3 July 2012

Mistra EviEM reviews reindeer grazing and wetlands

The Mistra Council for Evidence-Based Environmental Management (EviEM), formed on 1 January 2012, has chosen its initial topics for systematic review: the environmental effects of reindeer grazing and constructed wetlands.

Sif Johansson, Mistra EviEM’s Director, says:
– Our first reviews will provide knowledge for two of Sweden’s national environmental quality objectives: A Magnificent Mountain Landscape and Zero Eutrophication. The subjects were proposed by public agencies and other stakeholders involved in the issues concerned. Our systematic reviews may be seen as the link between research and its stakeholders.

For reindeer grazing, the need is to survey its effects on the montane vegetation of North Sweden. Is the grazing harmful to the vegetation or is it, on the contrary, a precondition for the species richness of the mountain region? As for constructed wetlands, Mistra EviEM will review their capacity to bind nitrogen. Most people agree that they do this. But how much nitrogen can a constructed wetland remove from water, and how much does the rate vary?

Mistra EviEM is the first centre in Sweden with the remit of systematically reviewing various environmental issues and the remedies adopted. A group of international scientists appointed specially for each review examine relevant academic literature. These experts’ task is to judge whether there is sufficient evidence that the environmental measures in use are effective and yield the desired result, or whether they may be harmful. Each review is expected to take one to two years.

– One model for EviEM’s work is the Swedish Council on Technology Assessment in Health Care (SBU), which has long and successfully reviewed healthcare measures, says Johan Edman, a programme director at Mistra.

Mistra is providing a total of some SEK 60 million to fund EviEM’s activities in 2012–16.