Comparing nutrient reference concentrations in Nordic countries with focus on lowland rivers

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Eva Skarbøvik, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research
  • ,
  • Jukka Aroviita, Finnish Environment Institute
  • ,
  • Jens Fölster, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • ,
  • Anne Lyche Solheim, Norwegian Institute for Water Research
  • ,
  • Katarina Kyllmar, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • ,
  • Katri Rankinen, Finnish Environment Institute
  • ,
  • Brian Kronvang

Reference conditions of water bodies are defined as the natural or minimal anthropogenically disturbed state. We compared the methods for determining total phosphorus and total nitrogen concentrations in rivers in Finland, Norway and Sweden as well as the established reference conditions and evaluated the possibility for transfer and harmonisation of methods. We found that both methods and values differed, especially for lowland rivers with a high proportion of agriculture in the catchment. Since Denmark has not yet set reference conditions for rivers, two of the Nordic methods were tested for Danish conditions. We conclude that some of the established methods are promising but that further development is required. We moreover argue that harmonisation of reference conditions is needed to obtain common benchmarks for assessing the impacts of current and future land use changes on water quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1771-1783
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Nordic, Nutrients, Reference conditions, Rivers, WFD

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