Skip to main content
European Commission logo

ECOMAR: A data-driven framework for ecosystem-based Maritime Spatial Planning in Danish marine waters. Results and conclusions from a development and demonstration project


We report the developments and results of the ECOMAR project, which have taken place 2018-2020 and was funded by THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS. ECOMAR has established state-of-the-art data sets for the distribution of human activities and pressures as well as ecosystem components in Danish marine waters. ECOMAR has mapped the combined effects of multiple human pressures, ranked pressures and analysed the potential effects of changes in pressure intensities and new human activities. ECOMAR has also outlined how zoning could be initiated in Denmark. Further, ECOMAR has modelled scenarios for 2030 and 2050 and concludes that agreed strategies and plans will probably not lead to reductions in human activities and pressures and accordingly unlikely to lead to improvements in environmental status.

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Coherence with other processes:
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • What are the developments and results of the ECOMAR project?

Implementation Context:

This report has been developed within the scope of the ECOMAR project that focuses on ecosystem-based maritime spatial planning, especially on the development and demonstration of state-of-the-art methods informing future decision-making.

Aspects / Objectives:

The aim of this report is to present the results of the ECOMAR project.


ECOMAR has gathered state-of-the-art data sets relating to spatial distributions of human activities, pressures and ecosystem components in Danish marine waters. A wide range of relevant pressures (n = 42) are included as well as a broad range of ecosystem components (n = 56) covering pelagic habitats, benthic habitats, fish, seabirds and marine mammals. ECOMAR has applied existing tools such as SeaSketch and EcoImpactMapper, but also developed specific codes for the purpose of post-processing results.

Main Outputs / Results:

With this synthesis report, key ECOMAR results imply that: i) the combined stress on marine ecosystems and their species, habitats and communities will probably increase towards 2030 and 2050, and ii) there is no evidence suggesting that the Danish implementation of the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive will support the implementation of the MSFD and WFD and thus lead to improved environmental conditions in Danish waters.


This work can benefit relevant authorities and other potential end-users to make use of data sets, tools and results in the context of evidence-based management or in projects following up on ECOMAR.

Responsible Entity:

ECOMAR project.

Funding Source:

This report was produced within the framework of the ECOMAR project that was funded by the VILLUM Foundation for the period 2018-2020.