Assessment of the biodiversity status is required by several international obligations (HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, EU Habitats and Birds Directives, Marine Strategy Framework Directive). Currently, there are no commonly agreed procedures and methods for assessment of marine biodiversity and there is a little experience on assessment of conservation status of marine species and habitats. Comprehensive, indicator based, integrated assessment scheme for assessment and monitoring of status of marine biodiversity is currently missing on both national and international levels, and this is the gap that the project aimed to fill.
The Project developed a proposal for integrated, indicator based marine biodiversity assessment scheme as well as carried out demonstration of biodiversity assessment in the pilot areas. Data obtained from monitoring activities within the Project, as well as background data on marine biodiversity and sea-use impacts had been used for assessment. Based on results of the biodiversity assessment of the project areas, conclusions on the state of biodiversity of the north-eastern part of the Baltic Sea had been drawn.
The MSFD Marine Biodiversity Assessment Tool developed in the framework of MARMONI project by the Estonian Marine Institute with contribution of other MARMONI project experts is available at http://www.sea.ee/marmoni/index.php.
The Tool is a web-based application that calculates an integrated assessment result based on different indicators. The demo-version on Gulf of Riga allows to make acquaintance with the Tool. Everyone can use the Tool for making an assessment but for that a work group needs to be registered (the members of the group can then access the assessment with help of user name and password).
The demonstration of biodiversity assessment of the project pilot areas includes the assessment of the conservation status of species and habitats of Community importance (using the principles of conservation status assessment developed for assessment according to Art. 17 of the Habitats Directive) as well as the integrated biodiversity assessment (using the developed MSFD Marine Biodiversity Assessment Tool). Auniņš A. et al (2013): Methodological guidelines for the demonstration of biodiversity assessment has been produced to demonstrate a complex approach to assessment of marine biodiversity showing the interactions between different marine features and human/ sea-use impacts.
A report of the assessment of the conservation status of species and habitats of community importance had been prepared: Auniņš A., Martin G. 2014: Biodiversity assessment of MARMONI project areas
Project co-financiers: Latvian Environmental Protection Fund and Estonian Environmental Investment Centre