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Report, 2013

Consequences of future nutrient load scenarios on multiple benefits of agricultural production

Collentine, Dennis; Eckersten, Henrik; Norman Haldén, Anna; R Ottoson, Jakob; Salomon, Eva; Sundin, Sofi; Tattari, Sirkka; Braun, Judith; Kuussaari, Mikko


Nutrient load rates to the Baltic Sea need to be reduced. Agricultural land is regarded as the most significant contributor to the loads, and measures to reduce losses of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) loads have been proposed, both for the near and far future. Agricultural production was to a large extent considered in these scenarios, whereas effects on other ecosystem services were not evaluated. The question to be answered by this report is whether the measures adopted to reduce N and P losses improve or impair multiple benefits of agriculture. The question is answered for a specific catchment (Svärtaån) located in Sweden, but the method is thoroughly described to provide a potential method to also evaluate other catchments. This work was performed as a part of the Baltic Compass project (2013). The answer to the main question of whether the measures adopted to reduce N and P losses from agricultural fields improved or impaired multiple benefits of agriculture, seems to be that they improved. Most of the BAP measures had a positive influence on most of the MB-categories, the clearest exception being liming in tile drains which only improved the cost effectiveness. Except for water protection, the biosecurity MB-category was positively influenced by the most measures (6 out of 9) and with soil quality the next highest (5 out of 9). It is less clear how the absolute values evaluated for the MB index, can be compared among MB-categories. Among the BAP-measures, structural liming was the most positive measure (summing up the indices of all MB-categories), followed by buffer-zones and spring cultivation the next, although the cost effectiveness of these latter measures was evaluated to decrease. In the “unavoidable” future (Future scenarios) GHG emissions strongly increased. The only measure that mitigated that effect was reduced N fertilisation, providing more arguments for applying reduced fertilisation than only to reduce leaching.


Adaptation; GHG emissions; Biosecurity; Biodiversity; Cost effectiveness; Soil quality; Water protection; Climate change; Catchment

Published in

Report from the Department of Crop Production Ecology (VPE)
2013, number: 17
Publisher: Institutionen för växtproduktionsekologi, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet