Abstract: Workshop proceedings on collaborative scoping of solutions, Louros catchment, Greece
The EU FP7 project REFRESH is developing a framework that will enable water managers to design cost-effective restoration programmes for freshwater ecosystems that account for the expected future impacts of climate change and land-use change. Task 3 of Work-Package 6 is concerned with scoping possible adaptation and mitigation measures to improve water quality, through collaboration with local stakeholders. In this context, a series of workshops were organized within six case study catchments in Greece, Czech Republic, Norway, Finland and the UK (one in England, one in Scotland), to specify and discuss such measures. This report summarizes the findings of a workshop held on the 23rd of November 2011 in the Louros municipality in Greece.
Participants at the workshop were invited following the guidelines devised by SYKE (Varjopuro et al., 2011) and comprised farmers, representatives from Local Organizations for Land Reclamation and representatives of the Amvrakikos (Natura 2000) Management Body. All these participants were identified as key actors with vested interests in the quality of freswhater in the Louros catchment and the ability to influence environmental conditions in this area.
Following on from the water environment problems identified in WP6 Tasks 1 (profiling the case study catchments) and 2 (selection of sub-catchments to represent compliance challenges), measures discussed referred to changes in agricultural practices and mainly focussed on the reduction in the use of N/P fertilizers, setting aside irrigated land, crop rotation and introducing buffer zones. Participants indicated farm sectors which were mainly “responsible” for non-compliance and provided valuable information relating to the application of fertilizers and irrigation, including the timing of these two operations per crop. Also, relationships between N/P applications and crop yields and the impacts of alternative crop rotations on fertilization were discussed in detail. Ultimately, five combined measures were identified for cotton, maize and clover and two options were specified for citrus plantations.
With regard to climate change, concerns were focused on lower water level, decreased water supplies and sudden and extreme runoff during summer prior to sowing maize and cotton. Farmers showed a clear understanding of the economic and financial consequences of climate change. However, the implications of alternative climate change scenarios for the Louros proved difficult to grasp for the majority of the Louros stakeholders.
Overall, the workshop confirmed the importance of stakeholder involvement in the specification of measures to improve environmental conditions in Louros. Information on local agricultural practices provided by local stakeholders tended to be more reliable than that from regional or national sources and was thus utilized in the workshop discussions. This facilitated the choice of effective mitigation measures which can also be feasibly applied in this local context. Hence, particularly where the institutional framework is rather weak and in a region current vulnerable to structural adjustment, it seems that the active involvement of stakeholders could positively contribute to better targeting of environmental policy interventions.
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