University of Oulu

Marttila, H., Lepistö, A., Tolvanen, A. et al. Potential impacts of a future Nordic bioeconomy on surface water quality. Ambio 49, 1722–1735 (2020).

Potential impacts of a future Nordic bioeconomy on surface water quality

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Author: Marttila, Hannu1; Lepistö, Ahti2; Tolvanen, Anne3;
Organizations: 1Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4300, 90014, Oulu, Finland
2Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Freshwater Centre, Latokartanonkaari 11, 00790, Helsinki, Finland
3Natural Resources Institute Finland, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 413, 90014, Oulu, Finland
4Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), Fredrik A. Dahls vei 20, 1430, Ås, Norway
5Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), P.O. Box 115, 1431, Ås, Norway
6Department of Soil and Environment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7014, 75007, Uppsala, Sweden
7Norwegian University of Life Science, Ås, Norway
8Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7050, 75007, Uppsala, Sweden
9Finnish Environment Institute, Latokartanonkaari 11, 00790, Helsinki, Finland
10Finnish Environment Institute, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 413, 90014, Oulu, Finland
11Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Vejlsøvej 25, 8600, Silkeborg, Denmark
12Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Gaustadalléen 21, 0349, Oslo, Norway
13University of Agder, Pb 422, 4604, Kristiansand, Norway
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-10-30


Nordic water bodies face multiple stressors due to human activities, generating diffuse loading and climate change. The ‘green shift’ towards a bio-based economy poses new demands and increased pressure on the environment. Bioeconomy-related pressures consist primarily of more intensive land management to maximise production of biomass. These activities can add considerable nutrient and sediment loads to receiving waters, posing a threat to ecosystem services and good ecological status of surface waters. The potential threats of climate change and the ‘green shift’ highlight the need for improved understanding of catchment-scale water and element fluxes. Here, we assess possible bioeconomy-induced pressures on Nordic catchments and associated impacts on water quality. We suggest measures to protect water quality under the ‘green shift’ and propose ‘road maps’ towards sustainable catchment management. We also identify knowledge gaps and highlight the importance of long-term monitoring data and good models to evaluate changes in water quality, improve understanding of bioeconomy-related impacts, support mitigation measures and maintain ecosystem services.

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Series: Ambio. A journal of the human environment
ISSN: 0044-7447
ISSN-E: 1654-7209
ISSN-L: 0044-7447
Volume: 49
Pages: 1722 - 1735
DOI: 10.1007/s13280-020-01355-3
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 218 Environmental engineering
Funding: Open access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital. This paper was supported by the Nordic Centre of Excellence ‘BIOWATER’, funded by NordForsk under Project no. 82263.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2020. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit