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Demonstration and validation of innovative methodology for regional climate change adaptation in the Mediterranean area (LIFE MEDACC)
Start date: Jul 1, 2013, End date: Jun 30, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background Progress in the preparation of climate change adaptation strategies varies across the Mediterranean countries, where work is still needed to properly evaluate and validate the impact of strategy proposals. Methodological gaps remain in terms of preparing holistic strategies and much of the current work on climate change adaption is focused on specific sectors (water, forests, agriculture, health) or on spatial planning (local, regional, national). Better integration is needed to ensure improved coordination of multi-discipline approaches. The Catalan Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation aims to address this challenge. It contains more than 100 different coordinated climate actions but such measures need to be properly tested in order to confirm that the strategy will be effective when mainstreamed. Objectives The LIFE MEDACC project aims to test some of the proposed measures in the Catalan Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation. Pilot actions will de designed, implemented and monitored at different sites in order to help quantify the effects (positive and negative) of applying adaptation measures. These actions will target the following sectors: Domestic and urban water use, where project work will investigate optimal water management processes - in terms of achieving water savings via ways that are efficient from an environmental, energy and social perspective; Agriculture, where the project will demonstrate the effectiveness of measures for reducing water stresses linked to agricultural consumption. This will include work with different crop varieties, irrigation systems and sustainable soil management techniques; Forests, where pilot actions will help to quantify the effects of forest management on the health of forests, water availability and the fire risk. Moreover, the project will assess in detail the climate and land use change impacts and vulnerabilities of selected watersheds, diagnose and evaluate the adaptation measures that have been already applied in those watersheds, and propose a strategy for adapting those watersheds to climate change through the development of an action plan. Project outcomes will be widely disseminated throughout the Mediterranean, and beyond. Expected results: The main anticipated result of the LIFE MEDACC project is the validation, at pilot scale, of an innovative strategy for climate change adaptation, and the improvement of adaptation capacity to climate change in Mediterranean watersheds, with a special focus on three sectors in Catalonia. Key milestones that will help to achieve this overall result include: validation of a methodology, based on indicators, to evaluate the effectiveness of adaptation measures; completing assessments of future climate change impacts and vulnerabilities using two climate change and two land cover scenarios; preparing three action plans with a description, prioritisation and budget for adaptation measures; establishing six demonstration sites (one experimental plot on adaptation measures for agriculture and one for forest in each watershed). Specific results expected for agriculture include a 5-10% reduction in water consumption and the maintenance of current crop production in experimental plots after the implementation of adaptation measures. In relation to forests, the project is expected to improve the growing status and water balance of forests, as well as reducing mortality events, forest decline and fire risk in experimental plots. A set of technical measures will be introduced to maintain current water consumption for urban uses and manage dams in order to guarantee water supply under different scenarios. These measures will be complemented by the results from three project case studies in water management, examining options for reducing current levels of water stress (in ways which minimise adverse ecological effects) by actions to reduce water consumption, as well as guarantee water supplies for agriculture and urban users.
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