Title: Intercalibrating classifications of ecological status: Europe's quest for common management objectives for aquatic ecosystems
Authors: BIRK SebastianWILLBY NigelBONNE WendyKELLY MartynBORJA AngelPOIKANE SandraVAN DE BUND Wouter
Citation: SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT vol. 454-455 p. 490-499
Publisher: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Publication Year: 2013
JRC N°: JRC76558
ISSN: 0048-9697
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969713003306
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC76558
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.03.037
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Halting and reversing the deterioration of aquatic ecosystems requires concerted action across state boundaries and administrative barriers. Yet the definition of common management objectives is hampered by different national quality targets and ambitions. The European Water Framework Directive requires that quality classifications are harmonised via an intercalibration exercise, safeguarding a consistent level of ambition in the protection and restoration of surface water bodies in the member states of the European Union. We outline the key principles of the intercalibration methodology, review the achievements of intercalibration and discuss its benefits and drawbacks. Less than half of the required intercalibration is currently accomplished, owing mainly to a lack of national assessment methods. The process generally fostered a scientific debate on ecological classification with important implications for environmental management. Despite the significant level of statistical abstraction, intercalibration yielded a fundamental and unified vision of what constitutes good ecology across Europe, ensuring greater parity in the funds invested to achieve good ecological status.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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