25 March 2019 from 12:45 to 13:45

PhD defence of Sven Teurlincx

Connecting the ditches: a spatial perspective on biodiversity in Dutch polder landscapes

With more than 300,000 km, ditches are an important part of wet nature in the Netherlands. In polders ditches, high biodiversity of plants and animals can occur. Though connected, ditches are not all the same, showing highly different communities of plants and animals. In our work we show that biodiversity varies greatly between ditches and polders, and that these differences contribute to the diversity of the western peat meadow region. Nutrients play a clear role in the emergence of different plant communities, which contribute to the diversity of a polder as a whole. Steering the occurrence of these different communities can be done by means of varied management regime (mowing, dredging) on the polders scale. However, an excess of nutrients is undesirable and lead to dense layers of duckweed and lack of oxygen in the water. Because most polders systems are strongly influenced by intensive agriculture, the flow of nutrients is often quite high. This makes duckweed dominance a given. By dividing the agricultural pressure differently through the polder though, there is potential to develop more desirable plant species in part of the polder. However, this is at the expense of other ditches in the polder where the increased agricultural pressure leads to a greater chance of duckweed formation. The challenges for biodiversity management in ditch systems lie in maintaining a wide variety of environmental conditions both within and between polders without disrupting these systems in such a way that duckweeds proliferate. This requires regionally oriented policy and management.

Start date and time
25 March 2019 12:45
End date and time
25 March 2019 13:45
PhD candidate
S. Teurlincx
Connecting the ditches: a spatial perspective on biodiversity in Dutch polder landscapes
PhD supervisor(s)
prof. dr. E. van Donk
dr. S.A.J. Declerck