Call for research funding directed to Wetland ecosystem services The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Swedish EPA) hereby invite researchers to apply for projects aiming to increase knowledge of wetland ecosystem services. svenska Share Contact Listen The ecosystem services prioritized in the call are water management in wetlands, balance of water flow and/or groundwater formation as a part of climate adaptation as well as retention of metals. The call has two parts. Part A addresses wetlands as a nature-based solution for climate adaptation. Part B addresses the possibility of wetlands to hinder leakage of metals and/or diminish negative effects of such leakage. The Swedish EPA invites researchers or research groups to apply for funding for projects of up to SEK 5 million distributed over three years (2020–2022). The aim is that several projects will be funded. The total budget for the call is approximately SEK 30 million. The closing date for applications is September 3rd, 2019. Aim The aim of the call is to produce knowledge on wetland ecosystem services that contributes to the work at the Swedish EPA, the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM), the Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU) and the county administrative boards. The results should help in guidance on conservation and restoration, climate adaptation, other planning and development of financial and legal instruments for improving the environment. It is especially important that conservation and restoration actions are performed at geographic locations where they matter the most and best deliver ecosystem services. In this call we define wetlands as land where water is right beneath, in or above the land surface during large parts of the year as well as vegetation covered water areas and the riparian zone. Projects need to consider the actual climate but even include how the results will change according to a suitable selection of the IPCC's different climate scenarios(1) and if possible identify break points where the effects on climate become negative or positive as compared to earlier. The results need to be relevant for Nordic circumstances. Environmental challenges Wetlands have been influenced by ditching and other water activities which has led to lowered groundwater levels and sometimes an increase in biomass and over-growth. The species confined to wetlands are disfavored and the number of threatened wetland species increases. The magnitude of ecosystem services delivered is lower than it could be. This along with other factors contribute to the fact that the Swedish environmental objective Thriving wetlands will not be reached by the specified time and that measures need to be taken to a larger degree than earlier. This was a conclusion from the extended evaluation of the environmental objectives 2019(2). Even the possibility to reach other environmental objectives can be affected by the environmental condition of wetlands. The Swedish EPA has in its report of a governmental assignment(3) identified that knowledge may be improved on i) ditched and intact wetlands actual effect on the climate system, depending on their balance of green house gases, which variates according to the type of wetland, nutrient content, geographical position and hydrology, ii) climate change and its effect on wetlands according to climate scenarios, iii) hydrology, possibility to store water and creating a more natural flow and run-off , iv) possibility for cleaning water from pesticides and pharmaceuticals, and v) the importance of the wetlands for which present forms of mercury. In another report of a governmental assignment about climate adaptation(4), aims and measures for climate adaptation within the Swedish EPA's responsibility have been identified. An important perspective is to increase the knowledge on how wetlands can be used to decrease the negative effects of a changed climate. The call is relevant for fulfilling several environmental objectives, for example Thriving Wetlands, Flourishing Lakes and Streams, Good-Quality Groundwater, Reduced Climate Impact, A Non-Toxic Environment and A Rich Diversity of Plant and Animal Life. Part A: Wetlands in climate adaptation The landscape needs to be adapted to climate change related risks as for example droughts and floods(1). Wetlands can diminish the effects of drought and floods as well as function as barriers to wild fires. The possibility of the landscape to handle the variations in water amounts needs to be improved. Depending on the geological conditions a rewetting in earlier ditched areas may in some cases help to deliver a better groundwater availability in surrounding soils. When measures are performed as climate adaptation in the landscape and its waterflows it is important to take a larger geographical perspective, considering the hydrology and geology of the area to secure measures to be taken at correct places and obtain desirable effects. This may account for catchment areas and sub-basins in a landscape perspective and be concerned with where existing wetlands are located or where future wetlands are planned. A hydrological interaction should be considered. A balance needs to be considered between adaptation of the landscape to diminish floods at the same time as floods needed for the biodiversity are not limited but performed at preferable locations. In what way the wetlands contribute to flows of atmospheric water vapor, and how those flows affect other regions also needs more research. Part A is prepared in cooperation with Formas according to the ten-year national programme on climate. Priorities In part A we especially ask for research on wetland ecosystem services based on hydrology (water management, balance of water flow and/or groundwater formation) in a landscape perspective in considering of catchment and climate adaptation. We have identified the following prioritized questions for research. Projects ought to treat all or part of the following questions: Where, in relation to current and future land use, topography, soil type, bedrock, possibility for consolidated groundwater availability and connectivity as well as biodiversity, in different catchments should wetlands be preserved, restored and constructed? How should they be dimensioned to deliver the best hydrologic ecosystem services? How are the possibilities for wetlands to deliver hydrologic ecosystem services affected by climate change for example considering the wetland type, geographic location and location in the catchment? What role do wetlands have in adding to the atmospheric water vapor flows and how do that effect the climate in surrounding regions? How will existing, restored and newly constructed wetlands complement each other in the landscape and create the best possibilities for a long-term delivery of ecosystem services? Even other ecosystem services may be prioritized in part A in case the research projects illustrate the