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From MARine Ecosystem Accounting to integrated governance for sustainable planning of marine and coastal areas

Funding Programme:

2014 - 2020 INTERREG V-A Finland - Estonia - Latvia - Sweden (Central Baltic)

Funding Programme:

2014 - 2020 INTERREG V-A Finland - Estonia - Latvia - Sweden (Central Baltic)


Completion Year:

Implementation Period:

Overall budget: € 1,515,601.45

EU contribution: € 1,202,608.78

About the Project:

The ecosystem-based approach (EBA) is a strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes their conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. EBA is a cornerstone of many EU directives but to date there is no clear guidance on how to implement it in practice for instance, in maritime spatial planning processes.

Ecosystems are linked to human well-being through the flow of ecosystem services, i.e., the benefits the marine environment and its resources deliver to society such as, the production of economically exploitable biomasses (e.g. fish.). A weak integration of ecology and economy results in a disconnection of economic analysis from the functioning of ecosystems. Current evaluation approaches hardly capture the cumulative impact of different human activities on ecosystems, thereby failing in the achievement of a sustainable use of natural resources. To sustain climate and seawater quality these benefits have to be regulated. Therefore, novel assessment methodologies, which are more adequate to reflect the complexity of natural and human systems interactions, are needed to further develop joint and integrated governance among MSP, MSFD and other integral regional strategies concerning the Baltic Sea.

Expected results

The main results of the MAREA will be:

  • A framework for describing the marine ecosystem services produced in a specific area;
  • A model and a framework combining the ecosystem services concept with marine ecosystem accounting in an operationally relevant spatial scale;
  • Development of Sustainability Compass in marine context to study the realisation of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the pilot cases;
  • Development of geospatial tool to enable easy access to integrated data and analyses.

All of the main results provide a possibility to increase further the share of coastal and marine areas with improved management by providing an opportunity for more integrated assessment of nature capital and the consequences of its use and by developing tools to monitor the impacts of management decisions on the marine environment.

Project partners

  • Finnish Environment Institute - Lead partner (FI);
  • Baltic Environmental Forum (LV);
  • Pellervo Economic Research PTT (FI);
  • University of Tartu (EE).