Global warming is causing sea level rise around the world, threatening wildlife and ecosystems of coastal areas due to the gradual increase in salinity of estuaries and the fresh water of rivers. The salinisation of the water impacts directly the soil and the microbes and plants that grown on it, causing a cascade effect in the loss of biodiversity. There is an urgent need for ecological interventions that can create resilient systems. The proposal of an Ecology of Resilience, applied to the Besòs river in Barcelona, identifies a logic of intervention that can be implemented to other ecosystems around the world facing an increase in salinisation due to rising sea levels.

Aside from the rise in sea level and increase in salinization, the Besos river in particular is currently also affected by chlorinated water released from industrial sites and by non-native invasive species taking over the area. By taking the non-native and invasive species out and re-introducing native species, as well as creating a balance between halophytes and glycophytes, the goal is to arrive to an ecology of resilience achieved through multi-iterational testing and monitoring.

The Iris Pseudacorus has been identified as a witness species for the ability to observe and monitor them upstream and downstream to understand the impacts of the increased salinisation and to assess the success of the applied interventions.  The proposal consists in the application of different strategies of intervention which will all be monitored through time to understand which ones are the most successful in their adaptation to the changing conditions.

To understand the respons of the witness species and the whole intervention to the change in salinity, various monitoring tools are being implemented.The information collected from the witness species and observational system will provide parameters that will be used for the design iterations and their improvement and adaptation through time.


Ecology of Resilience is a project of IAAC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, developed at the Master in Advanced Architecture in 2021 by students: Mira Housen, Yerwant Merguditchian and Charicleia Iordanou; faculty: Jonathan Minchin