Spatially differentiated regulation of nutrients – stakeholder perceptions in three different case study sites

Nico Stelljes, Katriona McGlade, Grit Martinez


Ecologic Institute, Berlin, Germany


One of the goals of the BONUS SOILS2SEA project is to find new and innovative approaches to further reduce nutrient loads to the Baltic Sea. It is common practice to use nationally applied, one-size-fits-all regulations to manage nutrient loads. However, this uniform approach does not account for the significant spatial variation in the retention (removal by biogeochemical processes or sedimentation) of nutrients in groundwater and surface water systems. By using local data on nutrient transport and retention, measures can be spatially differentiated to target ‘hotspot’ areas where the natural retention is low. The Soils2Sea project considers the potential of spatially differentiated approaches for achieving further reductions in nutrient loads to the Baltic in three case study areas: the Norsminde Fjord catchment in Denmark; Tullstorp Brook in Sweden and the Kocinka catchment area in Poland.

Apart from technical obstacles to implementing a spatially differentiated approach (e.g. defining the target area, uncertainties in scientific assessments), an appropriate governance framework is of equal importance to the implementation of these measures. Existing patterns of government-society interaction, the requirements of relevant EU-level policies as well as influencing factors such as culture, history and society were analysed within the project on the basis of stakeholder consultations, ethnographic studies and desk-based research. The presentation will focus on the outcome of the analysis and determine the potential of spatially differentiated approaches for each case study area.