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Wetlands as large-scale nature-based solutions: Status and challenges for research, engineering and management
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6111-4819
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6769-0136
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2017 (English)In: Ecological Engineering: The Journal of Ecotechnology, ISSN 0925-8574, E-ISSN 1872-6992, Vol. 108, no Part B, p. 489-497Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Wetlands are often considered as nature-based solutions that can provide a multitude of services of great social, economic and environmental value to humankind. Changes in land-use, water-use and climate can all impact wetland functions and services. These changes occur at scales extending well beyond the local scale of an individual wetland. However, in practical applications, engineering and management decisions usually focus on individual wetland projects and local site conditions. Here, we systematically investigate if and to what extent research has addressed the large-scale dynamics of landscape systems with multiple wetlands, hereafter referred to as wetlandscapes, which are likely to be relevant for understanding impacts of regional to global change. Although knowledge in many cases is still limited, evidence suggests that the aggregated effects of multiple wetlands in the landscape can differ considerably from the functions observed at individual wetland scales. This applies to provisioning of ecosystem services such as coastal protection, biodiversity support, groundwater level and soil moisture regulation, flood regulation and contaminant retention. We show that parallel and circular flow-paths, through which wetlands are interconnected in the landscape, may largely control such scale-function differences. We suggest ways forward for addressing the mismatch between the scales at which changes take place and the scale at which observations and implementation are currently made. These suggestions can help bridge gaps between researchers and engineers, which is critical for improving wetland function-effect predictability and management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 108, no Part B, p. 489-497
Keywords [en]
Wetland ecosystems, Flow-path, Ecosystem services, Large-scale, Change driver, Ecological engineering
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology and Water Resources
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-145722DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2017.07.012OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-145722DiVA, id: diva2:1134230
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2012-790National initiative on Stem Cells for Regenerative TherapyAvailable from: 2017-08-18 Created: 2017-08-18 Last updated: 2018-01-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Hydrological spreading of metal pollution and wetlands as nature-based solutions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hydrological spreading of metal pollution and wetlands as nature-based solutions
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The quality of the Earth’s water resources have deteriorated due to human impacts. A key scientific challenge is to understand, quantify and predict the water-borne spreading of pollutants at relevant scales for freshwater management and water quality restoration programs. However, understanding the natural processes controlling large-scale hydrological transport of pollutants may be masked by river regulation schemes (in the form of dams and reservoirs), which are common in many large rivers. The main objective of this thesis is to increase the current knowledge regarding large-scale spreading of metals in hydrological systems. This objective is addressed through studying net impacts of mining (a main contributor to global metal pollution) on the spreading of metals in water systems and through investigating the mitigation opportunities of wetlands across the landscape. The main study region of this thesis is the Lake Baikal basin of Russia and Mongolia, which includes the large unregulated Selenga River and its delta-wetland areas. In addition, a set of global wetland sites are also studied. A multi-method approach is used in the four studies of this thesis. The methods include field-measurements, data synthesis, metal mass flow and water flow-path quantifications, as well as geochemical modelling. Results show that mining in the upstream part of the Lake Baikal basin is a significant contributor to riverine mass flows of several metals. The mass flows increased by an order of magnitude over the mining site. The observed speciation between dissolved (more bioavailable) and suspended (less bioavailable) phases could be well predicted for some metals (Fe, V, Pb and Zn) using a geochemical equilibrium model. However, the model failed to reproduce the speciation of other metals (Cr, Cu, Mn and Mo). In these cases, non-equilibrium processes may need to be considered, and adsorption databases may need to be developed, in order to make dependable predictions. Results also suggest that the concentration of dissolved organic carbon, which exhibits seasonal variability and long-term increasing trends due to climate change effects in the Arctic, can have a large impact on metal pollution transport. Further, observations showed that individual wetlands of the Selenga River delta locally retained between 77-99 % of incoming metal loads. However, a systematic analysis of current knowledge showed that large-scale net effects can differ considerably from the functions observed at individual wetlands on smaller scales. Along large-scale flow-paths, through which wetlands are connected with each other as well as with the larger landscape, key processes which can considerably contribute to such scale differences in function may occur. A survey of the current wetland research showed that relatively few studies have considered the larger scales at which key pollutant pressures and water quality changes take place. This thesis highlights the need for more research on large-scale wetland systems, which can aid in evaluating net pollution effects at landscape scales. This in turn can facilitate evaluations of how and when wetland systems may function as large-scale nature-based solutions.

