Studiecirklar om diken – ‘Study circles’ on ditch management

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A new participatory approach for increasing landowners’ knowledge on how to manage drainage ditches that play a key role in Swedish agriculture.

Project summary: 

A significant part of Sweden’s agricultural land depends on functioning soil drainage systems through ditches. As the climate is changing, weather patterns are predicted to change and extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts will become more common. 
For Swedish agriculture to adapt to these changes, stakeholders will have to take action in developing an effective and continuous ditch management system. Currently, many ditches are not in good condition. To increase ditch management knowledge and know-how, the project designed a ditch management educational concept using ‘study circles’. Study circles offer a platform for learning and easy communication with the authorities. They also generate a bottom-up approach for good water management and climate adaption in Sweden. 

Project results: 

So far, 46 study circles have been organised in different parts of Sweden with 477 participants. 
43 circle coaches have received training by attending two-day courses. 
Direct benefits from the study circles include the increased knowledge among landowners on how to manage ditches. This allows them to develop sustainable maintenance strategies with several benefits, including less nutrient leakage and reduced nitrous oxide emissions.