MONITORING LONG-TERM TRENDS IN EUTROPHICATION AND NUTRIENTS IN THE COASTAL ZONE: CREATION OF GUIDELINES FOR THE EVALUATION OF BACKGROUND CONDITIONS, ANTHROPOGENIC INFLUENCE AND RECOVERY (MOLTEN)
EC Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development, Sub-Programme Environment and Sustainable Development; Contract EVK3-CT-2000-00031;(Korhola).
Estuarine and coastal systems have experienced massive changes in nutrient loading from human activities during the history of human occupation. Attempts to determine the long-term effects of nutrient enrichment is hampered by the limited time span of contemporary monitoring programs. Most monitoring programs began only in the last 30 years, which narrows our perspective on when the changes began and what the starting point was prior to anthropogenic alteration. These constraints act to limit our ability to manage and protect our coastal resources. In addition, without the knowledge of past conditions it is difficult to know to what level can we restore conditions in degraded ecosystems. However, paleoecological techniques, e.g. collection and analysis of sediment cores, can provide a powerful tool to determine the long-term effects of nutrient enrichment and to investigate how they have affected ecosystem functioning over time. The overall goal of this proposed research project is to provide decision makers with a tool that can be used for the evaluation of background conditions, determination of the anthropogenic influence in the coastal zone and potential recovery of these systems with reduced nutrient loads, such that appropriate policy and management measures can be taken both at the European and national scales. To ensure that the results are made available to end-users, especially environmental decision makers, we will prepare specific guidelines for the management authorities to be used in implementing the Water Quality Directive.
Co-ordinator: Daniel Conley, National Environmental Research Institute (Denmark)