In future, our world may increasingly rely on renewable biomass resources for the provision of food, fodder, fibre and fuel. How this transition to a bioeconomy will affect Nordic water resources, is something BIOWATER, a Nordic Centre of Excellence, is currently looking into.
In a recent special issue of the human environment journal Ambio, BIOWATER’s researchers have explored how the answer may be found in plausible scenarios, long-term datasets, and modelling. They have also studied how societies will be affected by these changes and investigated various environmental mitigation options.
Dr. Jan Vermaat, professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and co-leader of BIOWATER with Dr. Eva Skarbøvik, Head of Research at NIBIO, says that long-term monitoring data of water quality, quantity and land use practices are crucial for discovering new trends in our Nordic water resources.
“The trends we’ve seen based on long-term monitoring data must be considered as warnings of the impacts bioeconomy can have in future,” he says. “Systematic monitoring data of catchments dominated by different forestry practices are, however, less available than for agricultural and forested catchments, so this is something to be aware of in the years to come.”