Lake Vänern LTER site

Site description

Lake Vänern LTER site constitutes the biggest lakes in Sweden with almost 300 000 habitants in surrounding areas. The lake was heavily polluted during the 1950 to 1970 but its condition has improved, and today the lake has both high economic and social importance. Due to the pollution history continuous monitoring of the environment of Lake Vänern started in 1973 and was revised in 1996. The environmental program has a fixed element and a variable element. The fixed element consists of regular yearly inspections and regular inspections that take place at less frequent intervals. The variable element consists of projects designed to examine and enhance the lake's environment, together with campaign-type surveys, e.g. after temporary disturbances to the environment. The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) collect on a regular basis the water level of Lake Vänern and its surrounding rivers. Other regular studies focus on hazardous substances in fish, Ecological stocktaking of fish (by echo sounder) and Inventory of nesting birds on skerries.

Within the Lake Vänern LTER site lies the newly formed Biosphere Reserve Lake Vänern Archipelago and Mount Kinnekulle. This reserve extends over three municipalities and strives to create a balance between use and conservation and hence becoming a role model and a model area for sustainable development, which is done through collaboration between stakeholders, governance and general public. The Biosphere Reserve is a part of the UNESCO´s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme.

Site aims and research themes 

The aim of the Lake Vänern LTER-site is:
·          To use Lake Vänern as a model area for sustainable use of lake
           ecosystem services.
·          To coordinate produced data and results within the region and make
            them accessible to scientists and a broader general public
·          To build a functional infrastructure with existing support services in
            the area and to create new cross-disciplinary research projects.

The main present research themes are lake physics and chemistry, climate change impacts on limnology and its biological consequences, and fish resource dynamics. The Lake Vänern region is also a target for many multidisciplinary projects (e.g. in the fields of history, geography and sociology) which may in future expand our activity from ecological research to socio-ecological research.

Principal contacts 
Marcus Drotz, Ph.D. (marcus.drotz(at)
Lake Vänern Museum of Natural and Cultural History
Framnäsvägen 2, SE- 531 54

Lake Vänern facts

Lakesurface                                                     5 650 km²
Max. depth                                                        106 m
Average depth                                                  27 m
Volume                                                              153 km³
Turnover rate                                                    8-9 years
Catchment area, excluding lake surface    46 800 km²
Number of islands (>25m²)                          12 285 858
Shore length, including islands                   4 500 km
Drinking water (number of persons)           800 000
Water regulation (normal)                              0.7-0.8 m
Water transparency                                         4-6 m
Phosphorus (normal)                                     6-8 ?g/l
Nitrogen (normal)                                            0.8 mg/l
Chlorophyll (normal)                                       2-3 mg/m



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