The Pantanal wetland is a vast seasonally inundated area of extraordinary landscape and biological diversity and complexity. It is located in the upper portion of the Paraguay River basin in central South America. During the rainy season, increased stream discharge from the surrounding basin produces an annual flood pulse through the Pantanal. Increasing human impact, such as dam construction, deforestation, agricultural related activities, and the Hidrovia project in the Parana–Paraguay waterway, threaten the ecological stability of the Pantanal area. As a result, there is an urgent need to introduce new management practices in the Pantanal Basin. In this paper we present a concept for managing the Pantanal catchment based on the integration of ecological knowledge, institutional organization, and involvement of different stakeholders. We propose approaches for an integrated management of the Pantanal and its catchment based on improving data bases and the empowerment of the stakeholder groups. The latter depends on increasing the level of education and access to information, as well as implementing procedures to improve public involvement and enforcement of environmental regulations.
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