Wetlands in flux: Looking for the drivers in a central European case

Tomasz Berezowski, Martin Wassen, Jan Szatylowicz, Jaroslaw Chormanski, Stefan Ignar, Okke Batelaan, Tomasz Okruszko

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11 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


Planet Earth is undergoing significant changes which are driven by natural and anthropogenic factors. However, it is difficult to identify the drivers and their effect on the environment and ecosystems because there are many interdependencies. In this study we present a multi-parameter approach to assess the effect of changes in human-induced and natural drivers on a wetland ecosystem. The study area is one of the most prominent European wetlands: the Biebrza Basin, located in north-eastern Poland. We analysed long-term (ca. 1960–2000) changes in meteorology, hydrology, soil and vegetation, and also conservation history. This approach enabled us to identify interactions between environmental change and management. We found significant trends (1960–2012) indicating climate change: increases in temperature, evapotranspiration and earlier start of spring floods. We identified (1970–2000) a shift towards drier vegetation types after drainage. However, we also found that restoration measures that were implemented have mitigated climate change effects and have led to increases in soil moisture and wetter vegetation types. We conclude that, if carried out sufficiently frequently, the management measures implemented in the Biebrza Basin, which are a combination of different restoration measures (blocking drainage, not clearing aquatic vegetation, bush removal, mowing), can to some extent mitigate the effects of climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-863
Number of pages15
JournalWetlands Ecology and Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.


  • Biebrza Basin
  • conservation
  • restoration
  • hydrogenic soils
  • vegetation
  • climate change
  • Climate change
  • Hydrology
  • Restoration
  • Hydrogenic soils
  • Vegetation
  • Management


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