Abstract [sv]

Kvaliteten på jordens vattenresurser har försämrats på grund av mänsklig påverkan. En viktig vetenskaplig utmaning är att förstå, kvantifiera och förutsäga den vattenburna spridningen av föroreningar, på skalor som är relevanta för vattenresursförvaltning och åtgärdsprogram. De underliggande, naturliga processer som styr storskalig hydrologisk föroreningstransport kan dock maskeras av att de flesta stora floders flöden är reglerade med hjälp av dammar och reservoarer. Målet med den här avhandlingen är att öka kunskapen kring hydrologisk storskalig spridning av metaller. Detta görs genom att studera nettoeffekter av gruvverksamhet (en viktig källa till globala metallföroreningar) på metallers spridning i vattensystemet, samt att undersöka våtmarkers möjligheter att rena förorenade flöden i landskapet. Avhandlingens huvudstudieområde är Bajkalsjön och dess tillrinningsområde (i Ryssland och Mongoliet), vilket inkluderar den oreglerade Selengafloden och dess delta-våtmarksområden. Även en grupp av globala våtmarksområden har studerats. Flera metoder användes i de fyra studierna som ingår i denna avhandling, inklusive fältmätningar, datasyntes, massflödes- och flödesvägskvantifieringar, och geokemisk modellering. Resultaten visar att gruvdrift i uppströms-delar av Bajkalsjöns tillrinningsområde bidrar betydligt till förhöjda halter av flera metaller i flodsystemen. Massflödenena ökade en storleksordning över gruvområdet. Den observerade metall-specieringen mellan lösta (mer biotillgängliga) och partikulära (mindre biotillgängliga) faser kunde modelleras väl för vissa metaller (Fe, V, Pb och Zn) med en geokemisk jämviktsmodell. Modellen lyckades dock inte reproducera specieringen av andra metaller (Cr, Cu, Mn och Mo). I dessa fall kan icke-jämviktsprocesser behöva beaktas, och adsorptions-databaser kan behöva utvecklas för att förbättra prediktionerna. Resultaten visar också att koncentrationen av upplöst organiskt kol, som uppvisar stora årstidsvariationer samt långsiktigt ökande trender på grund av klimatpåverkan i Arktis, kan ha stor inverkan på metallföroreningars transport. Observationer visade att enskilda våtmarker i Selengafloden lokalt kunde minska inkommande massflöden av metaller med 77 till 99 %.  En systematisk genomgång av aktuellt kunskapsläge visade dock att storskaliga nettoeffekter kan skilja sig mycket från de funktioner som observeras vid enskilda våtmarker på mindre skalor. Längs storskaliga flödesvägar, genom vilka flera våtmarker är kopplade till varandra och till det större landskapet, kan viktiga processer ske, vilket avsevärt kan bidra till sådana skal-skillnader i funktion. En genomgång av aktuell våtmarksforskning visade att relativt få studier beaktade dessa större skalor där föroreningsspridning och vattenkvalitetsförändringar sker. Denna avhandling belyser behovet av ökat forskningsfokus på storskaliga våtmarkssystem. Detta kan hjälpa till att förstå föroreningars nettoeffekter på landskapsskalor, vilket underlättar vid bedömning av hur och när våtmarkssystem fungerar som storskaliga, så kallade naturbaserade lösningar. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, 2017
Series
Dissertations from the Department of Physical Geography, ISSN 1653-7211 ; 68
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology and Water Resources
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-147613 (URN)978-91-7649-958-0 (ISBN)978-91-7649-959-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-11-28, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-11-03 Created: 2017-10-06 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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Thorslund, JosefinJarsjö, JerkerJaramillo, FernandoManzoni, StefanoGoldenberg, RomainKalantari, ZahraLyon, Steve W.Pietroń, JanPrieto, CarmenDestouni, Georgia
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