Sven Björk:

Limnological Methods for Environmental Rehabilitation

The Fine Art of Restoring Aquatic Ecosystems

2014. 381 pages, 489 figures, 17 tables, 21x28cm, 1600 g
Language: English

ISBN 978-3-510-65292-1, bound, price: 79.80 €

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lake restorationaquatic systemswetland restorationrehabilitation


Synopsis top ↑

Lakes and wetlands, ecologically impaired to various degrees by pollution and exploitation are a sad reality not only in Europe, but around the globe.
But wait: Ecological restoration of these ecosystems is possible! Sven Björk, the pioneer and long-time practitioner of ecological lake restoration describes well-illustrated, practical examples (before and after) of the restoration of different types of damaged aquatic ecosystems and discusses tailor-made approaches to rehabilitate their individual ecological structure and functions. The crucial importance of the relationship between catchment area and the associated lake/wetland in selecting the “right” approach and thus successful restoration is pointed out and discussed.

Reference cases of restoration projects on lakes and wetlands at different latitudes and altitudes all over the globe are described and discussed, including such cases where ecological restoration was carried out by contractors, with more and sometimes less success. All experience indicates the need of skilled limnologists and other ecologists to guide such procedures from inception to conclusion, to reach the final aim of restoring a sustainably functioning ecosystem.
Experience and knowledge gained in restoration projects, on the processes and approaches that transform turbid green, cyanobacteria-infested lakes into blue waters or how drained, subsiding marshes are converted into wetlands of high biodiversity turn experienced ecologists into specialists in demand in research and administration.

The feeling of exultation that follows the observation that an aquatic ecosystem – degraded by man – finally has been restored to “normal“ life, definitely motivates the classification of this kind of applied ecology as an activity of the Fine Arts.

Björk’s instructive book is aimed both at administrators seeking approaches and help to fix ailing aquatic systems and also at aquatic ecologists interested in designing tailor-made methods for restoring, monitoring and documenting the results of eco-medical operations on lakes and wetlands.

Book Review: Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems (2015) 416, 11 top ↑

This book relates the long experience of its author S. Björk and colleagues, presenting numerous cases of restoration of shallow lakes and wetlands in Sweden and all over the globe. The historical conditions that led to the degraded state of ecosystems are well described. In Sweden, the lake levels were lowered to gain fertile arable land. Agricultural activities and concentrations of populations in these areas have resulted in nutrient inputs that favored the colonization of these shallow lakes by macrophytes. Water surfaces were reduced, and even disappeared. Local authorities wanted to find clean lakes and open water favorableto present human activities, but also create biodiversity.
Lake Trummen is a good example of the successful restoration of a shallow and small lake (depth < 3m;1km 2 ) started in the 70s. Substantial resources were needed (dredging). It is interesting to compare the cost of this restoration after decades of pollution, that is less than the annual cost of phosphorus removal from effluents in the wastewater treatment plant that discharges its treated water into the lake.
The example of Lake Hornborga shows the limitations of the methods when the lake area is larger and invasion by macrophytes such that there is no more open water. The photo- graphic illustration, which is on the book’s cover, shows the landscape changes throughout the 45 years of restoration work. In terms of biodiversity, especially birds, the lake was returned to a good condition at the end of the 90s (Hertzman & Larsson, 1999). How ever, today, the lake is still in “unsustainable development”. These two lakes are excellent examples of restoration of shallow lakes where the removal of the internal load is obviously essential. The reduction or even elimination of the external load from the entire watershed would not suffice. The book then addresses other examples which include the same concepts of restoration: lagoons (Lake of Tunis, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas in Brazil) and lakes (Lake Paranoia in Brazil, Lake Hangzhou in China). The question is different in the Hongyuan wetlands : how to exploit peat, keeping the option to restore the ecosystem by the end of the operation? This example is treated in a very interesting way.
This book focuses on the long experience of its author and his team. It deals mainly with shallow ecosystems where it is necessary to extract or exploit the internal load. It is well illustrated, with old Swedish maps that highlight the history of these environments and ancient human impact.
Limnologists, scientists and engineers, as well as wetland historians will read this book with interest.

D. Gerdeaux, 2015. Book Review: Sven Björk. Limnological Methods for En- vironmental Rehabilitation. The Fine Art of Restoring Aquatic Ecosystems. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems, 416, 11

Bespr.: Tuexenia 35, 2015 top ↑

Das von dem schwedischen Limnologen Sven Björk in englischer Sprache vorgelegte Buch trägt nicht ohne Grund den Untertitel „The fine art of restoring aquatic ecosystems“. Björk beschreibt in dem reich und ansprechend illustrierten Band rückblickend seine langjährigen Erfahrungen mit der Kunst, stark verschmutzte Seen und weitgehend degenerierte Feuchtgebiete wiederherzustellen. Möglichkeiten und Probleme einer limnologischen Restaurierung, unter Einbeziehung der Einzugsgebiete, werden ausführlich dargestellt. Der Band (79,80 €) ist für jeden, der sich mit der Renaturierung von aquatischen und semiterrestrischen Ökosystemen beschäftigt oder der sich generell für Renaturierung interessiert, ein Leckerbissen, da historische und technische Aspekte anhand von Karten, technischen Skizzen sowie Bildsequenzen anschaulich dargestellt werden. Das Besondere an diesem Buch ist auch die globale Sichtweise, da es Restaurierungsprojekte der unterschiedlichen Breiten und Höhenlagen beschriebt und die Erfolge oder auch Misserfolge diskutiert. — Anhand von drei Seen aus Schweden (Trummen, Homborga, Skärgölen) und acht Projekten aus anderen Teilen der Welt (Tunesien, Brasilien, China, Tibet, Jamaica, lran und Kolumbien) werden die aquatischen bis semiterrestrischen Ökosysteme in ihrem stark gestörten Zustand beschrieben. Für jedes dieser Ökosysteme werden der seinerzeit erarbeitete individuelle Ansatz zur Sanierung von Strukturen und Funktionen, sowie die jeweils unterschiedlich erfolgreiche Umsetzung dargelegt. In vielen Fällen waren es sehr langwierige Prozesse, deren unterschiedliche Stadien zum Teil durch entsprechende Bilderfolgen dokumentiert sind. Gesondert werden Management- und Restaurierungs-Methoden zur Belüftung, zur Sedimentbehandlung und zur Beseitigung von Versauerung erläutert.

