Eva Skarbøvik

Head of Department/Head of Research

(+47) 416 28 622
eva.skarbovik@nibio.no

Place
Ås O43

Visiting address
Oluf Thesens vei 43, 1433 Ås

Biography

Education
PhD from the University of Oslo 1993: Phosphorus and fine grained sediments in rivers.
 
Experience and competence:
  • Water quality monitoring according to the EU Water Framework Directive
  • Environmental measures in catchments
  • Integrated water resources management
  • Erosion and transport processes in rivers
  • Effects of climate change on water courses
  • Environmental effects of hydropower development (hydrology, water chemistry, sediment loads).

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Abstract

In the future, the world is expected to rely increasingly on renewable biomass resources for food, fodder, fibre and fuel. The sustainability of this transition to bioeconomy for our water systems depends to a large extent on how we manage our land resources. Changes in land use together with climate change will affect water quantity and quality, which again will have implications for the ecosystem services provided by water resources. These are the main topics of this Ambio special issue on ‘‘Environmental effects of a green bio-economy’’. This paper offers a summary of the eleven papers included in this issue and, at the same time, outlines an approach to quantify and mitigate the impacts of bioeconomy on water resources and their ecosystem services, with indications of useful tools and knowledge needs.

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Abstract

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 reference 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.

Abstract

Denne rapporten er en litteratursammenstilling over tap av suspendert stoff, fosfor og nitrogen fra arealer med hhv. jordbruk og skog/utmark. I tillegg er det gjort en vurdering av tilsvarende tap i perioden der nydyrking gjennomføres. I de norske studiene som er gjennomgått er gjennomsnittlige tap av nitrogen 17 ganger høyere fra jordbruk enn fra skog. Tilsvarende er fosfortap 56 ganger høyere og tap av suspendert stoff 106 ganger høyere fra jordbruk enn fra skog.

Abstract

Phosphorus retention and bank erosion was investigated in two types of buffer zones in cereal fields in Norway: zones used for grass production and zones with natural vegetation. Farmers’ views on the two types of buffer zones were collected through questionnaires and indepth interviews. Our results indicate that the grassed buffer zones had higher levels of plant-available phosphorus and lower infiltration rates than the natural ones. Bank erosion was higher in zones with grass production than those with trees. Interviews with farmers revealed diverging opinions on the zones. Most farmers were sceptical to natural vegetation with trees, whereas farmers who had already planted trees in the riparian zones were generally satisfied. Buffer zones can have many different functions, and we conclude that a holistic approach is needed when assessing the usefulness of this measure, taking into account water quality, biodiversity and the production of food, fodder and biomass.

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Abstract

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.

Abstract

A negative impact of multiple anthropogenic stressors on surface waters can be observed worldwide threatening fresh- and marine water ecosystem functioning, integrity and services. Water pollution may result from point or diffuse sources. An important difference between a point and a diffuse source is that a point source may be collected, treated or controlled. Agricultural activities related to crop production are considered as diffuse sources and are among the main contributors of nutrient loads to open water courses, being to a large degree responsible for the eutrophication of inland and coastal waters. Knowledge of hydrological and biogeochemical processes are needed for climate adaptive water management as well as for introducing mitigation measures aiming to improve surface water quality. Mathematical models have the potential to estimate changes in hydrological and biogeochemical processes under changing climatic or land use conditions. These models, indeed, need careful calibration and testing before being applied in decision making. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of various water protective adaptation strategies and mitigation measures in reducing the soil particle and nutrient losses towards surface water courses from agricultural dominated catchments. We applied the INCA-N and INCA-P models to a well-studied Norwegian watershed belonging to the Norwegian Agricultural Environmental Monitoring Program. Available measurements on water discharge, TN and TP concentration of stream water and local expert knowledge were used as reference data on land-use specific sediment, N and P losses. The calibration and the validation of both the models was successful; the Nash-Sutcliffe statistics indicated good agreement between the measured and simulated discharge and nutrient loads data. Further, we created a scenario matrix consisting of land use and soil management scenarios combined with different climate change scenarios. Our results indicate that land use change can lead to more significant reduction in particle and nutrient losses than changes in agricultural practices. The most favourable scenario for freshwater ecosystems would be afforestation: changing half of the agricultural areas to forest would reduce sediment, total N and total P losses by approximately 44, 35 and 40%, respectively. Changes in agricultural practices could also improve the situation, especially by reducing areas with autumn tillage to a minimum. We concluded, that the implementation of realistic land use and soil management scenarios still would not lead to satisfactory reduction in freshwater pollution. Hence, mitigation measures, enhancing water and particle retention in the landscape – as sedimentation ponds, constructed wetlands etc. – are important in facing the upcoming pressures on water quality in the future.

