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Marine landscapes and benthic habitats in the Archipelago Sea


This report describes the validation of local scale marine landscapes and EUNIS habitats of the Archipelago Sea.

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 marine landscapes in the Archipelago Sea and how can they be used as data input in environmental decision processes in this area?
  • How can marine landscapes be used in environmental decision processes in general?
  • What can be done to improve the use of marine landscapes in these processes?

Implementation Context

Marine landscapes are an approach to classify the marine environment on the basis of available geophysical and hydrographical parameters to represent ecologically valid assemblages. Marine landscapes are seen as a cost-effective means to guide environmental managers in ecosystem based decision-making. In order to be able to use them in management, we must assess their accuracy, confidence and biological relevance to ensure their validity and to avoid pitfalls. In addition, we must be aware of their faults and advantages to make suggestions on how the said maps could be used in management and planning. In this case study local marine landscapes have been researched, and provided insight to what the archipelago (the case study) consists of and more importantly enables validation of the available datasets.

Aspects / Objectives

  • Describe detailed scale marine landscapes and EUNIS habitats
  • Assess the accuracy and confidence of background datasets to evaluate usefulness of the landscape and habitat maps
  • Study biological relevance of the landscape and habitat maps
  • Improve communication between geologists and biologists
  • Provide suggestions for future development of marine landscapes


  1. Describe the identification of the Archipelago Sea local scale marine landscapes and the EUNIS habitats and study their distribution.
  2. Examine the accuracy and confidence of the datasets
  3. Analyse the biological relevance of the landscapes and the habitats identified. Validation was accomplished with statistical analyses on the basis of benthic grab samples and underwater video.

Main Outputs / Results

The report shows the main results on defining EUNIS habitats and three different sets of marine landscapes from the Archipelago Sea with the raster size of 50 m.

Furthermore, the report states that marine landscapes have some ecological value, even though not very clear. They give the broad description of the distribution patterns in the seafloor on the basis the best available data. Nevertheless the results should be handled with caution. Current marine landscapes can be used as background information to guide investigations to most interesting areas. At this point, however, there are too many uncertainties involved with the landscapes to execute management decisions based on them.

The researchers provided a set of recommendations with respect to marine landscape development (page 50).


Although applied in a specific case study, the results and discussion around the use of Marine Landscapes for decision-making processes is relevant for other sea basins too.

Costs / Funding Source

Interreg IIIB Baltic Sea Region

Responsible Entity

Finnish Environment Institute
Mechelininkatu 34a, Töölö, Helsinki
P.O.Box 140, FI-00251 Helsinki, Finland
e-mail: (neuvonta[dot]syke[at]ymparisto[dot]fi)
phone:+358 295 251 450
Fax: +358 9 454 6030 

Geological Survey of Finland

Betonimiehenkuja 4, FI-02151 Finland,  Espoo, P.O. Box 96, phone: +358 29 503 0000

e-mail:  gtk [_]