Management Options and Effects on a Marine Ecosystem: Assessing the Future of the Baltic

Wulff, Fredrik; Savchuk, Oleg P.; Sokolov, Alexander; Humborg, Christoph; Mörth, Carl-Magnus
April 2007
AMBIO - A Journal of the Human Environment;Apr2007, Vol. 36 Issue 2/3, p243
Academic Journal
We are using the coupled models in a decision support system, Nest, to evaluate the response of the marine ecosystem to changes in external loads through various management options. The models address all the seven major marine basins and the entire drainage basin of the Baltic Sea. A series of future scenarios have been developed, in close collaboration with the Helsinki Commission, to see the possible effects of improved wastewater treatment and manure handling, phosphorus-free detergents, and less intensive land use and live stocks. Improved wastewater treatment and the use of phosphorus- free detergents in the entire region would drastically decrease phosphorus loads and improve the marine environment, particularly the occurrence of cyanobacterial blooms. However, the Baltic Sea will remain eutrophic, and to reduce other effects, a substantial reduction of nitrogen emissions must be implemented. This can only be obtained in these scenarios by drastically changing land use. In a final scenario, we have turned 50% of all agricultural lands into grasslands, together with efficient wastewater treatments and a ban of phosphorus in detergents. This scenario will substantially reduce primary production and the extension of hypoxic bottoms, increase water transparency in the most eutrophied basins, and virtually eliminate extensive cyanobacterial blooms.


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