Impacts are trends of loss of
sustainability, and an analysis of the changes over time was made
for the systems at the study sites.
Firstly, in order to assess impacts, indicators of changes
were chosen for each area of concern, e.g. on water quality and quantity
(hydrology), environmental and biological resources (ecology), socio-culture
and economic (socioeconomy), using inputs from Workpackage2.
Then changes in different compartments were assessed using
“historical” information at different scales. The spatial and time
scales of the trends were different according to the issues and the
methods applied, and were those specified in Workpackage1.
The local communities and key stakeholders were involved in the assessment to provide their perception of the changes.
The following compartments were analysed: socioeconomy
(e.g., employment, production, income, economic structures, resources); ecology
and hydrology (e.g., landscape, biological resources and conditions,
physical conditions, land uses); cultural heritage (e.g., hydraulic
archaeology, traditional irrigation methods; role of rural women as users).
Concerning the time scales, for the medium term (few
decades) questionnaires were used to assess past situation; for the long
terms, historical archive information (photographs, maps and written
documents), old cartography and archaeological remains were used to
establish the baseline conditions and changes.
Human perception of change was considered in the impact assessment, and the results
were compared with those obtained from other sources, biological and
sedimentological. Bioindicators of ecological short and long term changes
were used for the impact assessment, exploiting population and
behavioural variation in key animal species. In principle any environmental
change would be reflected in changes in biological adaptation, through
evolutionary (long term), developmental (life history term) and
physiological (short term) changes. Other biological indicators, such as
water plants and some other clonal species, marsh vegetation, and sedimentary
records (information in sedimentary cores from the water body) were eventually used to assess past situation and changes over decades.
The quantitative information gathered in Workpackage2
and the indicators of changes analysed in this workpackage were used to
develop models of trends. The models developed were used to develop alternative scenarios (Workpackage4).