International Year of Deltas 2013: A proposal



Marine and lacustrine deltas around the world are economic and environmental hot spots. They occupy approximately 1% of the Earth's land area but are home to more than 500 million people—a population density more than 10 times the world average [Ericson et al., 2006]—all within 5 meters of sea level [Overeem and Syvitski, 2009]. This high density is supported by high productivity, rich biodiversity, and transport along a network of waterways. Yet deltaic systems are some of the world's most delicate and vulnerable natural systems, residing at the boundary between land and water, and are subject to upstream human control, local resource exploration, and climatic impacts.


Many colleagues contributed to the ideas articulated in this article. Special thanks go to David Mohrig, University of Texas at Austin; Gary Parker, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Rudy Slingerland, Pennsylvania State University.