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Abstract

In this paper, we outline several recent insights for the priorities and challenges for future research for reducing phosphorus (P) based water eutrophication in the agricultural landscapes of Northwest Europe.We highlight that new research efforts best be focused on headwater catchments as they are a key influence on the initial chemistry of the larger river catchments, and here many management interventions are most effectively made. We emphasize the lack of understanding on how climate change will impact on P losses from agricultural landscapes. Particularly, the capability to disentangle current and future trends in P fluxes, due to climate change itself, from climate driven changes in agricultural management practices and P inputs. Knowing that, future climatic change trajectories for Western Europe will accelerate the release of the most bioavailable soil P. We stress the ambiguities created by the large varieties of sources and storage/transfer processes involved in P emissions in landscapes and the need to develop specific data treatment methods or tracers able to circumvent them, thereby helping catchment managers to identify the ultimate P sources that most contribute to diffuse P emissions. We point out that soil and aqueous P exist not only in various chemical forms, but also in range of less considered physical forms e.g., dissolved, nanoparticulate, colloidal and other particulates, all affected differently by climate as well as other environmental factors, and require bespoke mitigation measures. We support increased high resolution monitoring of headwater catchments, to not only help verify the effectiveness of catchments mitigation strategies, but also add data to further develop new water quality models (e.g., those include Fe-P interactions) which can deal with climate and land use change effects within an uncertainty framework. We finally conclude that there is a crucial need for more integrative research efforts to deal with our incomplete understanding of the mechanisms and processes associated with the identification of critical source areas, P mobilization, delivery and biogeochemical processing, as otherwise even highintensity and high-resolution research efforts will only reveal an incomplete picture of the full global impact of the terrestrial derived P on downstream aquatic and marine ecosystems.

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Abstract

Soils are vital for supporting food security and other ecosystem services. Climate change can affect soil functions both directly and indirectly. Direct effects include temperature, precipitation, and moisture regime changes. Indirect effects include those that are induced by adaptations such as irrigation, crop rotation changes, and tillage practices. Although extensive knowledge is available on the direct effects, an understanding of the indirect effects of agricultural adaptation options is less complete. A review of 20 agricultural adaptation case‐studies across Europe was conducted to assess implications to soil threats and soil functions and the link to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The major findings are as follows: (a) adaptation options reflect local conditions; (b) reduced soil erosion threats and increased soil organic carbon are expected, although compaction may increase in some areas; (c) most adaptation options are anticipated to improve the soil functions of food and biomass production, soil organic carbon storage, and storing, filtering, transforming, and recycling capacities, whereas possible implications for soil biodiversity are largely unknown; and (d) the linkage between soil functions and the SDGs implies improvements to SDG 2 (achieving food security and promoting sustainable agriculture) and SDG 13 (taking action on climate change), whereas the relationship to SDG 15 (using terrestrial ecosystems sustainably) is largely unknown. The conclusion is drawn that agricultural adaptation options, even when focused on increasing yields, have the potential to outweigh the negative direct effects of climate change on soil degradation in many European regions.

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Abstract

From 2017, the Norwegian River Monitoring Programme (Elveovervåkingsprogrammet) replaced the former RID programme “Riverine inputs and direct discharges to Norwegian coastal waters” which had run continuously since 1990. The present report provides the current (2017) status and long-term (1990-2017) water quality trends in the 20 rivers included in the main programme.

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Riverine inputs and direct discharges to Norwegian coastal waters in 2016 have been estimated in accordance with the OSPAR Commission’s principles. Nutrients, metals and organic pollutants have been monitored in rivers; discharges from point sources have been estimated from industry, sewage treatment plants and fish farming; and nutrient inputs from diffuse sources have been modelled. Trends in riverine inputs have been analysed, and threshold concentration levels investigated.