Dominique Remy, Osnabrück

Tuexenia 35, 2015, S. 449

Book review: Restoration Ecology vol. 23, No. 6, Nov. 2015 top ↑

This book is a detailed account of the life-long experience in aquatic ecosystem rehabilitation of the Swedish limnologist Sven Björk, who is also the principal author. The narrative of the book is centered around some major examples, of which two are lakes in southern Sweden and six others are lakes and wetlands in different parts of the world, that is Brazil, China, Tibet, Jamaica, Tunisia, and Iran. Because of the long time-span covered by his active career, Björk’s stories read more like a history of the growth of limnological insights and their applications to solve major environmental problems during the period 1955–2012. Most attention is paid to the two lakes closest to the author’s home, that is Lake Trummen near Växjö and Lake Hornborga in Västergötland. These lakes are each an example of a major environmental deterioration of lake systems in this part of the world in the 1950s–1960s; Lake Trummen was heavily eutrophicated because of increasing inflows of domestic wastewater, whereas Lake Hornborga suffered from seriously lowered water levels to reclaim agricultural land in the surrounding peaty catchment. For both lakes, there is an impressive account of the problematic initial situation, the careful application of knowledge and research for designing rehabilitation plans, the implementation of these plans in often innovative technological and ecological measures, and the monitoring of the lake condition towards a sustainable, healthy status. For the Hornborga Lake, this involved attempts to stop and reverse the massive colonization of the shallower lake by aquatic plants and reeds. These courses of events spanned more than 50 years and were all meticulously recorded and described, with attention for the changes in ecological functioning, plant and animal diversity, for the communication with stakeholders and society at large, and for the successes and failures in working together with engineers and politicians.
The sections about the various projects of much shorter duration in widely different parts of the world give an overview of the contacts of Björk and his group with the outside world, as they developed during his lifetime. Often the group was called in for help to solve major problems by fellow limnologists who had obviously been impressed by the major accomplishments in the Swedish lakes and wetlands. Björk and his team worked on a rehabilitation plan for the heavily polluted Lake Tunis (1970s) and were invited by the Iranian government to develop plans for the rehabilitation of wetlands and lakes threatened by droughts and pollution in Pahlavi/Mordab Lagoon near the Caspian Sea (1970s). In both of these projects, studies were made and ideas for whole suites of large-scale measures were proposed, but these did not materialize because of political issues and (in the case of Iran) regime change. There are nice descriptions (by Wilhelm Granéli) of restoration projects in several degraded lakes in Brazil (1980s/1990s), while two projects stand out because they deal with several large peatlands in different parts of the world undergoing nonsustainable exploitation. The Swedish team was asked to develop a more holistic scheme for making use of the natural resources of the peatlands without the major deterioration of the areas. The projects in the mountains of Tibet and in Jamaica (1980s/1990s) had to deal with the practice of peat excavations to use it for fuel and for horticultural purposes. It is striking that the rehabilitation plan here called for a better distinction of the peat types in the area suitable for the horticultural use or for burning, not for minimizing all uses of peat. It should be noted here that the importance of peatlands to store carbon and to regulate regional climate is now widely accepted, and drainage and use of peat are inherently nonsustainable because the resource is depleted (and converted to CO2) immensely faster than it is replenished by peat growth. It is striking that the Swedish team obviously had different standards for sustainable use for lakes and for peatlands here.
The book is closed off with a chapter on “issues aggravating anthropocenic nature,” which is a compilation of often harsh statements and opinions by the author, probably borne partly from large challenges and even frustrations during his long journey aiming at improving the balance between human activities and nature’s integrity. This account of battles fought mostly in the Swedish arena mentions, for instance “lack of competence within the environmental judicial system,” “the government’s consideration of ‘permissibility,’” the need to consider problems in a holistic, landscape/catchment-wide way, and a detailed report of the battle against the plan for a highway through a wetland.
As will be clear from the above, the book is very much dominated by the spirit and passion of Sven Björk. It has an impressive number of detailed stories on ways to repair a devastated landscape with lakes and wetlands. It is very well illustrated with many good pictures and graphs. In particular, the series of pictures taken at the same spot over a very large number of years clearly show how drastic changes over time can be. They are really unique. A downside of the book is that the many examples and case studies are often described in great detail and do not follow a common approach. Some case studies are quite accessible with a clear introduction, presentation of objectives and results, and a critical discussion. Others are quite loosely organized (e.g. the Iranian example), require much reading before it becomes clear what the issues were and how they could be handled, and have so many subsections and headings that they rather read as a purely descriptive report or diary. The book has a limited number of references to the literature, in the sense that most publications cited are authored by the Swedish group and their collaborators. There is hardly any discussion of the findings in a more general worldwide international context, which has probably been a deliberate choice.
This book has been a chance for Björk to express all his experiences, which include great accomplishments, projects in very different cultures around the world, continuous attempts to convince his colleagues, engineers, public servants, politicians, and the larger public, inevitably leading to successes but also frustrations. In this sense, the book is also a historic account of the development of the science of limnology in an era of strong environmental deterioration, followed by public awareness and willingness to restore and by the application of multidisciplinary knowledge in rehabilitation projects. Sven Björk’s life and work was devoted to all of this, as he showed in a colorful way in his book.

