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Table 1 Planned management options for Groot Wilnis-Vinkeveen (Stichting Ontwikkeling De Venen 2010) and their potential implications

From: Screening regional management options for their impact on climate resilience: an approach and case study in the Venen-Vechtstreek wetlands in the Netherlands

Option in management covenant Option in case study Description and potential implications
Agriculture
 Subsidising plot dams/culverts A1 Option for optimising the plot arrangement and accessibility. It would allow for faster movement over the agricultural land in times of flooding, increasing high flux. It also increases the options for water management in the region: there are more ways to get water in or out, improving redundancy
 New, additional pumping station at Korenmolenweg (included in A1) Option for optimising plot accessibility. It can be part of a feedback system to keep the water level constant, improving homeostasis
 Subsidising (pilots for) under water drainage A2 Option for optimising plot accessibility. It increases the ability of agriculture to handle higher water tables in a dynamic way (homeostasis), and limits soil subsidence. It also spreads the water dependence of the drained plot over multiple water sources, increasing omnivory. Potential co-benefit is that limiting soil subsidence is also good for natural areas. Potential negative side effects could take place on meadow birds and local water quality
 Realisation of balanced fertilization, earlier than currently obligatory A3 Using only the amount and type of fertilizer that is necessary, will lead to less eutrophication and possibly lower costs for the farmer. Co-benefits: cleaner water, potentially higher biodiversity on agricultural land and in the water
 Stimulating the switch to biological farming A4 Biological farming uses ecosystem feedbacks to control pests (homeostasis). It could also help dairy farmers improve their chances of survival in the future, e.g. by being more responsive to current societal trends (homeostasis), and less dependent on marginal markets (buffering). If applied in a broader way (beyond only fertilizers and pesticides) to stimulate diversification of production, it could increase omnivory. Could present many co-benefits: for recreation, clean water, biodiversity, health of humans and animals, and reduced CO2 footprint
 Stimulating business upscaling Option to increase economic viability of farms. It would result in larger, but fewer companies, which would reduce the redundancy of the region: if a company runs into problems, a larger fraction of the economy would be impacted. The measure may make it easier for large companies to mobilise resources for innovations and adaptations, increasing high flux. It could entail co-benefits for water quality, if it also increases the availability of resources for environmental management on farms (e.g. limiting nutrient leaching)
 Employing an area broker for agrarian entrepreneurs Option for stimulating and supporting entrepreneurship. Provides knowledge and connections that can stimulate agrarians to offer ‘green and blue services’ (omnivory), and improve communication among actors (high flux). It may have co-benefits for recreation, nature, and water quality
 Subsidising business plans aimed at making business more sustainable and diverse (e.g. green and blue services and agro-tourism) Option for stimulating and supporting entrepreneurship. Increases omnivory and flatness, because it will make agribusinesses more diverse, with a broader income base. It could also improve homeostasis, assuming it will increase the synergy between green services, blue services, dairy farming and tourism. Co-benefits: good for tourism and nature
Nature
 In the core area for meadow birds, a marshland connection will be realised through a diffuse system of capillaries passing existing waterways, with natural banks of at least 5 m wide and containing several, spread out ‘marshland beads’ N1 The marshland connection and capillaries will provide a habitat for many species and (alternative) corridors through which other species can migrate (redundancy, homeostasis), including animals and plants (Soomers et al. 2013). It also increases water buffering. It will have co-benefits: cleaner water (marshland filters the water), and enhanced recreation
 New (marshland) nature will be realised on the lowest plots. About 50 ha, 20 % of water level Sect. 9 (included in N1) Water level Sect. 9 is the lowest area in elevation; i.e. hardest to keep dry for agricultural purposes, and easiest to turn into marshland nature. Conversion to marshland will reduce the need for pumping (lower quality) water from low-lying agricultural lands into higher nature areas, stimulating and reducing pressure on natural processes (homeostasis). The area can also serve as water buffer. This has co-benefits for agriculture, water management and quality, and reduce subsidence. Moving farmers will require much effort (e.g., cooperation, work, finances)
 For the combined marsh- and wetland connection, a single width (100 m) of marshland or wetland chain will be constructed, instead of the sum of two widths (included in N1) Marshland and wetland are good for water quality, because they improve natural water cleaning (homeostasis). They also improve water retention (buffering), which limits drought and flood related problems. These effects have co-benefits for nature and agriculture. The options also adds variation to the landscape, which has co-benefits for recreation
 Dredging all waterways, increasing water depth to 0.5 m in secondary and tertiary waterways N2 Can be beneficial for aquatic macroinvertebrates, but is in conflict with having natural banks. Perhaps a minor recreation benefit: better access by canoe
 Stimulating natural dynamics in water levels, in part by retaining water on shallow, partly dug-off, natural banks. Where this conflicts with agrarian use, alternative measures will be taken to achieve comparable conditions N3 Certain valuable bank plants require reasonably natural dynamics in water level. This can be enhanced by retaining rain water on shallow, partly dug off, natural banks (relates to homeostasis). Natural banks can also filter water (homeostasis) and improve water buffering. They have co-benefits for clean water and recreation
 The inlet of water is reduced to a minimum N5 This reduces the intake of water with lower water quality from neighbouring areas, therefore reducing pressure on the natural water cleaning capacity (removing existing negative impacts on homeostasis). This benefits water quality and nature. However, it also involves a risk of keeping contaminants in the system for a longer period of time (reducing high flux)
 The nature goals are fitted optimally into the existing landscape. Because swamp and brushwood (part of the wetland goal) don’t fit in the open peat-meadow landscape and clash with meadow birds and farming, the robust nature connection is split up into two different routes Two different routes, with different characteristics, provide ways for species to migrate and move across the region. As some species may be able to migrate using either route, this could increase omnivory. It may however make individual routes more vulnerable, because they are only half as wide. Some recreation co-benefits: it keeps nature development in line with current open landscape, which is a key characteristic and main selling point of the region
Water Quality
 Realisation of natural banks (35 km) (included in N3) Vegetation cleans the water by filtering (homeostasis). It involves co-benefits for nature as it provides a habitat for species, and co-benefits for recreation as it increases the area’s aesthetic value
 An extra main water-course N4 This would allow water to be moved faster, either out of the area in case of flooding, or to the area in case of drought (high flux). The water-course itself can be a buffer, if water can be stored in it for a while (buffering)
Recreation
 Canoe route: through Donkereind and Demmerik and de Geuzensloot This option could increase homeostasis: visits and income from tourists will depend on the attractiveness of the area, providing an impetus for policymakers to address climate change impacts and other pressures. It does put pressure on nature and water quality, but this is limited if it only involves quiet, ‘muscle-powered’ recreation (no speedboats, etc.). Primary effect may be as co-benefit to other functions, e.g. nature (natural beauty is important for visitors), water quality (as previous), and agriculture (diversifying sources of income)
 Hiking and biking routes: through the nature reserves As previous