Marine spatial management
The spatial component of biodiversity descriptions is often neglected even though it is essential for understanding and planning the marine environment. Monitoring data is usually only covering small fractions of the area of interest, but with spatial modelling techniques this problem is approached. Mapping of the marine environment is emphasized by the HELCOM BSAP and modelling species and habitat distributions is the only cost-effective solution for this task. Maps describing the marine environment open a possibility for marine spatial management.
MARMONI provided species distribution maps for a full scale demonstration case in the Swedish study area, Hanö Bight, free for anyone to use. The maps of habitat and species distributions were used to map conservation values and for producing scenarios of effects on the marine ecosystem caused by changes in eutrophication status and by different types of construction methods for the production of a fictive wind farm. An ecosystem approach to management was used by combining maps of benthic species, fish, birds and mammals with spatially described wind farms, shipping, fishery efforts and other socio-economic activities in order to optimize nature conservation and minimize disturbance. This was done interactively with planning authorities, e.g. through an ocean zoning process, using the decision support tool Marxan with Zones. The Project demonstrates how species and habitat maps dramatically can increase the possibilities for spatial planning.
Fyhr F. et al (2013) A review of Ocean Zoning tools and Species distribution modelling methods for Marine Spatial Planning has also been produced to provide an overview of the many available technical solutions for both tasks. The usefulness of different decision support tools to support Marine Spatial Planning demonstration in MARMONI was discussed.
Report Fyhr F. et al. 2014: Marine mapping and management scenarios in the Hanö Bight Sweden (Annexes 1-2, Annex 3-4)has been produced. The field data and maps have further been used to identify areas with high conservation values, test scenarios of the impact of a fictive wind farm and for altered Secchi depth on various conservation values, and draft proposals on marine protected areas (MPAs) through a zoning process.
Project co-financiers: Latvian Environmental Protection Fund and Estonian Environmental Investment Centre