Consequences for Different Functions 271 Nature and Agriculture

Nature and agriculture is dependent on the soil type. This means for the Groningen situation that the peat colonies, with a sandy dry soil, have a different starting point for development than the Groningen Highland, with its clay soil, or the area around the city of Groningen.

Fig. 2.15 (Continued)

The question in the peat colonies is whether water can be stored in the increasing wet wintertime in order to use it in the dry summers with water scarcity. The realisation of water storage areas is expensive, but will be necessary in the future because the availability and quality of IJssel lake water, which provides the peat colonies with water today, is uncertain.

In the clay areas of the Groningen Highlands wheat production has an advantage because the availability of water in dry summers in this area is better, because clay is better capable of keeping water in the soil. There is a disadvantage as well. The wetter spring causes difficulties in cultivating the land. A good drainage is essential. Irrigation from storage basins, where surpluses of water is collected (Meerstad, Blauwe Stad and agricultural saving basins) is in the Highlands only necessary in extreme dry summers, but it might be the solution to provide the sandy areas of the pet colonies with water during the entire summer. The effectiveness of such basins needs to be judged, because of the evaporation and possible negative consequences of fluctuations in watermark.

In the area southern of the city of Groningen, the Hondsrug, extension of existing forests of sandy soils (oak and beech), can be applied to prevent the area from drying out.

If seawater inundates at several places along the coast, salt water will flow over the fields in the winter period. These saline fields are suitable for saline crops, which can grow in early spring. Nowadays the market chances of these saline products are not yet very large and will probably stay a niche market in the future. But the future is unpredictable. Who would have thought in the 1980s that this strange green cauliflower-like vegetable was brought to his student-home by a Wageningen

Fig. 2.16 Consequences for agriculture in Groningen (Source: DHV3 , 2007)

plant-breeder, today is at least once a week on every Dutch dinner table: the broccoli (Figs. 2.16 and 2.17).

Dry nature will have to face difficulties to survive, due to the drying out. The Wadden Sea is in danger as a result of a rising sea level. A possible solution might be an offensive coastal defence, for instance in the form of a new protective line

3In the key of these maps the term 'climate change according KNMI' is used. This has to be 'a compilation of elements from different KNMI'06 scenarios'.

Fig. 2.17 Consequences for nature in Groningen (Source: DHV, 2007)

of new islands or an artificial reef. These interventions are meant to create a quiet lagoon, where more sand is able to sedimentate and more sandbanks will fall dry during ebb-tides. The effect of this intervention should keep the ecosystem of the Wadden Sea intact. The creation of such large scale and robust natural reserves is needed to give nature better chances to survive.

Ecological structures in the province of Groningen need ideally be connected to the lowest and wettest parts of the province. These areas contain enough water in the dry summer periods to allow the ecosystems to survive. The east-west connection between Dollard and Lauwers Lake is very suitable for this. The edges of the brooks are in these long dry summer periods most vulnerable. It can be questioned if these gradients will survive these changing circumstances.

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