Participatory Social-Ecological Modeling in Eutrophication Management: the Case of Himmerfjärden, Sweden
Frida Franzén, Södertörn University, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Enveco Environmental Economics Consultancy Ltd.
Gerda Kinell, Enveco Environmental Economics Consultancy Ltd.
Jakob Walve, Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University
Ragnar Elmgren, Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University
Tore Söderqvist, Enveco Environmental Economics Consultancy Ltd.
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Stakeholder participation is increasingly seen as central in natural resource management. It is also required by the European Union Water Framework Directive, which identifies three levels of participation; information, consultation, and active involvement. In this paper we discuss the active involvement of stakeholders, using our experience from a case study in the Himmerfjärden region, which is a coastal area southwest of Stockholm, Sweden. Our study used the systems approach proposed by the European Union research project called Science and Policy Integration for Coastal System Assessment (SPICOSA), in which local stakeholders and a study site team constructed an integrated simulation model of a crucial coastal management issue. In this case the issue was nitrogen enrichment. We showed how stakeholder participation in the modeling process helped identify interesting and currently relevant management scenarios, and how the modeling process facilitated communication of the likely ecological, economic, and social effects of these scenarios to the stakeholders. In addition, stakeholders also reported social gains in terms of network building. We managed to actively involve local stakeholders in water issues, and the research process clearly strengthened the social capital in the Himmerfjärden region, and created a basis for future collaboration regarding water management. Our experience indicates that the approach we tried is a useful tool for promoting active stakeholder involvement in water management projects. Also, the results of our science and policy integration approach indicated that the study site team assumed a leadership role, which is a commonly recognized factor in successful natural resource management.
adaptive management; Baltic Sea region; coastal eutrophication; Himmerfjärden; integrated modeling; social-ecological modeling; SPICOSA; stakeholder participation; Water Framework Directive; water management