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Estuarine research: the crossing of frontiers
Heip, C.H.R. (2002). Estuarine research: the crossing of frontiers, in: ECSA Local Meeting: ecological structures and functions in the Scheldt Estuary: from past to future, Antwerp, Belgium October 7-10, 2002: abstract book. pp. 6
In: (2002). ECSA Local Meeting: ecological structures and functions in the Scheldt Estuary: from past to future, Antwerp, Belgium October 7-10, 2002: abstract book. University of Antwerp: Antwerp. 73 + 1 cd-rom pp., more

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  • VLIZ: Open Repository 126912 [ OMA ]
  • VLIZ: Proceedings [35115]
Document type: Conference paper

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  • Heip, C.H.R., more

Abstract
    Estuaries are the transit zones where the river basins drain into the sea. These rivers are convenient borders between countries and historically they have been separating rather than bringing together people. In the present day situation, the handicap of river basins often covering several countries is still all too visible, despite the important efforts to coordinate and tune management and research. The Scheldt is a typical example where historically the interests of different users have often led to conflicts, and this continues till today. It is well known that human use of the Scheldt has brought the system to the limits of its resilience and beyond. The biogeochemical state of the system has changed in a qualitative way and despite increasing and costly efforts to clean up, it will take many years before it returns to its original state, if at all. In the saline part of the estuary most of the human impact over the centuries has been through constructing dykes and dredging the channels, and restoration of (part of) the original ecosystem will be difficult as well as costly. All the past impacts and the present international context have greatly stimulated scientific research in the basin. The Scheldt estuary is one of the best studied in the world but still a lot of uncertainties exist. This may be due to intrinsic characteristics of the basin (a difficult river system to understand) or because the research itself has been fragmented, within the agencies and the academic institutes and between them, or because the research has been ill-guided (or poor). In the last few years there have been several efforts to overcome these difficulties and to go for rational management of the entire basin. This will require good cooperation between countries, agencies, academic research and the end-user. The new initiatives (Flemish-Dutch Cooperation in Estuarine Research and the LTV) will certainly help to achieve this long-term objective.

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