Story map: Ecosystem Services and Climate Change in the Baltic Sea


The BONUS BalticAPP project intended to develop a holistic causal framework of human-nature interactions relevant for the provision of aquatic ecosystem services (mainly fish and recreation) in the Baltic Sea. The story maps developed in this context show the geographical distribution of cultural ecosystem services in terms of recreational sites in selected areas in the Baltic Sea region. Furthermore projections of sea surface temperature changes are presented for two different future societal extremes: sustainable future and severe climate change. Finally cod and sprat fish catch scenarios are shown under those two extreme futures.

Sea Basin(s): 
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Type of Issue: 
Type of practice: 
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • Which are the most often visited sites along the Baltic Sea Coast by Germans, Fins and Latvians?
  • Which recreation sites in the urban areas of Helsinki, Riga and Kiel are visited most often?
  • How often do people living at the Baltic Sea visit the coast?
  • Where are opportunities for recreational activities located?
  • Where do people experience historically and culturally important places?
  • How will the sea surface temperature in the Baltic Sea change according to different scenarios of climate change?
  • What is the expected geographical distribution and amount of cod and sprat catches according to different climate change scenarios?

Implementation Context:

The BONUS BalticAPP project team developed a holistic causal framework of human-nature interactions relevant for the provision of aquatic ecosystem services (especially in terms of fishing and recreation) in the Baltic Sea.

It is assumed that the development of society and climate, determine the level of ecosystem services for recreation and fishing in the future. Societal pressures on the marine environment result from the amount of nutrients emitted or from the type of fisheries applied, but also effect fisheries and the value of recreational sites. The climate influences the marine environment through changes in temperature and precipitation.

Aspects / Objectives:

  • Human-nature interactions, relevant for the provision of aquatic ecosystem services in terms of fishing and recreation in the Baltic Sea (maps on recreation are focused on Finland, Latvia and Germany).
  • Geographical distribution of cultural ecosystem services regarding tourism in Finland, Latvia and at the German Baltic Sea coast.
  • Other cultural ecosystem services for instance, inspiration for artistic work, an environment for learning and gaining new information, spiritual experiences, sense of belonging and symbolic meaning, and experiencing historically and culturally important places.
  • Distribution and development of sea surface temperature across the Baltic Sea
  • Geographical distribution of future cod and sprat catches in the Baltic Sea
  • Different scenarios of societal development and resulting climate change regimes


The story maps are based on data gathered during the BONUS BalticAPP project. Data on cultural ecosystem services has been gathered conducting a survey among Germans, Fins at Latvians.

For the climate scenarios mean results of four General Circulation Models (GCMs) have been downscaled and applied as atmospheric forcing for a regional coupled physical-biogeochemical model RCO-SCOBI.

For the future fish catching scenarios under different climate regimes, a coupled physical-biogeochemical model and an ecosystem model incorporating economic information have been used, parametrized to describe the central Baltic Sea ecosystem.

Main Outputs / Results:

The output consists of several easy to read maps of the Baltic Sea Region presented on a website. In total seven different topics are presented in one map or a group of maps.

The first story map shows the direct line from people's home (in Germany, Latvia and Finland) and their most visited site on the Baltic Sea coast. The second story map shows the average number of recreation visits to the Baltic Sea per visitor during a 12-month period. The third story map shows three urban hotspots in the Baltic Sea region: Helsinki, Riga and Kiel, chosen by the project team. The map indicates the most often visited recreational sites within those urban areas. The fourth story map shows important sites for cultural ecosystem services beyond recreational purposes in Germany, Latvia and Finland. The fifth story map presents sea surface temperatures by the end of the century under different climate scenarios. The sixth story map shows future cod catches in the Baltic Sea under different climate scenarios. The seventh story map presents future sprat catches in the Baltic Sea under different climate regimes.


The story maps are focused on the Baltic Sea. The survey regarding cultural ecosystem services only includes answers from Germany, Finland and Latvia. However, the applied method is very well suitable to be transferred to other sea basins or coastal regions.

Responsible Entity:

University of Helsinki (Project coordinator)

Aarhus University (WP Leader)

Costs / Funding Source:

This work resulted from the BONUS BALTICAPP project and was supported by BONUS (Art 185), funded jointly by the EU and the Academy of Finland, Innovation Fund Denmark, and Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development. The research presented in this study is part of the Baltic Earth (Earth System Science for the Baltic Sea Region) program.

Contact person:

Prof Kari Hyytiäinen, University of Helsinki

P.O. Box 33 (Yliopistonkatu 4)

00014 University of Helsinki, Finland

Phone: 02941 911


Marianne Zandersen,  Aarhus University

Frederiksborgvej 399

building 7420, K1.08

4000 Roskilde

Phone: +4587158728