Nitrogen Inputs from Agriculture: Towards Better Assessments of Eutrophication Status in Marine Waters
- 609 Downloads
Nutrient enrichment of coastal marine waters caused by losses of nitrate (NO3 −) from agriculture is an increasing global problem. In the European Union, the Nitrates Directive (ND) of 1991 was meant to be a cornerstone in reducing eutrophication effects in coastal waters downstream from intensively farmed catchments. Although reductions in losses of nitrate have been attained, very few Member States have yet been able to reduce eutrophication effects caused by inputs of NO3 − from agriculture. We report trends in concentrations of NO3 − and chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) in Danish coastal and open marine waters during the period from 1996 to 2011 together with an assessment of eutrophication status based on multiple indicators (e.g. nutrient concentrations, Chl-a, submerged aquatic vegetation and benthic macroinvertebrates). Despite decreasing concentrations of both NO3 −and Chl-a, Danish coastal waters are not yet to be classified as ‘unaffected by eutrophication’. In order to improve future pan-European evaluations of the effectiveness of the ND, we argue for the added value of including indicators and assessment principles from other European Directives, i.e. the Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
KeywordsNitrates Directive Nutrient enrichment Eutrophication Assessment Water Framework Directive Marine Strategy Framework Directive
The work was partially funded via ‘Rammeaftalen 2012-2015’ (i.e. ND reporting) and the Danish MSFD Initial Assessment project (i.e. assessment of eutrophication status). Special thanks to our colleagues Jacob Carstensen, Cordula Göke and Jørgen Windolf for assistance, and to Jens Brøgger Jensen for commenting on an earlier version of the manuscript.
- Ærtebjerg, G., J.H. Andersen, and O.S. Hansen. 2003. Nutrients and Eutrophication in Danish Marine Waters. A Challenge for Science and Management. Ministry of the Environment, National Environmental Research Institute. 126 pp. http://www2.dmu.dk/1_Viden/2_Publikationer/3_ovrige/rapporter/ospar.asp. Accessed 11 Dec 2013.
- Andersen, J.H. 2012. Ecosystem-Based Management of Coastal Eutrophication. Connecting Science, Policy and Society. PhD Thesis. University of Copenhagen. 56 pp+ annexes. http://www.bi.ku.dk/bibliotek/phd/Jesper%20Andersen.pdf. Accessed 11 Dec 2013.
- Andersen, J.H., J.W. Hansen, C. Murray, C. Göke, and D.L.J. Petersen. 2012. Klassifikation af eutrofieringstilstanden i de danske farvande—en indikator-baseret statusvurdering. Fagligt notat fra DCE—Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi. 42 pp (in Danish).Google Scholar
- Anon. 1991a. Council Directive 91/676/EEC of 12 December 1991 concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources. Official Journal of the European Communities L 375.Google Scholar
- Anon. 1991b. Council Directive of 21 May 1991 concerning urban waste water treatment (91/271/EEC). Official Journal of the European Communities L 135.Google Scholar
- Anon. 2000. Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy. Official Journal of the European Communities L 327/1.Google Scholar
- Anon. 2008. Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive). Official Journal of the European Communities L 164/19.Google Scholar
- Anon. 2011. Status and trends of aquatic environment and agricultural practice. Development guide for Member States’ reports under the’Nitrates Directive’ (91/676/CEE). 28 pp.Google Scholar
- Anon. 2012. Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) River Basin Management Plans.14 pp.Google Scholar
- Hansen, J.W. (ed.). 2013. Marine områder 2012. NOVANA. Tilstand og udvikling i miljø- og naturkvaliteten. Aarhus Universitet, DCE—Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi. Videnskabelig rapport fra DCE—Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi nr. 77. 162 pp. (in Danish).Google Scholar
- HELCOM. 2007. Baltic Sea Action Plan. Helsinki Commission. 103 pp.Google Scholar
- HELCOM. 2009. Eutrophication in the Baltic Sea. An integrated thematic assessment of the effects of nutrient enrichment in the Baltic Sea region. Baltic Sea Environment Proceedings No. 115B. 148 pp. http://www.helcom.fi/Lists/Publications/BSEP115B.pdf. Accessed 11 Dec 2013.
- HELCOM. 2010. Ecosystem Health of the Baltic Sea. HELCOM Initial Holistic Assessment 2003–2007. Baltic Sea Environmental Proceedings 122. Helsinki Commission. 63 pp. http://www.helcom.fi/Lists/Publications/BSEP122.pdf. Accessed 11 Dec 2013.
- HELCOM. 2012. Fifth Baltic Sea Pollution Load Compilation (PLC-5). Baltic Sea Environment Proceedings No. 128. 217 pp.Google Scholar
- Kronvang, B., G. Ærtebjerg, R. Grant, P. Kristensen, M. Hovmand, and J. Kirkegaard. 1993. Nationwide monitoring of nutrients and their ecological effects: State of the Danish aquatic environment. AMBIO 22: 176–187.Google Scholar
- Naturstyrelsen. 2011. Det Nationale Overvågningsprogram for Vand og Natur. NOVANA 2011–2015. Programbeskrivelse, del 2. 179 pp (in Danish).Google Scholar
- OSPAR. 2003. OSPAR integrated report 2003 on the eutrophication status of the OSPAR maritime area based upon the first application of the Comprehensive Procedure. OSPAR Eutrophication Series, publication 189/2003. 59 pp.Google Scholar
- OSPAR. 2008. Eutrophication status of the OSPAR maritime area. Second OSPAR integrated report. OSPAR Eutrophication Series, publication 372/2008. 107 pp. http://qsr2010.ospar.org/media/assessments/p00372_Second_integrated_report.pdf. Accessed 11 Dec 2013.
- OSPAR. 2010. Quality Status Report. OSPAR Commission, London. 176 pp.Google Scholar
- Wiberg-Larsen, P., J. Windolf, J. Bøgestrand, S.E. Larsen, H. Thodsen, N.B. Ovesen, B. Kronvang, A. Kjeldgaard. 2012. Vandløb 2011. Aarhus Universitet, DCE—Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi, Videnskabelig rapport fra DCE—Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi nr. 32. 70 pp. (in Danish).Google Scholar