Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Conflicts associated with dam removal in Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. (Landskapsekologi)
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2009 (English)In: Ecology and Society, ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 14, no 2, 4- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The increasing number of deteriorating old dams that need renovation or have lost their function make dam removal a viable management option. There are at least four major reasons for dam removal: safety, law and policy, economy, and ecology. Here we discuss 17 Swedish dams that were recently considered for removal. Because dam removal usually causes controversy, dam removal initiatives may succeed, fail, or result in a compromise such as a bypass channel for migrating fish. We identify and discuss three major obstructions to dam removal: funding, cultural-historical values, and threatened species. To facilitate dam removal, the reasons for, and the effects of, dam removal must be carefully explained, and the public and stakeholders must be kept informed. In complicated cases in which compromise solutions may be the most feasible outcome, the integration of the knowledge of different stakeholders is crucial. The involvement of diverse stakeholders increases their willingness to find compromises, thus avoiding conflicts and failures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wolfville: The Resilience Alliance , 2009. Vol. 14, no 2, 4- p.
Keyword [en]
controversies, dam removal, information, obstructions, reservoirs, rivers, stakeholder involvement, Sweden
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences Ecology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-25540ISI: 000278707200016OAI: diva2:232025
Available from: 2009-08-19 Created: 2009-08-19 Last updated: 2013-10-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Ecosystem response to dam removal
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ecosystem response to dam removal
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis aims to improve our understanding of how riverine ecosystems respond to dam removal. Riverine and particularly riparian ecosystems are among the most variable and important features of all landscapes. They connect landscape elements both longitudinally and laterally, and are governed by processes such as flooding, erosion and deposition that create dynamic, diverse and heterogeneous habitats. In fact, riparian zones are among the world’s most species-rich habitats. Worldwide there are millions of dams that fragment stream and river systems, regulate flows and degrade ecosystems. Dams impact freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecosystems and threaten biodiversity by disrupting organism movements and energy flows in the landscape. An important upstream effect of dams is inundation of habitats and development of new shorelines around impounded areas. Effects downstream of dams are mainly caused by changed hydrological regimes and retention of organic and inorganic materials in reservoirs, leading to reduced transport and dispersal of for example seeds to reaches downstream. The removal of dams create expectations that biota will eventually recover. We have studied a number of dam removal projects in Sweden. Our experimental results showed that following dam removal, newly exposed soils in former impoundments were rapidly colonized by pre-removal species. Their species richness increased slightly with time and their species composition indicated a slow change towards that in the reference site. In addition, the vegetation in formerly impounded areas showed a direction of change from lentic riparian plants (high proportion of aquatics) towards lotic ones, consisting of native perennials typical of free-flowing streams. We also found that the apprehensions that former impoundments would turn into pools of mud did not come true; in fact, a process towards more pristine channel morphology was observed. After removal there was erosion and downstream transport of sediment. We found only minor effects on macroinvertebrate communities. For example, a few species decreased over the years, suggesting that dam removal in itself might cause a temporary disturbance. This highlights the importance of long-term studies after dam removal, and also the importance of comparisons with pre-removal conditions and stretches unaffected by dams. Thorough documentation of executed dam removal projects and distribution of the results and experiences are tremendously important in the planning process of future decommissioning projects. Also, our experiences have taught us that in order to attain a successful dam removal it is important to involve stakeholders such as non-governmental organizations and local inhabitants in the process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2012. 26 p.
dam removal, macroinvertebrates, plant species, plant succession, restoration, riparian zone, sediment deposition, species richness, Sweden
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
biology; Ecological Botany; Hydrology
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-55586 (URN)978-91-7459-367-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-06-15, Uminova Science Park, Tvistevägen 48, Älgsalen, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2012-05-25 Created: 2012-05-22 Last updated: 2012-05-22Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

Lejon et al_EcolSoc2009(3112 kB)447 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 3112 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Lejon, Anna G.C.Malm Renöfält, BirgittaNilsson, Christer
By organisation
Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Earth and Related Environmental SciencesEcology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 447 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 656 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link