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Eutrophication is a major problem for our seas and Lakes. Its cause is ever increasing nutrient emissions, especially nitrogen and phosphorus from sources like agriculture. Constructing wetlands is a way to trap nutrients and combat eutrophication and its effectiveness has now been assessed.
The report is backed by Stefan Weisner, a professor of biology specialising in environmental science and Geraldine Thiere, a research and development engineer at the Wetlands Research Centre of Halmstad University. They studied 70 randomly selected wetlands in six Swedish counties: Halland, Skåne, Västra Götaland, Kalmar, Östergötland and Södermanland.
The results also indicate that efficiency should increase if the wetlands were designed and located optimally.
“If the impact is to be as great as possible, the wetlands should be located in areas where the nutrient content of the water is high; preferably with a large catchment area and connected to agricultural land,” says Weisner.
“At this point, it’s important to factor in how wetlands also provide various other ecosystem services over and above preventing eutrophication. These include helping increase biodiversity and water storage and the possibility of bioenergy production,” says Weisner.