Environmental Impact Assessments
Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) assist in the identification, prioritisation and mitigation of impacts as a consequence of Arctic activities such as oil and gas exploitation, shipping, harbour development and fisheries. These assessments facilitate industries, NGOs and governments in optimising investments in minimising negative impacts and maximising positive impacts.
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Life Cycle Analysis
EIA methods focus primarily on the impacts during the operational phase of Arctic activities. Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is a method of determining the impact of an Arctic activity throughout the life cycle, ‘from the cradle to the grave’. Research projects also relate to sustainability themes such as the carbon-foodprint protocols. All experts within Wageningen University & Research have joined forces in the LCA Consortium in order to optimise interdisciplinary exchange of knowledge.
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Socio-economic Impact Assessments
Wageningen University & Research develops tools for Socio-economic Impact Assessments. An integrated assessment framework is applied, using both quantitative as qualitative approaches. Such frameworks involve multiple indicators determining objectives, opportunities and constraints of stakeholders in specific Arctic regions. Stakeholder participation is often a crucial element in selecting, defining and weighing of indicators. Our tools assist in assessing the impact of new Arctic activities and facilitate industries, NGOs and governments to optimize investments so that adverse effects on local communities and indigenous peoples can be reduced or avoided, and positive effects enhanced.
Environmental monitoring is one of the core businesses of Wageningen University & Research. Monitoring in the Arctic is essential to identify key processes in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Monitoring is often being used as a tool for comparative analysis, i.e. to characterise an Arctic ecosystem before, during and after offshore or onshore activities. WUR offers different types of monitoring, including abiotic monitoring, biological monitoring, in-active biological monitoring and in-passive biological monitoring.
Marine Mammal Observing
Wageningen University & Research has certified Marine Mammal Observers specialised in polar regions. They are able to carry out observations either from ships, airplanes or helicopters. In general the observers’ tasks consists of species detection and identification, compliance monitoring and reporting.
In the Arctic, indigenous peoples such as the Nenets of Yamal, the Sami of Scandinavia and the Inuit of North America play a crucial role in new developments. Therefore it is important to involve them in these new developments. Our university and research institutes often facilitates participatory learning processes with various Arctic stakeholders. We develop theoretical and applied foundations, methods and tools for stakeholder analysis in order to assess their aims, interests, resources and relations. We also provide courses on multi-stakeholder processes and social learning. Our expertise is based on world-wide field research, literature study, internet analysis, and interviews.
In the Arctic Region there is no comprehensive international regulatory framework that guide environmental and social impacts of new activities. Therefore it is very relevant to get overviews of relevant legislation, treaties, covenants, guidelines and voluntary codes of conduct applied in the Arctic region. Such overviews help stakeholders to identify gaps that can be filled either by top down or bottom up initiatives.
Mesocosm are experimental ecosystems for testing under realistic semi-field conditions. WUR has access to mesocosms at Svalbard, Norway, e.g. for ecotoxicological testing of Arctic oil spills. We also have mesocosms in the Netherlands for testing under temperate climate conditions.
Chemical analytical laboratory
The laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art analysis equipment like two-dimensional gas chromatography (GCxGC), a Time of Flight mass spectrometer (GC-TOF-MS) and gas chromatography with mass selective detection (GC-MS). The lab also has liquid chromatography equipment with UV, scatter or fluorescence detection (HPLC), but also mass selective detection (HPLC-ESI-MS). On request we can develop new measuring methods and coordinate the sample programs.
GIS, spatial planning and remote sensing
Spatial planning, water management and food production in the Arctic are just a few examples of the societal issues that Wageningen University & Research focuses on. These issues often have a direct relation with the Arctic environment and suitable locations for new activities. To manage the Arctic environment, collecting and analysing information about its condition and development is imperative.
Wageningen University & Research has several fields of expertise in the development of models. They often include risk assessments of activities in the Arctic, such as the oil and gas industry, fisheries and shipping. Examples of models are DREAM, CUMULEO and CHARM.
Metropolitan Food Clusters
The Arctic region currently relies on import of food, whereas in the future short season agriculture might be possible. Metropolitan Food Clusters (MFC) meet these challenges by aiming at vertical and horizontal integration of value chains. Components of the MFC-network are, at one end of the chain, production regions with Rural Transformation Centres that shift to sustainable production and precision agriculture.