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Abstract

Riverine inputs and direct discharges to Norwegian coastal waters in 2015 have been estimated in accordance with the OSPAR Commission’s principles. Nutrients, metals and organic pollutants have been monitored in rivers; discharges from point sources have been estimated from industry, sewage treatment plants and fish farming; and nutrient inputs from diffuse sources have been modelled. Trends in riverine inputs have been analyzed, and threshold concentration levels investigated.

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Abstract

Riverine inputs and direct discharges to Norwegian coastal waters in 2014 have been estimated in accordance with the OSPAR Commission’s principles. Nutrients, metals and organic pollutants have been monitored in rivers; discharges from point sources have been estimated from industry, sewage treatment plants and fish farming; and nutrient inputs from diffuse sources have been modelled. Trends in riverine inputs have been analysed, and threshold concentration levels investigated.

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Abstract

Riverine inputs and direct discharges to Norwegian coastal waters in 2012 have been estimated in accordance with the requirements of the OSPAR Commission. Water discharges in 2012 were lower than in 2011, but higher than the 30-year normal. This caused a small but overall decrease in inputs since 2011, with an exception of zinc, which increased in the overall loads due to an increase in River Glomma. The reason is presently unknown. Analyses of data since 1990 from nine main rivers in the program revealed downward trends both for nutrients and metals, with an exception of upwards trends for ammonium in one river. Fish farming continued to be a major source of nutrients, with an increase of about 15 % of phosphorus and nitrogen loads since last year. Inputs of PCBs and the pesticide lindane were, as in previous years, insignificant

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Abstract

Riverine inputs and direct discharges to Norwegian coastal waters in 2013 have been estimated in accordance with the requirements of the OSPAR Commission. Nutrients, metals and organic pollutants have been monitored in rivers; discharges from point sources have been estimated from industry, sewage treatment plants and fish farming; and nutrient inputs from diffuse sources have been modelled. Trends in riverine inputs have been analysed. Concentrations above given threshold levels have been detected for both metals and organic pollutants in some rivers.

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Abstract

Access to sufficient quantities of water of acceptable quality is a basic need for human beings and a pre-requisite to sustain and develop human welfare. In cases of limited availability, the allocation of water between different sectors can result in conflicts of interests. In this study, a modified version of the Building Block Methodology (BBM) was demonstrated for allocation of waters between different sectors. The methodology is a workshop-based tool for assessing water allocation between competing sectors that requires extensive stakeholder involvement. The tool was demonstrated for allocation of water in the Sri Ram Sagar water reservoir in the Godavari Basin, Andhra Pradesh, India. In this multipurpose reservoir, water is used for irrigation, drinking water supply and hydropower production. Possible water allocation regimes were developed under present hydrological conditions (normal and dry years) and under future climate change, characterized by more rain in the rainy season, more frequent droughts in the dry season and accelerated siltation of the reservoir, thus reducing the storage capacity. The feedback from the stakeholders (mainly water managers representing the various sectors) showed that the modified version of the BBM was a practical and useful tool in water allocation, which means that it may be a viable tool for application also elsewhere.

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Abstract

Riverine inputs and direct discharges to Norwegian coastal waters in 2011 have been estimated in accordance with the requirements of the OSPAR Commission. Due to high water discharges in 2011, the riverine inputs of both nutrients and metals were greater than 2010. Analyses of data since 1990 from nine main rivers in the program revealed downward trends both for nutrients and metals, with an exception of upwards trends for nitrogen in one river. Fish farming continued to be a major source of nutrients and copper to coastal waters. Inputs of PCBs and the pesticide lindane were, as in previous years, insignificant.

Abstract

This report gives an overview of some characteristics of the Vansjø-Hobøl (Morsa) catchment in Southern Norway. The catchment is one of the most studied catchments in Norway in terms of water quality, partly because it has been a pilot project for the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), partly because eutrophication and harmful algal blooms have been a problem in the latter years. Information from the catchment has until now been scattered in several different papers and reports, and most of these have been written in Norwegian.