It is already some time ago, but still worth mentioning a small, well organized and friendly conference at a beautiful site in Denmark in May.
The aim was to compare practices for restoring small lakes (from turbid to clear water state) with the main case studies from Denmark and Sweden. I was invited by our partners from “Algae Be Gone” to present and discuss our approach analyzing regime shifts using a social-ecological lake model. Further, experienced limnologists presented their (non-)success stories on restoring freshwater quality towards a better state. Their approaches covered sophisticated monitoring techniques identifying the sources of eutrophication, so that they can be reduced, experimental ecology research investigating community structure and processes within lakes, and at some places they look for effects of biomanipulation (catching huge amounts of planctivorous fish) on algae growth.
But this conference was going beyond the purely scientific discourse. Special was that local practitioners and governance actors where invited as well so that the discussions broadened the scope for example regarding practicability of certain restoration techniques. I was personally impressed by the engagement of practitioners who master the challenge to bridge between scientific accuracy, richness of approaches and the local needs and constraints mediated by local stakeholders. (For example our partners from ‘Algae be gone’ produced this swedish video clip explaining their work.)
Complementing the presentations, we had several excursions via boat and bus to visit local case study areas. These tours made impressively clear how demanding restoration work can be, what kind of social obstructions may hinder progress and how long it takes to prove the positive effects of taken actions. Since current scientific projects aim at meta-analyzing the success of particularly biomanipulation strategies, I am still wondering how the experiential richness from lake management practitioners can be properly recognized and integrated to such a generalized view building constrained by scientific hurdles such as ‘significance’.
Finally, I would like to thank the organizers for the invitation, this great opportunity to ‘reconnect to nature’ and the successful meeting!