How do we design successful ecosystem based adaptive management practices for marine green infrastructure?
IMAGINE focuses on how the marine green infrastructure (MGI) could be affected by different human pressures, in relation to alternative management strategies. MGI addresses the spatial structure of natural and semi-natural sea areas by maintaining a coherent network of structures in the seascape, thereby ensuring the long-term survival of habitats and species and perpetuating the ability of ecosystems to deliver their important services.
This overarching question will be addressed by utilizing scenario-based analyses in a joint effort between experts in ecology and law, where real-life case studies are executed in collaboration with planners and environmental managers at local and regional authorities. By integrating the frameworks of MGI, marine spatial planning (MSP) and DPSIR (Driving forces, Pressures, States, Impacts, Responses), we will provide concrete examples of both the possibilities and obstacles for successfully attaining management goals.
The theoretical and methodological approach in MGI is carried out in five steps (where steps (i-iv) follow one another, while step (v) can be analyzed in parallel):
i) Mapping of biotic ecosystem components present in the area in question (to be selected through consultation with managers primarily through the use of existing maps of species and habitat distributions from earlier and ongoing projects).
ii) Assessing conservation values (including ecosystem services) of the mapped ecosystem components according to a set of criteria, in order to identify valuable locations – so-called Cores.
iii) Identifying key factors (structures, functions and processes) essential for maintaining the Core
iv) Locating Value Areas (areas including many Cores) and Value Networks (through connectivity analysis).
v) Identifying threats and influential factors from human activity on the Cores and key factors.
The research project IMAGINE (Implications of alternative management strategies on marine green infrastructure) is a collaboration between AquaBiota Water Research, Gothenburg University, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Stockholm University. The project is funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and runs 2016-2019.