Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Summer School Future Deltas

Date: 04 July 2016 - 09 July 2016
Location: Utrecht (Utrecht city campus)

This course focuses on sustainable management of river deltas, that are increasingly under pressure of climate change and human impacts. Deltas are valuable areas, providing many services that are essential for humans such as fertile soils, fresh water, (river) transportation networks, low-relief accessible land, water purification and support of high biodiversity. Because of all these benefits hundreds of millions of people live in deltas worldwide, often in mega-cities.

In these populated deltas, activities of delta inhabitants often disturb the natural complex and dynamic balance of delta-forming processes, thereby putting deltas at risk. For example, deltas are under pressure from accelerated sea-level rise due to global warming, altered water and sediment discharge due to dike, dam and reservoir construction, accelerated land subsidence due to drainage and extraction of groundwater and hydrocarbons, and loss of habitats and biodiversity due to land use change. These changes also affect livelihood conditions and potentially societies. To deal with the changing delta conditions and to ensure a sustainable future delta life, we need to understand the driving processes of change in a delta, predict impacts and optimize management solutions. This requires a multi-disciplinary approach, integrating natural (e.g. physical, biological, chemical) and social (e.g. governance, law, socio-economic) sciences.

Course aim

The aim of this course is to provide participants thorough understanding on interacting physical, ecological, institutional, socio-economic and legal drivers of change in deltas, their impacts, and on solutions for a sustainable management of the world’s deltas, to ensure future delta life.

Target group

MSc students & PhD students. Participants should have a background in earth sciences, ecology, human geography, spatial planning, environmental governance or environmental or water law.

Additional information

Financial support is considered individually, based on a motivation letter and Curriculum Vitae. You may send these to

Optionally, you may participate in the related ‘LANDac Land Governance for Equitable and Sustainable Development’ conference in the week before, 30 June – 1 July 2016, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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