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TitleHabitat mapping towards an ecosystem approach in marine spatial planning
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LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorSchiele, K S; Darr, A; Pesch, R; Schuchardt, B; Kuhmann, C
SourceProgram and abstracts: 2017 GeoHab Conference, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada; by Todd, B JORCID logo; Brown, C J; Lacharité, M; Gazzola, V; McCormack, E; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 8295, 2017 p. 107, Open Access logo Open Access
LinksGeoHab 2017
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Meeting2017 GeoHab: Marine Geological and Biological Habitat Mapping; Dartmouth, NS; CA; May 1-4, 2017
Documentopen file
Mediaon-line; digital
RelatedThis publication is contained in Program and abstracts: 2017 GeoHab Conference, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
File formatpdf
Subjectsmarine geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; geophysics; mapping techniques; oceanography; marine environments; coastal studies; conservation; marine organisms; marine ecology; resource management; biological communities; environmental studies; ecosystems; planning; benthos; biotopes; Biology; Decision making
ProgramOffshore Geoscience
Released2017 09 26
AbstractMarine spatial planning (MSP) coordinates human activities at sea to avoid spatial conflict and to identify suitable space for these activities. Successful planning requires the best available data to base decision upon. Nevertheless, marine plans have been prepared without e.g. high resolution habitat or biotope maps being available for the planning area.
As the ecosystem approach has been widely adopted as an overarching principle of MSP, mapping of benthic biotopes has become even more relevant to identify areas of importance for nature conservation.
Our study provides a scientific basis for an ecosystem approach in MSP by 1) developing biotope maps, 2) identifying relevant areas/ spatial claims for nature conservation and 3) considering trans-national issues. We present work from the Baltic Sea and the North Sea focusing on offshore waters.
The maps illustrate the distribution of benthic species, habitats and biotopes according to different levels in the regional classification systems (EUNIS or HELCOM Underwater Biotope classification system). Regional applicability and comparability of classification systems is of special relevance e.g. to identify stepping stones in biotope networks that extend to the waters of neighboring countries.
Areas where protected species and biotopes occur are evaluated in terms of ecological importance (hot-spot for the species, size, and ecological condition). The most important areas are identified as spatial claims for nature conservation. While a broad overlap of these areas with already designated MPAs confirm their relevance, additional areas outside the borders of MPAs were identified. This finding highlights the importance of MSP for nature conservation.
Based on current research we provide scientific information translated into spatial claims for nature conservation to be considered in an integrated ocean management. Planners and decision makers are enabled to make more informed choices and thus reaching better decisions.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The sixteenth annual GeoHab Conference was held this year (2017) at the Waterfront Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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