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Description of topics

Topic I: Meeting European environmental legislation – the directives under scrutiny

With Denmark as the EU chair in 2012, the time has come to take a closer look at European environmental legislation.

European environmental legislation has traditionally been media-specific i.e. focused on how to protect water quality, air quality or habitats. The scientific sessions and workshops on Day 1 aim to develop a more thematic cross-cutting view of European regulations. How do current and planned Directives work together to ensure nature conservation? Where are the conflicts and synergies between the goals of individual Directives? What are the socio-economic impacts of implementing multiple Directives? What scientific challenges do we face when trying to implement Europe-wide goals at national and regional scales? What lessons should we learn from the implementation of existing Directives when addressing new Directives?

This topic is for everybody interested in science-based environmental management in a European setting. The scientific sessions will focus on the scientific basis for regulation across different scopes and scales. The workshops will be a forum for exchange and discussion between scientists and practitioners. Here practitioners can discuss problems and challenges across borders and media with others who face similar problems, knowledge gaps and trade-offs in interpreting and implementing the Directives. The overall aim will be to identify best practice and current research needs.

Topic II: 2010 behind us – is biodiversity in free fall?

Biodiversity is essential for sustaining the ecosystem services on which society relies. Disturbingly, the UN estimates that species are now disappearing at 100 to 1000 times the natural extinction rate. The World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002 confirmed the 2010 Biodiversity Target originally put forward at an EU summit in 2001 and called for "the achievement by 2010 of a significant reduction in the current rate of loss of biological diversity”. The UN furthermore declared 2010 as the Year of Biodiversity but the essential question is: ‘Did nature notice?’ How can we learn from past successes and failures in protecting biodiversity on the route to the 2010 target and how can we build upon those successes in the approach to 2020?

Topic III: Low impact - low carbon economy

National and supra-national regulations and treaties are modifying the local and global combustion mix for energy generation and transportation, and adjusting the atmospheric signature of industry and agriculture. These changes will affect greenhouse gas concentrations, atmospheric deposition into terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems and also impact directly and indirectly on human health. This session will focus on the challenge of identifying, analysing and quantifying the consequences of these changes and assessing their implications for Directive-driven legislation. Interdisciplinary studies and integrating approaches will be discussed.

Topic IV: Making decisions – management tools for the future

Combining legislation spanning local to the supra-national levels with tools which operate at relevant scales is a major challenge for the future support of evidence-based decision making.  Today, the majority of decision support tools operate at local scales, limiting managers’ possibilities for synergistic implementation of mitigation measures across a range of different scales. Furthermore, indicators and assessment systems are often site- and stressor-specific, which again makes synergistic extrapolations and diagnostics difficult. Large-scale spatial models and ensemble modelling appear to be promising future avenues for bridging these gaps, but uncertainties must be quantified to enable appropriate decision making on the basis of model outputs. The conference aims to help solve this dilemma by bringing modellers, administrators and practitioners together to exchange ideas for the development of management tools for the future.

Special sessions

  • Aquarius: Bridging the gaps between science, regulation and practice in water environment management  (Session chair: Irene Wiborg)
  • Climate models: uncertainties, effects and adaptation (Session chair: Jens Christian Refsgaard)
  • Constructed wetlands (Session chair: Carl Chr. Hoffmann)
  • Links between biodiversity and soil ecosystem services (Session chair: Anne Winding)
  • Science-based nature management (Session chair: Morten Tune Strandberg)
  • The economics of water quality (Session chair: Marianne Zanderson)
  • The impacts of green energy policies (Session char: Daniela Perrotti)