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Conflicting Environmental Management Tools: Grazing of Semi-natural Grasslands vs. Wetland Conservation
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The study explores the possibility of conflicts between conservation of wetlands and semi-natural grasslands in the county of Stockholm. Both habitats are important to protect from a biodiversity perspective. The species rich semi-natural grasslands have been created by agricultural practices like grazing and mowing. At the same time, wetlands have diminished due to earlier drainage in order to increase the area of arable land. Both habitats are incorporated in the Swedish Environmental Objectives and are parts of the EU’s Agri-Environmental Schemes (AES), where farmers get financial support to maintain or restore valuable habitats.

Wetland conservation/restoration often requires raised water tables, but also maintenance with cattle grazing in certain areas. On the other hand, raised water tables can act as hinder for grazing animals and lead to conflict situations. Using a mixed method approach, this study scrutinized if the use of different management tools can result in conflicts between actors and objectives. The study is based on a literature review, interviews and the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Institutionalism and the Institutional Analysis and Development framework are used to analyze and evaluate the situation in the county of Stockholm.

The quantitative results reveal that 12,8 % of all semi-natural grasslands of high biological value intersects with wetlands. However, these areas are maintained with environmental support to a larger extent than semi-natural grasslands outside wetlands. This indicates there is no conflict between wetland and semi-natural grassland conservation, a perception shared by authorities. From farmers’ perspective the situation is described differently, rule compliance for environmental support is hard to obtain specifically in wet areas. Increased dialogue between authorities and farmers rather than harsh inspections would be preferable as the county of Stockholm needs more farmers and grazing cattle to maintain biologically important habitats.

Grazing in wetlands is needed from a biodiversity perspective but can at the same time disturb the wetlands functioning of nutrient reduction. There is a risk of authorities prioritizing water quality in front of biodiversity in conflicting situations. Water, as a common-pool recourse, is surrounded by stricter regulation and also easier to monitor.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 42 p.
Keyword [en]
biodiversity, institutionalism, rational choice, environmental support, Agri-Environmental Schemes, environmental objectives
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-22674OAI: diva2:704447
Subject / course
Environmental Science
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2014-03-12 Created: 2014-03-12 Last updated: 2014-03-12Bibliographically approved

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