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Project

REFRESH Adaptive strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate change on European freshwater ecosystems


Description:

REFRESH is concerned with the development of a system that will enable water managers to design cost-effective restoration programmes for freshwater ecosystems at the local and catchment scales that account for the expected future impacts of climate change and land-use change in the context of the WFD and Habitats Directive. At its centre is a process-based evaluation of the specific adaptive measures that might be taken to minimise the consequences of climate change on freshwater quantity, quality and biodiversity.

The project 'Adaptive strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate change on European freshwater ecosystems' (REFRESH) had three overarching goals. The first was to increase understanding of how freshwater ecosystems will respond to changes caused by climate, land use, water use and pollution over the next 50-60 years. Additional goals involved translating this knowledge into a form that can be used by water managers and ensuring the uptake of results by target stakeholders. Consortium members focused on three principal climate-related and interacting pressures: increasing temperature, changes in water levels and flow regimes, and excess nutrients. The work was conducted primarily in lowland rivers, lakes and wetlands as they often pose the greatest challenges in complying with the requirements of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and Habitats Directive. Studies of streams provided a basis for applying knowledge on the effects of climate change and land-use change on the structure, functioning and biodiversity in rivers. They also provided insights into the effectiveness of adaption and mitigation methods to restore rivers. Scientists found that shading beside streams can help offset the impact of increased temperature and influence stream biodiversity. Increased winter flooding was found to have a longer-term effect on river vegetation. Stagnation and drought experiments provided insights into the role of low flow and drought in rivers and potential losses to the ecosystem. The experiments provided thresholds for low flow and drought in Atlantic lowland rivers. River flow and oxygen appeared vital for rivers and affect the functioning of the ecosystem. Good oxygen regimes and healthy flow conditions help ensure the objectives of the EU's WFD and Habitats Directive are met. Therefore, specific adaptive measures were evaluated and used to minimise the expected adverse effects of climate change on freshwater quantity, quality and biodiversity.

Project information

Lead

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON (UK) KERNAN Martin

Partners

* STICHTING DIENST LANDBOUWKUNDIG ONDERZOEK (NL)
* UNIVERSITEIT UTRECHT (NL)
* TRENT UNIVERSITY (CA)
* CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE (FR)
* GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY AUSTRALIA
* STICHTING DELTARES (NL)
* EESTI MAAULIKOOL (ESTONIA)
* AGENCIA ESTATAL CONSEJO SUPERIOR DE INVESTIGACIONES CIENTIFICAS (ES)
* UNIVERSITY OF PATRAS (EL)
* BIOLOGICKE CENTRUM AV CR, V. V. I. (CZ)
* NORSK INSTITUTT FOR VANNFORSKNING (NO)
* NORWEGIAN INSTITUTE FOR AGRICULTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH - BIOFORSK (NO)
* UNIVERSITAET DUISBURG-ESSEN (DE)
* FORSCHUNGSVERBUND BERLIN E.V. (DE)
* SUOMEN YMPARISTOKESKUS (FI)
* COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES - DIRECTORATE GENERAL JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE - JRC (BE)
* AARHUS UNIVERSITET (DK)
* UNIVERSITAET FUER BODENKULTUR WIEN (AT)
* THE MACAULAY LAND USE RESEARCH INSTITUTE (UK)
* UNIVERSITAT DE BARCELONA (ES)
* THE UNIVERSITY OF READING (UK)
* MIDDLE EAST TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY (TR)
* NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (UK)
* SVERIGES LANTBRUKSUNIVERSITET (SE)

Source of funding

FP 7

Reference information

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