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Integrated ecological-economic modelling of water pollution abatement management options in the Upper Ems River Basin


  • Volk, Martin
  • Hirschfeld, Jesko
  • Dehnhardt, Alexandra
  • Schmidt, Gerd
  • Bohn, Carsten
  • Liersch, Stefan
  • Gassman, Philip W.


This paper presents the results of the FLUMAGIS project, in which we developed a spatial decision support system (SDSS) to support the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). The modelling approach is based on the integration of ecological and socio-economic assessment methods, scale-specific and GIS-based data and knowledge modelling and visualization techniques. The project study area is the intensively cropped Upper Ems River Basin in north-western Germany. A method was developed that enables the transfer of scale-specific data and information. Analyses were performed for baseline conditions and specific management and planning scenarios to improve water quantity and quality at micro-, meso- and macro-scale. The results of the study indicate that substantial, expensive water and land management changes at different scales would be necessary to achieve the WFD water quality targets in this basin. Ecological-economic analysis of cost-effectiveness reveals that the costs of achieving certain goals of the WFD can vary more than tenfold depending on which measure is chosen out of the pool of management alternatives. Moreover, the study shows that the differentiation between landscapes and other regional characteristics although considered essential to the successful implementation of WFD measures is very data intensive.

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  • Volk, Martin & Hirschfeld, Jesko & Dehnhardt, Alexandra & Schmidt, Gerd & Bohn, Carsten & Liersch, Stefan & Gassman, Philip W., 2008. "Integrated ecological-economic modelling of water pollution abatement management options in the Upper Ems River Basin," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 66-76, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:66:y:2008:i:1:p:66-76

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kleinhanß, Werner, 1999. "Modellgestützte Folgenabschätzung zu den Auswirkungen der Agenda 2000 auf die deutsche Landwirtschaft," Arbeitsberichte aus der vTI-Agrarökonomie 01/1999, Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute, Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries.
    2. Philip W. Gassman & Manuel R. Reyes & Colleen H. Green & Jeffrey G. Arnold, 2007. "Soil and Water Assessment Tool: Historical Development, Applications, and Future Research Directions, The," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 07-wp443, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
    3. Hein, Lars & van Koppen, Kris & de Groot, Rudolf S. & van Ierland, Ekko C., 2006. "Spatial scales, stakeholders and the valuation of ecosystem services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 209-228, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. O'Donoghue, Cathal & Buckley, Cathal & Chyzheuskaya, Aksana & Grealis, Eoin & Green, Stuart & Howley, Peter & Hynes, Stephen & Upton, Vincent, 2015. "The Spatial Impact of Economic Change on RiverWater Quality 1991-2010," 150th Seminar, October 22-23, 2015, Edinburgh, Scotland 212665, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Cyril Bourgeois & Pierre-Alain Jayet & Florence Habets & Pascal Viennot, 2018. "Estimating the Marginal Social Value of Agriculturally Driven Nitrate Concentrations in an Aquifer: A Combined Theoretical-Applied Approach," Water Economics and Policy (WEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 4(01), pages 1-30, January.
    3. Hirt, U. & Kreins, P. & Kuhn, U. & Mahnkopf, J. & Venohr, M. & Wendland, F., 2012. "Management options to reduce future nitrogen emissions into rivers: A case study of the Weser river basin, Germany," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 118-131.
    4. Brouwer, Roy & Hofkes, Marjan, 2008. "Integrated hydro-economic modelling: Approaches, key issues and future research directions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 16-22, May.
    5. Aftab, Ashar & Hanley, Nick & Baiocchi, Giovanni, 2017. "Transferability of Policies to Control Agricultural Nonpoint Pollution in Relatively Similar Catchments," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 11-21.
    6. Esteve, Paloma & Varela-Ortega, Consuelo & Blanco-Gutiérrez, Irene & Downing, Thomas E., 2015. "A hydro-economic model for the assessment of climate change impacts and adaptation in irrigated agriculture," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 49-58.
    7. Halkos, George, 2013. "Cost-effectiveness analysis in reducing nutrient loading in Baltic and Black Seas: A review," MPRA Paper 52296, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Clarke, Neville & Bizimana, Jean-Claude & Dile, Yihun & Worqlul, Abeyou & Osorio, Javier & Herbst, Brian & Richardson, James W. & Srinivasan, Raghavan & Gerik, Thomas J. & Williams, Jimmy & Jones, Cha, 2017. "Evaluation of new farming technologies in Ethiopia using the Integrated Decision Support System (IDSS)," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 180(PB), pages 267-279.
    9. Balana, Bedru Babulo & Vinten, Andy & Slee, Bill, 2011. "A review on cost-effectiveness analysis of agri-environmental measures related to the EU WFD: Key issues, methods, and applications," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(6), pages 1021-1031, April.
    10. Carlo Fezzi & Michael Hutchins & Dan Rigby & Ian J. Bateman & Paulette Posen & David Hadley, 2010. "Integrated assessment of water framework directive nitrate reduction measures," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 41(2), pages 123-134, March.
    11. Kragt, Marit Ellen, 2013. "Integrating biophysical and economic systems in a Bayesian Network Hydro-economic framework," Working Papers 153334, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    12. repec:eee:ecomod:v:220:y:2009:i:19:p:2543-2558 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Blanco-Gutierrez, Irene & Varela-Ortega, Consuelo & Purkey, David R., 2011. "Integrated Economic-Hydrologic Analysis Of Policy Responses To Promote Sustainable Water Use Under Changing Climatic Conditions," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114253, European Association of Agricultural Economists.

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