FIG Peer Review Journal


Possibilities to Reduce Nutrient Loads to Water System in Land Consolidations (6431)

Juhana Hiironen and Kirsikka Niukkanen (Finland)
Dr Juhana Hiironen
Chief Expert
National Land Survey of Finland
Development Centre
Opastinsilta 12
Corresponding author Dr Juhana Hiironen (email: juhana.hiironen[at], tel.: +358503477562)

[ abstract ] [ paper ] [ handouts ]

Published on the web 2013-03-08
Received 2012-10-21 / Accepted 2013-02-02
This paper is one of selection of papers published for the FIG Working Week 2013 in Abuja, Nigeria and has undergone the FIG Peer Review Process.

FIG Working Week 2013
ISBN 978-87-92853-05-9 ISSN 2307-4086


The Finnish Government approved Water Protection Policy Outlines which defined needs and objectives, aiming especially to reduce the nutrient loads, especially from agriculture. The link between land consolidation and environmental protection activities is recognized in Finnish land consolidation strategy. According to the strategy public financing should be allocated so that the measures implemented produce the best possible impact. The strategy states that land consolidation should broadly support social goals, such as rural viability and environmental protection so that the activities would help to achieve the best possible overall impact to social welfare. The potential of land consolidations in water protection activities has just been recognized in the National Land Survey of Finland (NLS). Therefore activities aiming to reduce nutrient loads from agricultural fields have not been put in practice in Finnish land consolidations. At this moment it is not evident if reducing nutrient loads is something that should be one of the objectives that land consolidations have. Therefore measures aiming to reduce nutrient loads are not systematically considered when the re-allocation plan is drawn. This case study analyzed how much phosphorus and nitrogen loads would have reduced if land consolidation project (LCP) that was implemented in Järilä had included water protection activities. The study estimated the monetary value of the reduced nutrient loads. To define the reduction of nutrient loads loading values of VIHMA in corresponding field categories were used. To estimate the monetary value of the water protection activities substitute cost method was used. To define the significance of water protection measures its monetary value was compared to the cost of the project. By using VIHMA and the data collected from LCP the nutrient loads to water system were calculated before LCP. By assuming that grass fields had been re-arranged to risk areas phosphorus loads had been reduced 2,4 % and nitrogen loads increased 0,1 %. The monetary value of the changes in nutrient loads in the assumed situation had been 323 000 euro in total. This can be seen as a significant benefit since the total cost of the project were 546 000 euro. However, as the topography of the landscape differs significantly between different project areas, similar results might not occur in all LCPs. Based on the results of this study it can be stated that water protection activities should be taken into consideration when the objectives of land consolidation are defined and the re-allocation plan drawn.
Keywords: Land management; Land readjustment; land consolidation