RIM 23(2): Mapping the ecological sensitivity of benthic hábitats to human activities in the european North Atlantic Ocean

Authors: María Alkiza, Ibon Galparsoro*, María C. Uyarra, Iñigo Muxika y Ángel Borja

Year: 2016

Content: Benthic habitats provide a wide range of goods and services for human (e.g. food, tourism, etc.). However, the increasing human pressures upon the marine realm threaten marine ecosystems. Mapping and assessment of benthic habitats provide valuable scientific information for management measures, seeking the maintenance of benthic habitats in a healthy and productive state. Herein, the sensitivity of 62 habitats from the European Northeastern Atlantic Ocean have been analyzed and mapped and based on it, the potential affection to the goods and services they provide. Results show that fishing activities, especially by benthic trawls, coastal development and mining are the main threats to European seabed biotopes. Meanwhile, these same activities along with dredging, sediment disposal and hydrocarbon exploration are the ones affecting higher number of habitats. In addition, the interaction between ecosystem services and activities was studied leading to results showing the ecosystem services most affected by human activities.


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