2018 IMCG Field Symposium / General Assembly
The Netherlands, 20 August – 1 September 2018
IMCG Symposium: Wednesday 22 August: NIOZ research Centre, Island of Texel: 8.30-17.00.
Field excursions: Tuesday 21 (Island of Texel) and August 23-31.
IMCG general assembly: Thursday 31st August Zegveld near Utrecht: 9.30-12.30
The Dutch experiences in restoration ecology and challenges for the future
The Netherlands is densely populated and the development of infrastructure and intensification of agriculture in the sixties and seventies of the last century has destroyed or damaged most of our existing nature reserves. But this has also triggered much practical and fundamental research aimed at understanding the mechanisms of wet ecosystem decline in the Netherlands. During the 1980s and 1990s, the government decided to buy out farmers in areas where modern agriculture was no longer viable and hand the lands over to nature conservation organizations. Such areas were then transformed into natural areas, by raising water levels and decreasing nutrient availability. During that period much knowledge was developed in restoring wet ecosystems that were once rather intensively used by agriculture.
We aim to show the participants areas where scientific and practical knowledge in Dutch restoration areas has developed. Important research papers for each area visited will be available on the IMCG web site.
We aim to show the participants areas where scientific and practical knowledge in Dutch restoration areas has developed.
In the Netherlands intensive discussions are taking place about the future of the peatland landscape, see graphics below. Currently large peatland areas are subject to drainage-induced subsidence (“bodemdaling”) leading to ever-increasing height differences between deeply drained and pumped, intensively used agricultural lands on the one hand (left picture foreground) and low intensity agriculture, settlement and nature conservation sites with much higher water levels on the other hand (left background). It is clear that continued pumping and subsidence (“loslaten”, left picture) is impossible, but what are the alternatives: continuing conventional land use but raise the water levels somewhat to slow down subsidence (“Remmen”, central picture), or stopping subsidence completely by raising the water level to at or over the surface and changing land use towards wet livelihoods, including paludicultures, floating solar energy, and wet tourism (right picture).