Current marine pressures and mechanisms driving changes in marine habitats

dario.fiorentino [ at ]


Human activities and the resultant pressures they place on the marine environment have been widely demonstrated to contribute to habitat degradation, therefore, their identification and quantification is an essential step towards any meaningful restoration effort. The overall scope of MERCES Deliverable 1.2 is to review current knowledge regarding the major marine pressures placed upon marine ecosystems in EU waters and the mechanisms by which they impact habitats in order to determine potential restoration pathways. An understanding of their geographical distribution is critical for any local assessment of degradation, as well as for planning conservation and restoration actions. This information would ideally be in the form of maps, which: (a) compile single or multiple activities and pressures over broad scales, integrating and visualizing available data and allowing direct identification of aggregations as well as gaps and (b) may be overlaid with habitat maps (or any other map layer containing additional information), thus combining different data levels and producing new information to be used for example when implementing EU policies. The deliverable also documents typical example habitat case studies, the prominent impacts and consequences of activities and pressures towards the identification of possible restoration or mitigation actions. Finally the deliverable discusses pressures, assessments, marine spatial planning and blue growth potential. Activities and pressures are used in a strict sense, where marine activities are undertaken to satisfy the needs of societal drivers (e.g. aquaculture or tourism) and pressures are considered to be the mechanism through which an activity has an actual or potential effect on any part of the ecosystem (e.g. for demersal trawling activity, one pressure would be abrasion of the seabed). Habitats are addressed using a nested approach from large-scale geological features (e.g. shallow soft bottoms) to species-characterised habitats (e.g. Posidonia meadows) because of the way they are referred to in current policy documents which lack standard and precise definitions.

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Smith, C. , Dailianis, T. , Papadopoulou, N. , Gerovasileiou, V. , Sevastou, K. , Grehan, A. , Billett, D. , McOwen, C. , Amaro, T. , Bakran-Petricioli, T. , Bekkby, T. , Bilan, M. , Boström, C. , Carriero-Silva, M. , Carugati, L. , Cebrian, E. , Cerrano, C. , Christie, H. , Danovaro, R. , Eronat, E. G. T. , Fiorentino, D. , Fraschetti, S. , Gagnon, K. , Gambi, C. , Hereu, B. , Kipson, S. , Kotta, J. , Linares, C. , Morato, T. , Ojaveer, H. , Orav-Kotta, H. , Pham, C. K. , Rinde, E. , Sarà, A. and Scrimgeour, R. (2017): Current marine pressures and mechanisms driving changes in marine habitats , [Other]

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