Wetland ecosystems as a nature-based solution for climate change adaptation and mitigation in Macao

Wetland ecosystems as a nature-based solution for climate change adaptation and mitigation in Macao

Funded by Clean the World foundation and Las Vegas Sands, this project is developed within the framework of the Drop by Drop Project that reinvests capital from water stewardship efforts into innovative projects.

CTW/2021

ABSTRACT

This project focuses on wetland ecosystems as a nature-based solution for climate change adaptation and mitigation in Macao. It aims to investigate the specific roles of the local wetland ecosystems (coastal wetlands/mangroves and/or freshwater wetlands) in Macao for carbon sequestration, reduction of water-related risks (flooding due to impact of storm surge brought by more frequent severe weather events) and shoreline stabilization. Through this, other ecosystems services that wetlands provide such as water and air pollution purification, microclimate (temperature) regulation and maintenance/enhancement of biodiversity in the city are expected to be provided as co-benefits. The scientific aspect of the project will be complemented by community-based activities in order to raise awareness on the importance of wetlands for climate change adaptation and mitigation. These awareness campaigns are expected to translate into action with community participation and active engagement in planting and other relevant activities.

 

Figure 1. Wetlands and their role in climate change mitigation and adaptation

 

Figure 2: Schematic representation of the experiment set-up (not to scale)

 

Wetlands provide a wide range of ecosystems services which benefit society. One of the most significant ecosystems services they provide is climate regulation (The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005), which is an ideal nature-based solution for regulating the possible effects of climate stress that coastal cities like Macao may increasingly face (Figure 1). Similar to many coastal cities worldwide, Macao may also be vulnerable to the impacts of climate change (heat island effects, increased flood risk, frequency/severity of extreme events like super typhoons, etc.). Wetlands can play a key role for Macao’s approach to climate change adaptation and mitigation through capturing and storing carbon, and providing resilience to hazards such as flooding, storm surge and coastal inundation. Since using wetlands is a nature-based solution, it entails conservation or rehabilitation of natural ecosystems and/or enhancement or creation of artificial ecosystems. A more detailed investigation of the local wetlands in terms of their potential role for climate change adaptation and mitigation in Macao is important for building and maintaining climate resiliency.

Objectives:

1) To assess the role of wetlands in climate change mitigation and adaption through carbon sequestration and other related measures

2) To investigate the efficiency of the local mangroves for coastal protection (via wave attenuation) using laboratory-based experiments

3) To promote the importance of wetlands for climate change mitigation and adaptation and mitigation through information campaigns and activities

With the above-mentioned objectives, the project expects to obtain data/quantitative information on how the local wetlands contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation in Macao through carbon capture and storage and coastal protection. These data can be utilized as a baseline knowledge to support strategic planning and action for decision makers in Macao. This will help support future decisions pertaining to the protection, conservation and rehabilitation of local wetlands.

Through the awareness campaign, we expect to translate the scientific part of the project into action, wherein the community will be more involved and proactive in the protection and conservation of the local wetlands.

TEAM

Ágata Dias
(Team member, USJ)

Cristina Calheiros
(Collaborator, CIIMAR)

Hio Wai Lao Marco
(RA, USJ)