Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
- The expansion and intensification of marine uses have severe cumulative impacts on marine ecosystems and human well-being, unless they are properly managed with an ecosystem-based management approach.
- A systematic conservation planning approach, using marxan with zones, was applied to generate alternative marine spatial plans for the Aegean Sea. Relevant human uses were included and their cumulative impact on a wide set of key biodiversity features was considered in the analysis. Different cost scenarios were developed to gain insight on the effects of the approaches used to assess socio-economic factors, and their potential impact on spatial plans.
- The spatial plans generated differed greatly depending on the method used to estimate opportunity costs and evaluate human activities in monetary terms.
- The vulnerability weights (the relative vulnerability of ecological features to specific human activities and their impacts) that were estimated based on a cumulative impact assessment, allowed the assessment of each zone in contributing to the achievement of conservation targets, through a transparent planning approach.
- Results indicate that special care should be given to how socio-economic activities, their impact on the ecosystems, and related costs are incorporated into planning.
- The proposed approach demonstrates how EU member states may effectively comply with the new Biodiversity Strategy 2030 targets, while planning for the sustainable use of their marine resources.
Costs / Funding Source:
MARItime Spatial planning for the protection and Conservation of the biodiversity in the Aegean sea (MARISCA Project:www.marisca.eu), co-funded with 85% from the EEA GRANTS, 2009–2014, and 15% from the Public Investments Programme (PIP) of the Hellenic Republic.
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