BONUS GO4BALTIC – Coherent policies and governance of the Baltic Sea ecosystems

Berit Hasler1, Markku Ollikainen2, Katarina Elofsson3, Mikolaj Czajkowski4, Hans Estrup Andersen5, Kaja Peterson6, Helle Ørsted Nielsen1


1 Aarhus University, Dep. Of Environmental Science, Roskilde, Denmark

2 University of Helsinki, Finland

3 Swedish Agricultural University, Uppsala, Sweden

4 University of Warsaw, Poland

5 Aarhus University, Dep. Of Bioscience, Silkeborg, Denmark

6 Stockholm Environmental Institute, Tallin, Estonia


The aim of BONUS GO4BALTIC is to provide policy relevant advice and recommendations for reductions of the eutrophication in the Baltic Sea in coherence with climate and agricultural policies, and examines environmental and agricultural policies across the Baltic countries, cost-effective solutions and potentials for coherence and conflicts between the policies. The project has a focus on technological development, including incentives, technological change, changes in management and innovation of new technologies, that could potentially reduce abatement costs. This presentation lays out the key findings of the Bonus GO4BALTIC and discusses implications for policy.

The project has studied the developments of the agricultural sector, especially the structural changes in livestock production, and the results indicate a heavy structural change resulting in fewer and larger livestock farms. This increases the risk of spatial over-application of manure nutrients, particularly phosphorus. The analysis shows that although the development seems to proceed in the same direction in all countries, new member states have more polarized structures than old ones. The effects of structural change should be taken into account in agri-environmental policies in Baltic Sea countries. Another highlight is the linkage of CAPRI (Common Agricultural Policy Regionalised Impact Modelling system) model results to an agricultural nitrogen loss model and a marine model for assessments of the effects of agricultural and environmental policy changes on the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea. The results show the differences in effects between countries and Baltic Sea regions and demonstrates a large potential for nutrient loss reduction in improving the management of manure. Yet another strand of results include responses from a Farm Survey, which has been answered by 2500 farmers in Sweden, Finland, Poland, Estonia and Denmark. The survey provides new knowledge of fertiliser handling practices, incentives for investments as well as choices between agri-environmental schemes. Analytical models and simulations using Finnish data have been used to investigate how effective crop rotations are at providing profits and at the same time reducing nutrient loads and GHG emissions. By a series of models alternative preferences farmers’ may exhibit for the use of gypsum are analysed. Danish data are used to analyse incentives for farmers to trade nutrient abatement requirements between them. The scarce empirical information on the implementation of different policies and measures to reduce nutrient loads from the surrounding countries has been examined, showing higher implementation levels for measures that are subsidized than measures that are regulated in relation to the goals. Our results suggest, among others, that better environmental performance and lower costs could be achieved through nutrient permit markets that permit credit stacking, i.e. compensation for both nitrogen and phosphorus reductions by a given measure. Nutrient policies for wastewater seem more successful than policies for the agricultural sector in terms of the incentives for technological development provided. In the coming months these and additional results will be translated into recommendations for a Baltic Sea socioeconomic action plan.