Jos T. A. Verhoeven

Restoration Ecology vol. 23, No. 6, November 2015, pp. 969-970

Book Review: Lake and Reservoir Management 31:359, 2015 top ↑

Dr. Björk has compiled a comprehensive overview of numerous aquatic ecosystem rehabilitations With which he has been involved, ranging from well-known projects like that at Lake Trummen (Sweden) to lesser known projects, such as Pahlavi Mordab Wetland (Iran). He relates in detail the extreme measures needed to restore these systems after severe degradation took place and acknowledges the long time to complete projects. The description of Lake Trummen, for example, begins with diagnostic studies in 1966, implementation in 1970—1971, and documented improvement by 1973. Several years of monitoring and implementation of additional management projects were required to maintain the condition of the lake, however, with that work extending into the mid-20008. While this restoration met with success, he also notes that many systems are never completely restored.
Throughout the book are stunning examples of environmental degradation. In many instances, both domestic and industrial wastes have been pumped to lakes and wetlands without even primary treatment. In other instances, shallow lakes and wetlands have been drained to allow farming of landscapes that are not well suited for agriculture. [Note this is not unique to the countries described in the book, and numerous examples could be easily found in North America as well.]
To provide context for the reader, each case study is prefaced with a brief description of the physical setting of the lake or wetland, basic morphometry, and basic water chemistry. This book is picture-rich and gives the reader a sense of time and place of the work conducted. Of particular interest are photos taken over time to demonstrate changes in the condition of the resource, with the restoration of Lake Homborga (Sweden) being a prime example.
One theme emphasized throughout is the need for and value of teamwork to complete projects of this scope, an important take-away message. Numerous experts are brought in to collaborate on the projects. In the book, these experts give concise descriptions of their aspect of the project, providing a fairly comprehensive overview of the physical setting, ecology, chemistry, and other relevant factors for each project. Although the text relies heavily on limnological principles, it also addresses a wide range of waterbody types including lakes, shallow lakes, wetlands, and estuaries, emphasizing their overall ecology and values, restoring health and balance to systems. The techniques employed range from various inlake techniques, including aeration, dredging, and sediment treatments, and an array of watershed techniques. The science behind these techniques and results for a particular project are described. A comprehensive list of references for further reading is provided for those wanting more detail on a particular project or technique.
There are frequent comments on politics and competing visions for many of these resources. The author often notes the lack of environmental knowledge in political appointees and those charged with the responsibility to manage the resources. At the end, he loops back to Sweden to discuss politics as applied to environmental management (or lack thereof). He also opines on the unwillingness of the Swedish government to address pollution and environmental degradation in favor of industrial and agricultural development and expansion. Politics and political decisions that negatively impact the environment loom large in the manuscript.
Who should read the book? I pondered this a bit. I think the book could be used to expose undergraduate and graduate students to the array of threats to aquatic resources, the magnitude of degradation that can take place, application of various in-lake and watershed techniques, and the difficulty in rehabilitating these systems. Graduate students would likely gain the most from some of the details on in-lake and watershed techniques and how complex projects, like those described in the book, are planned and implemented. Although some sections are overly detailed, the book is particularly useful for someone planning similar projects because of the variety of examples that work, sometimes based on trial and error. The book might also be useful for professionals who have not ventured out from their own locales, such as the Upper Midwest, and are interested in learning more about aquatic resource impacts and rehabilitation worldwide.

Steven Heiskary, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Lake and Reservoir Management 31:359, 2015, DOI: 10.1080/10402381.2015.1086225

Book Review: Acta Botanica Hungarica 57 (2015) top ↑

Lakes and wetlands, ecologically impaired to different degrees by pollution and exploitation are a sad reality not only in Europe, but around the globe. Fortunately, ecological restoration of these important ecosystems is possible.
Reference cases of restoration projects on waters and wetlands at different latitudes and altitudes all over the globe are described and discussed, including cases where ecological restoration was carried out by contractors, with more and sometimes less success. All experience indicates the need of skilled limnologists and other ecologists to guide such procedures from inception to conclusion, to reach the final aim of restoring a sustainably functioning ecosystem. Experience and knowledge gained in restoration projects, on the processes and approaches that transform turbid green, cyanobacteria-infested lakes into blue waters or how drained, subsiding marshes are converted into wetlands of high biodiversity turn experienced ecologists into specialists in demand in research and administration.
Whenever possible the status of the systems to be modified, the methods of treatment and the recovered ecosystems are in this book described by before and after pictures. This book shows two selected Swedish models and demonstration projects and other examples from all over the world.
The two main Swedish examples are Lake Trummen and Lake Hornborga. Lake Trummen was selected as the representative for the group of lakes polluted by sewage and transformed to hypertrophic ecosystem suffering from the typical symptoms, namely heavy blooms of cyanobacteria in summer and oxygen deficiency in combination with fish-kills in winter. Lake Hornborga is the typical representative of the great number of Swedish waters and wetlands in which the water level has been lowered or the objects have been completely drained, as a rule with the dream to obtain arable land.
In the book, we can also find descriptions of other projects in different countries. Requests for help for the restoration of aquatic systems abroad came primarily from international and governmental agencies for aid. The projects were selected with the aim to create possibilities for students in teamwork to widen their experience of ecosystems outside the temperate zone. The systems investigated consisted of lakes, lagoons, coastal and high-altitude wetlands at various latitudes. In the book, the following examples are presented: Lac de Tunis (Tunisia), Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Lago Paranoa (Brasília, Brazil), The West Lake (Hangzhou, China), the Negril and Black River Wetlands (Jamaica), the Pahlavi Mordab Wetland (Iran), Rio Bogota (Colombia) and Lake Skärgölen (Sweden).
In general, the main aim in this book is to provide information about problems, solutions and whenever possible, long-term results, while the detailed analytical material remains in the reports and publications included at the end of the book.
Overall, this book is perfect for administrators seeking approaches and help to fix ailing aquatic systems and also for aquatic ecologists interested in designing tailor-made methods for restoring. Beside of its usefulness, it is a well-illustrated and colourful book with a lot of pictures made during the restoration.

