Investigating catchwork water-meadows as a social-ecological conservation opportunity with focus on Jämtland
Abstract: Wetlands are crucial for respecting the planetary boundaries and reaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, but wetland areas in Sweden has decreased significantly. The need for restoration, stronger protection, and land-sharing opportunities requires exploration of the subsistence practices involving wetlands in the past. This thesis investigates the sustainability potential of catchwork water-meadows. An integrated landscape analysis method (ILA) using spatial targeting was designed and tested in QGIS with a range of supporting data aiming to locate previously unknown and unprotected catchwork water-meadows in Jämtland County, that could be potential restoration targets. A literature search was conducted to gather general information on catchwork water-meadows impact on climate change, biogeochemical flows, threatened species, to re-imagine social aspects, and to find morphological characteristics that could be compared to remote sensing data. The literature search revealed varieties in construction, development of theories on nutrient sources over time, a species composition with 19 species and genera present on the Red List of threatened species. It is found that novel construction of catchwork water-meadows likely increase GHG release, but restoration projects on already modified land could possibly decrease GHG output depending on the no-action scenario and use of the produced biomass. There are indications that nutrient removal is possible but experimentation and more scientific measurements are needed. Social benefits include: resilience from economic diversification and being organised as a common, production of plant biomass for various uses, community building, and knowledge production. The ILA consisted of three stages, 1. spatial targeting, 2. site interpretation, and 3. evaluation. Three potential sites were located. Indications for and against identifying these as catchwork water-meadow are presented, and refinement of the ILA to reach definite verdicts are suggested.
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