Our Work Packages


Work package 1: Transdisciplinary cooperation

In order to develop a socio-ecological understanding of the system and to develop holistic solutions for a concrete environmental problem, Transdisciplinary and scientific cooperation is needed, as in SaliDraa2. However, this is only possible through an enormous willingness of the individual team members to learn beyond their own horizons, as well as an openness towards different forms of knowledge and expression.


This WP serves the exchange of methods, concepts, theories and results between the different work packages, team members and practice partners, the clarification of terms, the strengthening of personal relationships, as well as the organizational coordination in the project team.

Workpackage 2: River Ecosystem

Running waters and their flora and fauna in arid regions are exposed to multiple natural and anthropogenic stressors. The naturally harsh conditions like water scarcity and salinity are further increased by human water demands and practices along the rivers.

In order to find the main causes for salinization and water scarcity in the Drâa river basin and their impact on the Drâa ecosystem, anthropogenic and natural factors impacting the running waters as well as the water quality and availability will be evaluated and mapped. Furthermore, the local species (e.g. microeukaryotes, aquatic invertebrates, algae, fish, turtles) will be captured to identify the value of biodiversity in the region. Various ecosystem functions like the biomass production and the assimilative capacity will be measured to analyse their importance for the local people.

Finally, the results of work package 2 will be combined to assess the ecological status of the water bodies and give concrete advice for continuous monitoring to evaluate the impact of water management decisions.

Workpackage 3: Ecosystem Services

As the main source of ecosystem services supply, rivers in arid regions are highly sensitive to several stressors such as water scarcity and salinity, which makes it imperative for the local people to preserve a properly functioning ecosystem to benefit from the natural services.

To evaluate the benefits humans receive from the ecosystem, the different stakeholders and actors in the Drâa social-ecological system have already been identified. By assessing and defining the various competing roles, interactions and exchanges of different institutions, network analysis will be performed. The results, together with the findings of work package 2, will help to identify and prioritize the ecosystem services to be evaluated by using different value domains (e.g. monetary, biophysical, or cultural values). Furthermore, approaches will be developed to make the differentiated ecosystem services value assessment more accessible and useful for decision-makers in the Drâa river basin. These approaches and the relationships between water quality, indicators of the ecological state, ecosystem functions and ecosystem services will be studied and tested to be adopted later by different kinds of decision-makers in order to find out which is the most suitable approach for aggregation and demonstration of trade-offs between ecosystem services to be used in their respective policy-making bodies.

Workpackage 4: Land and water conflicts

Work package 4 analyses conflicts related to the access and control of land and water resources. Particular attention will be paid to the possible conflicts and trade-offs that might arise between stakeholders over different interests and values of the ecosystem services identified in work package 3. To better understand the key drivers of these conflicts, the national and regional institutional context will be contrasted with local practices of water and land uses.  More precisely, it will look at how use and control over these resources are reshuffled along gendered and other social divisions (such as age, ethnicity, class), creating new social and economic inequalities and exclusions in the Drâa river basin. Finally, in order to identify alternative pathways leading to more sustainable water and land uses, the strategies that local actors develop to cope with changing conditions of land and water access and control, as well as new ways of collective actions that might emerge will be analysed and mapped. As part of this effort, attention will be given to the rural youth, their possibilities to access resources and their emerging aspirations.


Workpackage 5: Transdisciplinary conclusions and recommendations

By combining the various results and observations of the previous work packages, work package 5 aims to contribute new transdisciplinary work to the social-ecological research, identify knowledge gaps and develop concepts of social-ecological systems in relation to river basins. New concepts of transdisciplinary work will be used to overcome challenges in the context of complex interactions between humans, water and biodiversity, not only in the Drâa river basin, but worldwide.

Furthermore, in close collaboration with local partners and actors, work package 5 will provide recommendations of action for a sustainable use of water and the protection of the environment in the Drâa river basin by developing future scenarios of different ways of water usage.