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Healthy Waters: The role of collaborative governance to minimize negative forestry impact on water quality

Research project The aim of the project is, through an interdisciplinary approach, to examine whether or not the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive has led to increased collaboration; and if that collaboration has in turn led to actual changes in how forests are being managed.

The overall purpose of this project is to explore through what mechanisms collaborative forest-water governance can become most effective.

Head of project

Project overview

Project period

2014-01-01 2018-12-31

Funding

Formas

Research subject

Environmental sciences, Natural resource science, Political science

Project description

Forest-covered areas remain one of the largest sources of contaminants and nutrients reaching the Baltic Sea from Sweden. A range of new collaborative projects have recently been initiated, spurred by the implementation of the Water Framework Directive, to minimize the negative forestry influence on water quality. But how effective are these new collaborative water quality strategies? The connection to the state-of-the-art scientific understanding of the effectiveness of the different preventive measures has never been tested. The overall purpose of this project is therefore to explore through what mechanisms collaborative forest-water governance can become most effective.

Several collaborative arrangements in the Vindel river water basin in north Sweden will be examined in depth using a cross-disciplinary approach. Have approaches to managing forest water quality been changed before and after the WFD came into action and if so, how? The relationship between partnership characteristics, including the role of the state and real and perceived impacts on watersheds will be studied by the political scientists using the frameworks of collaborative governance (Emerson et al 2011) and watershed management (Sabatier et al 2005). The water quality assessment will employ multiple methods developed within the Krycklan Research Catchment (www.slu.se/krycklan) to investigate the effectiveness of the different protective actions and be carried out by forest water quality scientists at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Umeå led by professor Hjalmar Laudon. In addition to scientific publishing, we will form a reference group with the concerned authorities to ensure relevance and appropriate use of the research results.