Identification of ecological and socio-economic components (EcoMindmap)

Practical Applications

The tool has not been used for the BwN pilot experiments, but it has been applied to the Markermeer case Markermeer-IJsselmeer to test its applicability. The Markermeer Ecomindmap is shown here in a static pdf format, but the Prezi presentation this link allows navigating through it in a more dynamic way.

Markermeer Ecominmap.

The main issue in the Markermeer is the turbidity of the lake water, due to a variety of reasons. As a result, the light penetration is the lake water is low and vegetation is scarce. As a consequence, primary production is limited and the carrying capacity of the ecosystem is reduced. For example, fish stocks are declining and the area of mussel beds has decreased. This puts the Natura 2000 objectives for water birds, which feed on mussels and fish, at risk.

Local and regional governments have agreed that future development should lead to an improvement of the ecological quality, integrating nature, landscape, recreation, economical development and safety in such a way that a resilient and self-supporting ecosystem will emerge. In this way, economic development (like housing, recreation or infrastructure development) in the lake area is linked to the turbidity issue. At the moment these issues are being investigated in a number of interlinked research projects. For example, the possibilities for a large (approx. 500 ha) constructed marsh / wetland are being investigated. Also the effect of creating more relief in the lake bed on the transport of suspended material, and the possibilities to isolate the sources of this suspended material are subjects of research. See case Markermeer-IJsselmeer for more information. All these ideas and possible solutions to the turbidity problem eventually need to be embedded in the overall regional planning objective.

The Ecomindmap is used to visualise all these aspects and the most relevant connections between them in a single diagram. This helps to get an overview of the problem. It also facilitates communication between the different disciplines involved (technical, ecological, economical etc.) and leads to mutual understanding. This way, it stimulates creative thinking about the problem and increases the chances to come up with innovative, integral solutions that yield added value.