Fernandes, A., Figueira de Sousa, J., Vicente, T., Ferreira, J. C., 2013. Challenges to an Integrated Delta Approach: the case of the Tagus Estuary In: Conley, D.C., Masselink, G., Russell, P.E. and O'Hare, T.J. (eds.)
The Tagus estuary is the largest wetland and estuary in Portugal and one of the most important estuaries in Europe. This estuary occupies a central position in the territorial context of the Lisbon Metropolitan Area. However, the competitive relationship between the multifunctional land uses and economic activities present in this estuary and the specific ecological values of the area, result in an unbalanced development of the estuary. The exchange of experiences with other estuary and delta regions through the Deltanet Project, proved that the Tagus estuary faces important challenges in finding a balance between economic development (port development, tourism) and the ecological conservation of this estuary. In this sense, the present article aims: (i) to identify the main problems in the Tagus estuary in the context of an integrated Delta approach; (ii) to present the lessons learnt from other estuary/delta regions in a benchmarking exercise and (iii) to propose good practices for a better integrated delta approach in the Tagus estuary. Based on the authors' experience in the Deltanet Project, the article is structured in four main parts: (i) summary of physical and human features of the Tagus estuary, (ii) institutional framework, (iii) identification of the main problematic issues, (iv) good practices and lessons learnt by the Tagus estuary. Focusing these lessons, the article concludes that only by developing and integrated approach is it possible to deal with the very dynamic development of urbanization, economic activities, infrastructure, natural and technological risks faced by delta and estuary regions.