Managing riverscapes and flow regimes for biocultural diversity

January 20, 2021 - January 21, 2021

The registration is free but mandatory


For millennia, people have been part of nature in riverscapes, coevolving with the living river systems that are the hearts of these environments.  As well as being biologically diverse and resilient ecosystems, the world’s rivers have been paths for the evolution and adaptation of the cultural identity, material and spiritual wellbeing, and security of human civilizations.  River flows continue to connect people, places, and wildlife today, inspiring and sustaining a myriad beliefs, values, services, and lifeways. 

The conference will convene thought leaders, researchers, and practitioners working on different aspects of the conservation and management of biological and cultural diversity in river basins.  They will explore the interlinkages between nature and culture in the context of the parallel global biological and cultural diversity crises, in particular focusing on river flow regulation and fragmentation with water infrastructure development. 

Participants will share case studies, experiences, and insights with one another in a virtual informal setting, continuing to expand the global knowledge base.  They will use this exchange to help lay out some of the elements of a high potential, policy relevant research agenda with global reach, to more effectively manage riverscapes and flow regimes for biocultural diversity.  They will also identify promising opportunities to put key elements of this agenda into practice during the 2021-2030 UN decade on ecosystem restoration, including the partnerships, projects, and mechanisms needed.



Confirmed speakers

  • Prof. Angela Arthington, Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University - AU
  • Dr Tim Badman, Nature Culture Initiative, International U. for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) - CH
  • Dr Fengzhi He, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) - DE
  • Dr Avril Horne, University of Melbourne - AU
  • Prof. Sonja Jähnig, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) - CA
  • Dr Tim Jardine, University of Saskatchewan, Canadian Rivers Institute - CA
  • Dr Simone Langhans, Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3) and University of the Basque Country - SP
  • Dr Wendy Monk, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canadian Rivers Institute, University of New Brunswick  - CA
  • Dr Erin O'Donnell, University of Melbourne - AU
  • Dave Pritchard, Ramsar Culture Network, Institute for Land, Water & Society, Charles Sturt University - UK
  • Nupur Prothi Khanna, International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), Beyond Built Pvt Ltd - SE
  • Dr Nathalie Richards, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Zusammenarbeit - TZ
  • Prof. André St-Hilaire, Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), Centre Eau Terre Environnement, University of Quebec, Canadian Rivers Institute - CA


Wednesday 20th JANUARY 2021 - 11:00 - 17:30 (GMT+1:00 - PARIS)

  • 11:00    Official Opening - Dr Aurélien Montagu (Le Studium Loire Valley Institute for Advanced Studies - France) 
  • 11:15    Dr Rebecca Tharme & Prof. Karl Matthias Wantzen - Conference format, context, aims and objectives
  • 11:30    Round of participant introductions     
  • 12:00    Prof. Angela Arthington - Progress with environmental flows to maintain healthy rivers and healthy societies
  • 12:30    Prof. Karl Wantzen -  Development(s) of the River Culture Concept
  • 13:00    Q&A session and open chat
  • 13:30    Lunch
  • 14:00    Dr Simone Langhans - Weaving together plural values in freshwater management: a case study of the Upper Clutha catchment in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • 14:30    Dr Fengzhi He & Dr Rebecca Tharme - Freshwater megafauna: diversity, status, and cultural importance
  • 15:00    Dr Wendy Monk & Prof. André St-Hilaire - Adapting social-cultural-environmental flows for cold regions. 
  • 15:30    Prof. Sonja Jähnig - Living Water: A Research Agenda on Freshwater Biodiversity
  • 16:00    Dr Nathalie Richards - From the Mau Forest to Lake Victoria: The Journey of the Mara River in East Africa
  • 16:30    Dialogue session on opportunities (1).  Roundtable on key research strategies, projects, and partnership
  • 17:30    End of the 1st conference day

Thursday 21st JANUARY 2021 - 13:00 - 18:15 (GMT+1:00 - PARIS)

  • 13:00    Dr Erin O'Donnell - Reshaping the human relationship with water: what happens when a river becomes a person?
  • 13:30    Dr Avril Horne - Participatory environmental flows assessments 
  • 14:00    Prof. Karl M. Wantzen - Recap of Session 1 and objectives
  • 14:15    Introductions and open discussion
  • 14:30    Dave Pritchard - Action for culture and the water environment through the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
  • 15:00    Nupur Prothi Khanna - Cultural landscapes of Water systems in Asia
  • 15:30    Discussion (2) to map future policy and research directions
  • 16:00    Dr Tim Jardine - Canada’s freshwater deltas as complex and vulnerable social-ecological systems.   
  • 16:30    Dr Tim Badman - Natureculture approaches in the World Heritage Convention, and beyond. 
  • 17:00    Discussion (3) on key initiatives and partnerships, and next steps
  • 18:00    Dr Rebecca Tharme & Prof. Karl Matthias Wantzen - Final remarks, thanks, and workshop close. 
  • 18:15    End of the conference

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