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Consequences of environmental stressors in relation to the feasibility of the nature targets, as defined by Provincial authorities in the Netherlands

Knelpuntanalyse van milieudruk in relatie tot de provinciale natuurdoelen

Synopsis

Nature Balance 2000 brings into focus the bottlenecks expected in 2020 in consequence of the environmental stress on nature policy targets as defined by provincial authorities in the Netherlands. Background information for the analyses are presented, along with provisional maps showing nature targets. Prognoses on effects of environmental policy scenarios also reflect the tentative nature of the analysis. Information on plant species composition has been used to generate maps of environmental conditions necessary for the realisation of the targets. These environmental conditions are defined in terms of critical loads for acid and nitrogen deposition, and desirable groundwater levels. In the analysis these critical loads and groundwater levels were confronted with the current environmental conditions as well as the expected conditions around 2020, the date for realisation. The environmental conditions in 2020 have been calculated with models and make use of environmental policy scenarios. The main focus is on the consequences of sulphur and nitrogen emission reductions, as defined in the UN-Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP). Attention has also been paid to the consequences of future prognoses for changes in groundwater levels. The analyses indicate that environmental conditions for groundwater and deposition are now causing and will continue to cause serious bottlenecks to realisation of the nature targets. Even if the CLRTAP goals for reduction of emission of sulphur and nitrogen compounds are met, the acid and nitrogen deposition will exceed the critical loads in large parts of the Netherlands. However, in some parts, especially on clay soils, the environmental stress caused by acidification and eutrophication will be reduced. The threat to the targets for wet and moist habitats caused by low groundwater levels will still be very serious in 2020.Since the threats occur in a large area, nature targets might be benefitted by generic environmental measures lowering the overall environmental stress caused by high deposition and low groundwater levels. At most sites critical levels are exceeded by more than one environmental factor; for this reason the focus should be on integrated strategies to increase possibilities for the realisation of nature targets.
 

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