Tradeoffs and synergies in wetland multifunctionality: A scaling issue

Hambäck, P.A. et al. | Science of The Total Environment | 2022 | Peer Reviewed | Review |


Wetland area in agricultural landscapes has been heavily reduced to gain land for crop production, but in recent years there is increased societal recognition of the negative consequences from wetland loss on nutrient retention, biodiversity and a range of other benefits to humans. The current trend is therefore to re-establish wetlands, often with an aim to achieve the simultaneous delivery of multiple ecosystem services, i.e., multifunctionality. Here we review the literature on key objectives used to motivate wetland re-establishment in temperate agricultural landscapes (provision of flow regulation, nutrient retention, climate mitigation, biodiversity conservation and cultural ecosystem services), and their relationships to environmental properties, in order to identify potential for tradeoffs and synergies concerning the development of multifunctional wetlands. Through this process, we find that there is a need for a change in scale from a focus on single wetlands to wetlandscapes (multiple neighboring wetlands including their catchments and surrounding landscape features) if multiple societal and environmental goals are to be achieved. Finally, we discuss the key factors to be considered when planning for re-establishment of wetlands that can support achievement of a wide range of objectives at the landscape scale.