EGU24-2446, updated on 08 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Navigating uncertainties: an interdisciplinary approach to land use management in favour of the water cycle 

Itxaso Ruiz1, Ambika Markanday1, Noelia Zafra1, and Marcela Brugnach1,2
Itxaso Ruiz et al.
  • 1BC3 - Basque Centre for Climate Change, Leioa, Spain
  • 2Ikerbasque Foundation - Basque Foundation for Science, Bilbao, Spain

Exacerbated by climate change, water scarcity in the Mediterranean basin poses one of the most significant environmental challenges in the region, compromising adaptation capacities. Current knowledge of how forests contribute to rainwater recycling, i.e. by increasing evapotranspiration and promoting orographic precipitation, has led to the proposal of forest management strategies to mitigate desertification in the western Mediterranean basin. Focusing on a case study in eastern Spain, where formerly arable lands are today covered by dense forests, we reflect on the uncertainties that arise from this relation between land use changes and orographic precipitation at the watershed scale. We aim to transform the encountered uncertainties into actionable opportunities for adapting this territory to ongoing climate change. To support the development of intervention strategies that increase climate resilience, we use an interdisciplinary approach that integrates participatory processes for co-designing sustainable land management measures and a systematic literature review from which we identify the physical and biophysical uncertainties arising from the rainwater recycling hypothesis. In search of practical applications, we are developing a decision support game to test the implementation conditions of the management strategies. This game provides decision-makers with a tool to assess how the proposed measures align with the needs, capabilities, and willingness of local stakeholders, and it also enables reflecting on potential trade-offs. This research contributes to strengthening the water cycle through adaptive land management and, thus, promoting a more resilient western Mediterranean basin.

How to cite: Ruiz, I., Markanday, A., Zafra, N., and Brugnach, M.: Navigating uncertainties: an interdisciplinary approach to land use management in favour of the water cycle , EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-2446,, 2024.