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Managing nutrients in Denmark’s aquatic environment : a critique and a way forward for Danish management of re-created wetlands

Korsgaard Andersen, Ebbe LU (2018) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20181
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
Anthropogenic use of nitrogen and phosphorus causes a risk to aquatic ecosystems and hence the livelihood of humans. To tackle this issue, the European Union have imposed environmental obligations on its member states to higher the quality of the aquatic environment. As a member state, Denmark is partly fulfilling these objectives by re-creating wetlands in the landscape, which retain and remove nutrients from agricultural runoff. However, it has been identified that there is a risk of phosphorus leaking from the wetlands re-created on phosphorus rich soils. The biogeochemical processes regarding phosphorus mobilization in wetlands are of high complexity, making it hard to predict potential phosphorus leakage from a wetland. This makes... (More)
Anthropogenic use of nitrogen and phosphorus causes a risk to aquatic ecosystems and hence the livelihood of humans. To tackle this issue, the European Union have imposed environmental obligations on its member states to higher the quality of the aquatic environment. As a member state, Denmark is partly fulfilling these objectives by re-creating wetlands in the landscape, which retain and remove nutrients from agricultural runoff. However, it has been identified that there is a risk of phosphorus leaking from the wetlands re-created on phosphorus rich soils. The biogeochemical processes regarding phosphorus mobilization in wetlands are of high complexity, making it hard to predict potential phosphorus leakage from a wetland. This makes management difficult as there is high uncertainty regarding the impact of decisions. This thesis maps and evaluates the management practice of the Danish government regarding re-creation of wetlands through interviews with governmental officials, conversations with experts and a literature review. Finally, it is discussed how an implementation of adaptive management could improve the long-term management of Danish wetlands regarding potential phosphorus leakage. The results show that the current management practice uses a phosphorus model to risk assess potential phosphorus leakage from re-created wetlands. This model has limitations regarding the variables used in the model and it is not dynamic over time. The model does currently not include aluminium, sulphur and calcium, which is shown to be important in assessing the risk of phosphorus leakage from re-created wetlands. Furthermore, the results suggest that the combination of high uncertainty in terms of low knowledge level on biogeochemical processes and high controllability in terms of carefully planned projects makes adaptive management a promising management option, which over time can reduce uncertainty and thereby make management more sustainable. The thesis concludes that management can be improved through an implementation of adaptive management in Denmark and that long-term monitoring of nutrient loads from wetlands are key to gain a better understanding, which can ensure a sustainable management of re-creation of wetlands in Denmark. (Less)
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author
Korsgaard Andersen, Ebbe LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20181
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
re-created wetlands, phosphorus, sustainability science, adaptive management, social-ecological systems
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2018:002
language
English
id
8943206
date added to LUP
2018-06-01 09:42:03
date last changed
2018-06-01 09:42:03
@misc{8943206,
  abstract     = {Anthropogenic use of nitrogen and phosphorus causes a risk to aquatic ecosystems and hence the livelihood of humans. To tackle this issue, the European Union have imposed environmental obligations on its member states to higher the quality of the aquatic environment. As a member state, Denmark is partly fulfilling these objectives by re-creating wetlands in the landscape, which retain and remove nutrients from agricultural runoff. However, it has been identified that there is a risk of phosphorus leaking from the wetlands re-created on phosphorus rich soils. The biogeochemical processes regarding phosphorus mobilization in wetlands are of high complexity, making it hard to predict potential phosphorus leakage from a wetland. This makes management difficult as there is high uncertainty regarding the impact of decisions. This thesis maps and evaluates the management practice of the Danish government regarding re-creation of wetlands through interviews with governmental officials, conversations with experts and a literature review. Finally, it is discussed how an implementation of adaptive management could improve the long-term management of Danish wetlands regarding potential phosphorus leakage. The results show that the current management practice uses a phosphorus model to risk assess potential phosphorus leakage from re-created wetlands. This model has limitations regarding the variables used in the model and it is not dynamic over time. The model does currently not include aluminium, sulphur and calcium, which is shown to be important in assessing the risk of phosphorus leakage from re-created wetlands. Furthermore, the results suggest that the combination of high uncertainty in terms of low knowledge level on biogeochemical processes and high controllability in terms of carefully planned projects makes adaptive management a promising management option, which over time can reduce uncertainty and thereby make management more sustainable. The thesis concludes that management can be improved through an implementation of adaptive management in Denmark and that long-term monitoring of nutrient loads from wetlands are key to gain a better understanding, which can ensure a sustainable management of re-creation of wetlands in Denmark.},
  author       = {Korsgaard Andersen, Ebbe},
  keyword      = {re-created wetlands,phosphorus,sustainability science,adaptive management,social-ecological systems},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Managing nutrients in Denmark’s aquatic environment : a critique and a way forward for Danish management of re-created wetlands},
  year         = {2018},
}