservation they currently have, (2) the know-how and expertise they offer in terms of wetlands restoration and monitoring of GHG, biodiversity and ecosystem services and (3) innovation, upscaling and mainstreaming potential.
In REWET, social aspects are extremely important: social barriers can affect the replication of the results. Climate change affects differently on gender, age, location, and economic status and the project wants to explore this effect to determine the positive impact of REWET with the potential climate mitigation provided by the Open Labs and the replication plan.
Therefore, REWET includes the gender dimension in all steps of the project and along three main dimensions:
Objective #1: To successfully design, implement and monitor the 7 REWET’s Open Labs.
REWET aims to provide the evidence base for the restoration of natural wetlands, by designing, implementing and monitoring the 7 REWET’s Open Labs. By doing so, REWET will deliver effective and fit-for-purpose restoration, management and monitoring methodologies that are compatible with future climate change trends, maximising the potential of wetlands to act as carbon sinks and benefit from other ecosystem services.
Objective #2: To deliver a "toolbox" to implement successful restoration practices to reach the main objective (Objective 1)
That includes wetland type-specific implementation measures and guidelines and best practices examples from REWET outcomes and related projects, including standards for monitoring and reporting, and pursuing links with required national reports.
Objective 3: To create an inventory of European wetlands.
The inventory of European freshwater wetlands, floodplains, and peatlands with their current carbon footprint, will also include their current restoration status, extension, data collected (GHG retention/emissions, fauna and flora, type of use), by integrating the information available on EU and international databases and projects and the consortium network.
Objective 4: To generate an estimate of the EU wetlands carbon footprint.
Wetlands’ carbon footprint estimate will be based on different scenarios through modelling, including their current restoration status, extension and data collected (GHG retention/emissions, fauna and flora, type of use).
Objective 5: To deliver a fit-for-purpose decision support system (DSS) tool for wetlands.
The Decision Support System tool will assist complex decision-making based on prediction models on different climatic scenarios and land-use types to outline wetland emissions/uptake in Europe in relation to envisaged decisions. The Decision Support System will include the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, economic and social.
Objective 6: To provide policy recommendations of best practices for wetlands restoration.
Through guidelines and workshops, lessons learnt from other projects and REWET outcomes will be compiled, aiming at contributing to major international frameworks, conventions and programmes, substantiating convincing policy options and supporting member states to comply with LULUCF.
Objective 7: To create opportunities for green jobs for all stakeholders.
REWET aims to provide options for sound business and financial models for wetlands restoration, considering land-use change. The evaluation of cost and economic impact on regions through restoration efforts on wetlands - including the Open Lab sites and other sister projects - will provide the evidence to do so.
Objective 8: To deliver a replication plan of REWET restoration and monitoring activities.
Starting by identifying other wetland areas in the Open Lab member states – Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Estonia, Germany, Italy, and Portugal - and expanding to other EU areas, a replication plan will be designed. This will include the “toolbox” for implementation, identification of available funding programs, fit-for-purpose business models, a Decision Support System for wetlands managers and replication guidelines.
Objective 9: To effectively integrate Social Science and Humanities (SSH) and Gender Dimension (GD).
In order to humanise the planned technological developments, the social aspect of the project will also be considered, including the acceptance of restoration activities, exploring gender differences, and testing and fine-tuning campaigns to enhance acceptance among stakeholders.
Objective 10: To properly communicate and disseminate the results of the project and clustering with other initiatives.
The consortium envisages actively participating in conferences, organising workshops for target stakeholders, establishing and maintaining a Decision Support System tool, publishing guidelines and news about the project, as well as disseminating on platforms of interest and websites internationally, nationally and locally the results of the project.