possibilities to increase the amount of delivered wetland ecosystem services after hydrological restoration and if climate adaptation or the possibility to limit any climate effects and the landscape perspective in location of restoration are of great importance. It may for example concern the possibilities for pasture and mowing for different domesticated animals during normal years and years of feed shortage as well as the possibilities to provide energy plants with enough biofuel. Part B: Wetlands and metals There is a strong relation between wetlands and metals in rotation. Wetlands have a good capability to bind metals and their geochemical environment might lead to transformation of chemical compounds. Part B handles the knowledge on the relation between wetlands and the retention of metals and where restoration will provide best effects. Part B addresses metals reaching the ecosystem from natural and human sources but not from human point sources such as factories or other establishments. Leakage from acid soils, airborne or waterborne mercury or other questions about the retention of metals in wetlands can be included. In part B there is no requirements to include landscape perspectives, but it should be included when it has importance. According to the Swedish EPA report having fulfilled a governmental assignment(3) the relation between wetlands and mercury needs to be examined further. Especially, the information on which wetland types and under which circumstances a wetland will favour or disbenefit mercury methylation, needs to be improved. The same report(3) also states that more information on wetlands and acid soils is needed. Active acid soils are for example formed when ditching is performed in an area with potential acid soils. An active acid soil leaks acid metals and studies have shown that high concentrations of cadmium in streams prevail in areas with acid soils(6). Ditch maintenance may contribute to the leakage of metals(7) while an intact and restored wetland may clean water from metals. Among others we miss information on where restoration measures may have the best positive effects on water quality. Part B has been worked out in cooperation with the SGU. Priorities In part B we especially ask for research on mercury and acid soils. We have identified the following prioritized questions for research. Projects ought to treat all or part of the questions: Which ditched or embanked wetlands are the best to restore to decrease the effects from acid soils? Are there national, regional and/or local geographic differences in the amount of metals leached from an active acid soil if you disregard the time since ditching? What are the measures we could provide and where should they be performed in order to deliver the best water quality and cost efficiency? Which wetland types may decrease or transform the most biologically active forms of mercury? Under which circumstances as to vegetation types, amount of nutrients, pH etc? Many ditches are today described as neglected and in need of maintenance. Which type of areas are better to restore to wetlands than to maintain ditches in order to give the best social and cost benefits as to water quality? Instructions It is important that the relevance for the Swedish EPA and SwAM and other related administrative authorities is clearly stated in the application. We welcome both subject specific and interdisciplinary projects. We urge applicants to propose research projects with active collaboration between research institutions, public administration and civil society. Separate proposals may be made for part A and part B. It is fully acceptable to apply within one part only. However, proposals may even correspond to both part A and B. In this case an application could be assigned to the part that describes the proposal best. Please then describe that both parts are addressed in the project. The main applicant must hold a PhD and conduct research at universities, colleges, research institutes, or government agencies carrying out research as part of its mandate. The main applicant should be affiliated with a Swedish organization with a Swedish corporate identity number ("organisationsnummer"). The main applicant must have reported research projects earlier financed by the Swedish EPA according to plan. The applications are reviewed by international experts and the application should preferably be written in English. The application is made electronically via the Swedish EPA's application portal. Granted researches are expected to participate in the Swedish EPA's annual research conference, annual project meetings, and to allocate resources for communication with the Swedish EPA, authorities and other stakeholders. For more information, see "Instructions for Applicants, Research" [link]. Important dates • September 3, 2019: Deadline for application• December 2019: Funding decision• January 2020: Project start How to apply Instruction for applicants Application portal Contact information Research officer Karin HansenEmail: firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone: 010-698 13 28 Research officer Neda FarahbakhshazadEmail: email@example.comPhone: 010-698 12 50 References (1) IPCC, 2018: Global warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [V. Masson-Delmotte, P. Zhai, H. O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J. B. R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M. I. Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T. Maycock, M. Tignor, T. Waterfield (eds.)]. In Press. (2) Fördjupad utvärdering av miljömålen, 2019. Med förslag till regeringen från myndigheter i samverkan. Huvudrapport. ISBN 98-91-620-6865-3. http://www.naturvardsverket.se/978-91-620-6865-3. (3) Naturvårdsverket (2017). Kunskapsunderlag om våtmarkers ekologiska och vattenhushållande funktion. Redovisning av regeringsuppdrag (M2017/0954/NM). http://www.naturvardsverket.se/upload/miljoarbete-i-samhallet/miljoarbete-i-sverige/regeringsuppdrag/2017/Kunskapsunderlag-vatmarkers-ekologiska-vattenhushallande-funktion.pdf. (4) Naturvårdsverket (2019). Handlingsplan för Naturvårdsverkets arbete med klimatanpassning. Redovisning av regeringsuppdrag i regleringsbrev för 2018. http://www.naturvardsverket.se/upload/miljoarbete-i-samhallet/miljoarbete-i-sverige/regeringsuppdrag/2019/handlingsplan-for-naturvardsverkets-arbete-med-klimatanpassning-20190124.pdf. (5) Andersson K., 2012: Varför multifunktionella våtmarker? En studie om våtmarksimplementering och aktörssamverkan i Sverige. Stockholm Environmental Institute (2012) Working paper. (6) Åström, M. and Björklund, A., 1995: Impact of acid sulfate soils on stream water geochemistry in western Finland. Journal of Geochemical Exploration 55, 163–170. (7) Hansen K., Kronnäs V., Zetterberg T., Setterberg M., Moldan F., Pettersson P., Munthe J., 2013. DiVa - Dikesrensningens effekter på vattenföring, vatten¬kemi och bottenfauna i skogsekosystem. IVL Rapport B2072, 108 pp.