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Participatory Social-Ecological Modeling in Eutrophication Management: the Case of Himmerfjarden, Sweden
Södertörn University, School of Life Sciences, Environmental science. KTH.
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2011 (English)In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 16, no 4, 27- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Stakeholder participation is increasingly seen as central in natural resource management. It is also required by the European Union Water Framework Directive, which identifies three levels of participation; information, consultation, and active involvement. In this paper we discuss the active involvement of stakeholders, using our experience from a case study in the Himmerfjarden region, which is a coastal area southwest of Stockholm, Sweden. Our study used the systems approach proposed by the European Union research project called Science and Policy Integration for Coastal System Assessment (SPICOSA), in which local stakeholders and a study site team constructed an integrated simulation model of a crucial coastal management issue. In this case the issue was nitrogen enrichment. We showed how stakeholder participation in the modeling process helped identify interesting and currently relevant management scenarios, and how the modeling process facilitated communication of the likely ecological, economic, and social effects of these scenarios to the stakeholders. In addition, stakeholders also reported social gains in terms of network building. We managed to actively involve local stakeholders in water issues, and the research process clearly strengthened the social capital in the Himmerfjarden region, and created a basis for future collaboration regarding water management. Our experience indicates that the approach we tried is a useful tool for promoting active stakeholder involvement in water management projects. Also, the results of our science and policy integration approach indicated that the study site team assumed a leadership role, which is a commonly recognized factor in successful natural resource management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 16, no 4, 27- p.
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-16000DOI: 10.5751/ES-04394-160427ISI: 000298841900018ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84855323090OAI: diva2:515596
The Foundation for Baltic and East European StudiesSwedish Environmental Protection Agency
Available from: 2012-04-13 Created: 2012-04-13 Last updated: 2015-05-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. From words to action: Lessons from active stakeholder participation in water management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From words to action: Lessons from active stakeholder participation in water management
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Water governance worldwide is going through a shift towards more holistic and participatory approaches. In Europe, the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) adopted in 2000, aims at protecting surface water and groundwater. The WFD emphasizes the importance of stakeholder participation in planning and implementation of the directive, and in order to reach environmental objectives. However, the empirical findings are insufficient regarding how stakeholder participation can lead to improved decisions and implemented plans. In Sweden, a major water quality problem is eutrophication caused to a large extend by diffuse nutrient leakage from agriculture. Therefore, it is important to involve farmers in water management, since their participation can lead the commitment of mitigation measures for reduced nutrient leakage. The overall aim of this study is to contribute the knowledge and understanding of active stakeholder participation in water management, in particular how it can lead to implementation of water quality objectives. The thesis addresses stakeholder participation in eutrophication management in local Swedish catchments, with a particular focus on farmers’ participation in the commitment of mitigation measures. The results are based on case study research, involving four catchment areas in Sweden with severe eutrophication problems. The thesis identified socio-demographic factors, farmers’ knowledge, and the level of existing information and economic support for wetland creation, as factors affecting farmers’ willingness to participate in wetland creation to mitigate nutrient leakage. In the local catchment groups studied, farmers and other local stakeholders participated to discuss potential mitigation activities. In these, farmers emphasized other emitting actors’ responsibility and commitment in local action plans. Where this was realized, social capital within the group increased and led to further collaboration. The thesis also analyzed large-scale wetland programmes at catchment scale, where the organizational and institutional arrangements were central to realize farmers’ participation: inter-municipal agreements entailed sufficient resources, the organization involved the most relevant actors; and leadership resources were important. The thesis argues that organizing water management at a catchment level can be important to cope with challenges related to stake-holder participation for mitigating diffuse nutrient leakage. In particular for dissemination and collection of information, suggesting potential measures for all concerned actors, provide resources needed to realize actions, and to build trust and collaboration. The thesis also emphasized that stakeholder participation has to be underpinned by a genuine meaning, both for the initiators and the participants.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. ix, 50 p.
TRITA-LWR. PHD, ISSN 1650-8602 ; 2015:01
stakeholder participation; EU Water Framework Directive; eutrophication; catchment-based water management; agriculture.
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Environmental Studies; Baltic and East European studies
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-27446 (URN)1169/42/2007:10 (Local ID)978-91-7595-569-8 (ISBN)1169/42/2007:10 (Archive number)1169/42/2007:10 (OAI)
Public defence
2015-05-28, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 1169/42/2007:10
Available from: 2015-05-13 Created: 2015-05-13 Last updated: 2015-05-13Bibliographically approved

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