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Proposal for an ecosystem service framework for assessment of impacts of planning alternatives in a MSP perspective


The document is developed within the framework of the Bonus Basmati project. It provides the first proposal to turn one of the existing classifications into the marine-specific and MSP-relevant framework that can be used in BONUS Basmati case studies. 

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


  • Why is an ecosystem service framework needed to assess the impacts of planning alternatives in MSP? 


The work was carried out in the framework of the Baltic Sea Maritime Spatial Planning for Sustainable Ecosystem Services (BONUS BASMATI) project.


The aim of the report is to contribute to the development of a unified framework of criteria and indicators to be used in assessment of alternative planning scenarios, taking into account the differences that might exist between economic and social development, and development goals in national and local contexts.


As a first step, the ecosystem-based management concept is described. The need for a framework for impact assessment, building on the ecosystem service (ESS) concept, and an explanation as to why it is seen as embedded in the environmental assessment framework called DPSIR, are provided. A review of existing literature on the ecosystem service frameworks, as well as the framework and criteria for the BONUS Basmati project, thanks to the indicators from scientific articles, terrestrial ESS frameworks and HELCOM indicators, are presented. Based on a summary of user objectives indicated in policy and planning objectives related to the Baltic Sea, feedback on the criteria and indicators are provided by the experts involved in the MSP processes.


Clear definitions for the cascade steps and an indicator list, which shall serve as an inspiration for case-study specific selections of indicators in BONUS Basmati, are proposed. It is expected that the case studies will provide inputs to the development and specification of the indicator list, as well as to the ecosystem service framework.

The ecosystem service framework presented is the first proposal to turn one of the existing classifications into a marine-specific and MSP-relevant framework that can be used in BONUS Basmati’s case studies.


Although the proposal was developed for the Baltic Sea, the information and methodology could be applied to other regions.

Responsible Entity: 

Bonus Basmati project.

Funding Source: 

The work was sponsored by the BONUS (art. 185), funded jointly by the EU, Innovation Fund Denmark, Swedish Research Council Formas, Academy of Finland, Latvian Ministry of Education and Science and Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (Germany).