Hotspot Shallow waters and peat meadow areas

The Netherlands has many shallow water systems such as lakes and pools as well as numerous ditches and canals. These shallow water systems form an environment type characteristic of peat meadow areas in a low lying delta. Their unique scenic qualities in the Netherlands make the peat meadow areas highly valued, both nationally and internationally.

Weerribben area near Kalenberg
Weerribben area

The fundamental problem in the peat meadow region is continued uneven soil subsidence, which results in cost inefficiency of the water system management. Climate change increases these spatial frictions. The rising sea level increases salinisation of the soil, water stress increases as a result of lack of clean fresh water and an increase in evaporation during the summer, and the safety risks increase due to land subsidence.

The shallow water systems fulfil functions such as water storage, nature conservation and recreation. An increasing amount of construction is taking place on the water and at the water’s edge, for example at the IJmeer and Gooimeer lakes. Water areas are also increasingly introduced in urban areas. Climate change is expected to have an adverse effect on the quality and ecological status of water in the Netherlands. It will probably result in an increase in blue-green algae and floating water plants. Water turbidity is also expected to increase.

The objective for this Hotspot was to develop knowledge regarding the effects of climate change and how to anticipate them as far as the quality and ecological status of shallow waters in the Netherlands are concerned. A second objective was to develop knowledge concerning intense and continued uneven soil subsidence in the peat meadow region, resulting in increased salinisation, increased water stress, intensified peat decomposition and increased nutrient leaching during heavy rain storms.

Particular areas of interest were:

    • Research into the effects of physical-chemical and microbiological processes related to re-wetting, land reclamation, water stress and peat decomposition
    • Research into the influence of a rise in temperature on lake ecosystems
    • Assessment of user scenarios and their implications for a range of user objectives

Midterm Assessment 2012 (webpage)
Jos T.A. Verhoeven (Utrecht University) (2012). Hotspot Shallow waters and peat meadow areas, Midterm Assessment 2012, KfC report number 70/2012.

Projects and Publications

Read more about HSOV1a

HSOV1a: Climate effects on decomposition in drained peat meadows
This project quantified the effects of climate change on the rates of decomposition and mineralisation of peat (and resulting soil subsidence and nutrient release) in drained peat meadows used for agriculture. Data were analysed in models to investigate effects of the changes for soil subsidence, nutrient leaching and water quality... read more

Read more about HSOV1b

HSOV1b: Climate influence on water quality: which trends are already apparent? 
Climate change has complex influences on the aquatic ecosystem. This project provides insight in the nature and scale of observable and expected impacts of climate change on water quality and aquatic ecology through statistical analysis of several large Dutch data sets. Management actions that may improve the water quality are highlighted... read more

Read more about HSOV1c

HSOV1c: Managing climate effects in peat meadows and shallow lakes
Using workshops, this project tested the effectivity of interactive spatial decision support tools for generating and evaluating adaptation strategies for peat meadow areas. Techniques are integrated in a spatial decision support framework which is implemented in hardware suitable for interactive use in workshops... read more

Handboek voor Opties voor Regionale Adaptatiestrategieën voor de Veenweidegebieden

HSOV3.1: Manual for Options for Regional Adaptation Strategies in peat meadow areas including shallow waters
This project aimed at the scoping, compiling and writing of a manual which contains the current state-of- the-art for Options for Regional Adaptation Strategies to climate change for the Shallow Waters and Peat Meadow Areas in the Netherlands... read more

HSOV3.2: Regional adaptation strategies in Frisian peat meadows
The main goal of this project was to design regional adaptation strategies for climate change in the peat meadow areas of Friesland, the Netherlands, in liaison with the development of a strategic long-term planning policy by the province and water authority is.... read more

List with all the Shallow waters and peat meadow areas publications

Adjacent projects

  • PEATBOG (European Research Association BiodivERsA programme)