BONUS MIRACLE – Mediating integrated actions for sustainable ecosystem services in a changing climate

Karin Tonderski1, René Capell2, Seifeddine Jomaa3, Ainis Lagzdins4,Tina-Simone Neset1, Olle Olsson5, Søren M Pedersen6, Neil Powell7, Gerald Schwarz8, Andrzej Tonderski9, Tomasz Walczykiewicz10, Andis Zilans11


1 Linköping University, Sweden, 2 Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, 3 Helmholtz Centre for Environ-mental Research, Germany, 4 Latvia University of Agriculture, 5 Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden, 6 University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 7 Uppsala University, Sweden, 8 Thünen Institute of Farm Economics, Germany,  9 POMInnO, Poland, 10 Institute of Meteorology and Water Management, Poland, 11 University of Latvia


Water and nutrient governance in the Baltic Sea Region face several challenges. The future is highly uncertain due to climate change and on-going land-use changes, and different sectors works towards partly contradicting objectives, which makes it difficult to bring about integrated governance. In BONUS MIRACLE, a social learning process has been enacted to identify new configurations for water governance based on the hypothesis that more effective approaches to ’nutrient governance’ need to bring on-board new constellations of actors with stakes in local issues that are interconnected with nutrient enrichment. A series of learning events between stakeholder groups and researchers in four case areas have been orchestrated. To support the process of reconciling stakeholder interests, researchers were asked to provide ´on-demand´ results regarding effects, cost-efficiency and benefits of suggested measures on water flow, nutrient transport (using the HYPE model) and other ecosystem services benefits under different climate change and land-use scenarios. Results were visualized in the MIRACLE Visualization Tool. Lessons learnt and results of policy analyses were used to discuss governance approaches on the BSR level that could support more integrated actions.

An important project insight is that case level stakeholders, in general, are not interested in learning how different measures perform in reducing nutrient enrichment at a larger Baltic Sea basin level. Rather, they are interested in the impact measures have in terms of addressing multiple demands in the local settings. Regarding stakeholder positions, insights have emerged pertaining the important role position holders play in hindering or enabling change processes. In the ´pathways to change´, application of mineral fertilizers was one of the more cost-efficient measures suggested, along with creation of increased water retention, floodplains and wetlands. The latter also provide other ecosystem service benefits, and an approach was developed to interactively assess those, despite considerable knowledge gaps regarding effects and values. On the BSR level, the Visualization Tool provided useful learning support by visualizing E-HYPE model results regarding water flow and nutrient transport, as on this level the stakeholder´s system of interest is on governance innovations that address the nutrient issue. E-HYPE scenario modeling showed that while the mean water flow is expected to decrease in some southern BSR catchments, a substantial increase is predicted for most others. Similarly, the load of nitrogen may increase up to 25 % in some parts of the northern BSR, whereas a slight decrease is predicted for the south/southwestern parts. Governance innovations are needed that can accommodate those differences. However, current policies are insufficiently coordinated and integrated between sectors, due to imbalanced power relations and opposing agendas. This remains a constraint for the effectiveness of existing policy strategies, regulations and directives in addressing multiple ecosystem benefits. The involvement of local stakeholders needs to be strengthened and new models for cooperative and collective measures with intermediaries tested, to stimulate the use of local knowledge in improving the effectiveness and efficiency of management measures and reducing transaction costs. The synthesized BONUS MIRACLE results will be translated into a “Roadmap for improving water resource management in the Baltic Sea Region”, with suggestions for adaptation of policies, institutional settings and governance arrangements.