12.5.5 Wetlands and aquatic ecosystems
Better management practices are needed to compensate for possible climate-related increases in nutrient loading to aquatic ecosystems from cultivated fields in northern Europe (Ragab and Prudhomme, 2002; Viner et al., 2006). These practices include ‘optimised’ fertiliser use and (re-)establishment of wetland areas and river buffer zones as sinks for nutrients (Olesen et al., 2004). New wetlands could also dampen the effects of increased frequency of flooding. A higher level of treatment of domestic and industrial sewage and reduction in farmland areas can further reduce nutrient loadings to surface waters and also compensate for climate-related increases in these loadings. Practical possibilities for adaptation in northern wetlands are limited and may only be realised as part of integrated landscape management including the minimisation of unregulated anthropogenic pressure, avoiding the physical destruction of surface and applying appropriate technologies for infrastructure development on permafrost (Ivanov and Maximov, 2003). Protection of drained peatlands against fire in European Russia is an important regional problem which requires the restoration of drainage systems and the regulation of water regimes in such territories (Zeidelman and Shvarov, 2002).
In southern Europe, to compensate for increased climate-related risks (lowering of the water table, salinisation, eutrophication, species loss) (Williams, 2001; Zalidas et al., 2002), a lessening of the overall human burden on water resources is needed. This would involve stimulating water saving in agriculture, relocating intensive farming to less environmentally sensitive areas and reducing diffuse pollution, increasing the recycling of water, increasing the efficiency of water allocation among different users, favouring the recharge of aquifers and restoring riparian vegetation, among others (Alvarez Cobelas et al., 2005).