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Article

Intercalibrating classifications of ecological status: Europe's quest for common management objectives for aquatic ecosystems

Citation
Birk S, Willby N, Kelly MG, Bonne W, Borja A, Poikane S & van de Bund W (2013) Intercalibrating classifications of ecological status: Europe's quest for common management objectives for aquatic ecosystems. Science of the Total Environment, 454-455, pp. 490-499. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.03.037

Abstract
Halting and reversing the deterioration of aquatic ecosystems requires concerted action across state boundaries and administrative barriers. However, the achievement of common management objectives is jeopardised by different national quality targets and ambitions. The European Water Framework Directive requires that quality classifications are harmonised via an intercalibration exercise, ensuring a consistent level of ambition in the protection and restoration of surface water bodies across 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 has been completed, mostly due to a lack of national assessment methods. The process has fostered a scientific debate on ecological classification with important implications for environmental management. Despite a significant level of statistical abstraction, intercalibration yielded a fundamental and unified vision of what constitutes good ecology across Europe, in principle ensuring greater parity in the funds invested to achieve good ecological status.

Keywords
Biological assessment; Comparability criteria; Ecological status boundary; (Pseudo-)common metric; Reference/alternative benchmarking; Water Framework Directive

Journal
Science of the Total Environment: Volume 454-455

StatusPublished
Author(s)Birk, Sebastian; Willby, Nigel; Kelly, Martyn G; Bonne, Wendy; Borja, Angel; Poikane, Sandra; van de Bund, Wouter
Publication date30/06/2013
Date accepted by journal10/03/2013
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/19593
PublisherElsevier
ISSN0048-9697
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