Wetlands as nature-based solutions under the implementation of the water framework directive in Sweden, study case: eutrophication in the Baltic sea.

Supervisor: Fernando Jaramillo (Baltic Sea Center and Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Sweden)
Eutrophication in the Baltic Sea has been one of the major environmental issues during the last century partly due to extensive land-use change, loss of natural retention systems, and insufficient management. European legislation such as the Water Framework Directive (WFD) attempts to guide recovering of good ecological status from freshwater to the sea, and among other alternatives, suggests wetlands as ecosystems that can potentially contribute to achieving this goal. Wetlands are considered remarkable Nature-based Solutions (NbSs) for improving water quality by diminishing the nutrient loads as well as enhancing biodiversity. This study aims to set a background context of the WFD implementation in Sweden, determine the status of wetlands, and evaluate the stakeholders’ perspective to identify the main administrative hurdles of wetland implementation in Sweden. For this purpose, a narrative review, database analysis, and semi-structured interviews with members of the institutions involved in water management were conducted. The study found that it is essential to find synergies among the WFD and other directives to expand cross-sectoral cooperation, implement adjustments on the funding scheme that include restoration and maintenance of natural wetlands and increase compensation periods and cost ceiling. Likewise, it is crucial to perform significant improvements in the monitoring system that comprise more frequent data collection as well as exploring new strategies to capture landowners’ interest in the implementation of NbSs, as is the case of the Catchment Officers program. This program works synchronized on a catchment scale to advise in measures’ implementation and administrative procedures. Finally, the study suggests paludiculture as a new farming practice to increase proprietors’ attention on novel market alternatives, and in turn, to provide benefits for climate, water, and biodiversity.