From science to management advice

Biowater organised its last stakeholder event on 9 June, with the aim to present scientific results to managers and other stakeholders in four Nordic countries. The event was held at Hurdalsjøen Hotel near Gardermoen, Oslo Airport, but there was also digital participation. With five years’ of research to be presented, it was a day filled with presentations, but also with time for smal quiz-exercises and group work.

Land use and climate change can affect Nordic freshwaters and thereby our well-being

Stakeholders striving to fulfil the goals of the EU Water Framework Directive are aware that changes in land use, land management and climate will affect their work. As an example, increased and more intense precipitation in combination with intensified management of land under agriculture or forestry, can mean increased nutrient runoff and enhanced eutrophication.

Hence, the results of our modellers, outlining the future effects of land use and climate change on nutrient and sediment status in Nordic freshwaters, received high interest. The same did the outcome of a former stakeholder exercise, where the scenarios, or Nordic bioeconomy pathways, were articulated in workshops and interviews.

How such changes in nutrient status may affect ecology and us humans was also elaborated on. Biowater’s research has demonstrated that people’s appreciation of nature rank high compared to many other ‘services’ that the ecosystems provide us with.

Group work with discussions on how a bioeconomy may affect land use and water quality in Nordic countries. (Photo: Kathrine Torday Gulden).

Mitigating the effects

As the scenario and modelling work of Biowater indicates a high risk of land use changes that will affect water quality negatively, the presentation of possible mitigation measures was of interest. Two such types of measures were highlighted:

  • How to reduce losses of nutrients from agricultural drainage systems. This is an important question both in agricultural and forestry catchments, as it covers the dissolved phase of the nutrients. Hence, a set of different mitigation methods were presented both orally and in posters.
  • The major impact of trees along streams. Our research results demonstrate the highly positive effects for ecology of preserving trees along streams when logging and maintaining buffer zones with trees along agricultural streams. As one of the stakeholders wrote as a final comment on a main take-home message: ‘Buffer zones rule!’

Combination of applied and basic research

Mette Vodder Carstensen presented research results on how to mitigate nutrient losses from drained agricultural fields. (Photo: Kathrine Torday Gulden).

As more than 10 PhD students have been either directly funded or associated with the centre, much of our studies can be described as basic research. Nevertheless, the common red thread has been the effects on water resources and the society of a shift to bioeconomy, something that is of high importance in the efforts to reduce eutrophication and reach the WFD goals. Biowater has so far produced two movies and four fact sheets aimed at stakeholders, and more fact sheets are being prepared.

View our popularised material here.

Feature photo: Kathrine Torday Gulden.