V. Pozderka

Acta Botanica Hungarica 57 (2015)

Bespr.: Artenschutzreport Heft 33/2014 top ↑

Wenn man “Environmental Rehabilitation” vorsichtig als Umweltsanierung übersetzen darf, dann geht es bei diesem Buch um die Beschreibung von Methoden und Technologien der Sanierung (“Redevelopment”) von aquatischen Ökosystemen.
Dargestellt wird dies an weltweiten Beispielen verunreinigter, belasteter limnischer Ökosysteme (Seen, Talsperren, Flüssen, Wetlands...), die saniert wurden. Dabei fungiert Schweden als regionaler Schwerpunkt; denn hier ist der international renommierte Autor, der Limnologe Sven Björk, an der Universität Lund seit Jahrzehnten auf diesem Fachgebiet in Lehre und Forschung tätig.
Gemeinsames Problem bei fast allen vorgestellten Beispielsobjekten ist: Überlastung des aquatischen Ökosystems durch Eintrag von N und P sowie sonstigen Nährstoffen — Überangebot an Biomasse (meist Algenmassenentfaltung) — nach deren Absterben O2-Schwund bis H2S-Entstehung — „Umkippen“ des Sees und Fischsterben. So wird aus einem oligotrophen Badesee ein eutroph-hypertrophes Problemobjekt!
An Methoden der Sanierungspraxis werden vorgestellt:
— Tiefenwasserbelüftung (O2-Anreicherung) von eutrophen Seen,
— Baggern und Absaugen von Sediment (Schlick, Mudde)-Ablagerungen vom Seegrund,
— Mähtechnik zur Entkrautung sowie Beerntung von Schilf- und Röhrichtgürteln (Biomasse-Entnahme),
— Kläranlagen-Typen zur Abwasserreinigung im Einzugsgebiet,
— Bekämpfung der Bodenerosion im Einzugsgebiet (Verminderung des Eintrages von Sediment und Nährstoffen in Bäche und Seen).
Zahlreiche instruktive, meist farbige Fotos, Karten, Skizzen und Diagramme verdeutlichen die Textaussagen. Das Buch wendet sich an eine breite, interessierte Öffentlichkeit, um deren Umweltverständnis und -engagement zu fördern, und dies speziell im Hinblick auf den Schutz und das verantwortungsbewusste Management von limnischen Ökosystemen.

L. Bauer

Artenschutzreport Heft 33/2014

Contents top ↑

Dedication 6
I. The Fine Art of Restoring Aquatic Ecosystems 7
Historical Notes 7
From Restoration of Individual Ecosystems to Redevelopment
of Landscape Units. Terms and Aims 8
Redevelopment of Ecosystems in the Perspective of the
EU Water Framework Directive 11
Anthropocenic Lakes and Wetlands 13
II. Restoration Projects 17
Possibilities and Problems to Realize Limnological Restoration
Projects 17
Selected Examples of Projects 17
1. Swedish Model and Demonstration Projects 19
A. Lake Trummen 20
B. Lake Hornborga 72
C. Other Types of Management/Restoration Methods 116
a. Aeration 117
b. Sediment Treatment 122
c. Treatment of Acidified Lakes 124
2. Restoration Projects Abroad 128
a. Lac de Tunis, Tunisia 129
b. Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 151
c. Lago Paranoá, Brasília, Brazil 163
d. The West Lake, Hangzhou, China 176
e. The Hongyuan Wetlands, Tibet 186
f. The Negril and Black River Wetlands, Jamaica 218
g. The Pahlavi Mordab Wetland, Iran 260
h. Rio Bogota, Colombia, and Lake Skärgölen, Sweden 294
III. Conditions and Actions Aggravating Anthropocenic Nature. Examples from Sweden 328
A. The judicial system for environmental protection – as it is applied 329
B. Pollution from point sources 330
C. Surface-covering exploitation of the landscape 331
D. Fragmentation of the landscape 336
E. Irrevocable prevention of wetland restorative measures following road construction With the Vesan – Pukavik Bay as an example 336
F. Recent governmental initiatives 357
G. Conclusions 361
IV. Swedish Ecologists/Geologists of Restoration Teams
Described in this Book 362

The Author’s Background and Acknowledgements 364
Further Reading 368