Ecosystem based modeling and indication of ecological integrity in the German North Sea - Case study offshore wind parks

Ecological Indicators (Impact Factor: 3.44). 01/2009; 11(1):168-174. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2009.07.004

ABSTRACT Human exploitation and use of marine and coastal areas are apparent and growing in many regions of the world. For instance, fishery, shipping, military, raw material exploitation, nature protection and the rapidly expanding offshore wind power technology are competing for limited resources and space. The development and implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) strategies could help to solve these problems. Therefore, suitable spatial assessment, modeling, planning and management tools are urgently needed. These tools have to deal with data that include complex information on different spatial and temporal scales. A systematic approach based on the development of future scenarios which are assessed by combining different simulation models, GIS methods and an integrating set of ecological integrity indicators, was applied in a case study in the German North Sea. Here, the installation of huge offshore wind parks within the near future is planned. The aim was to model environmental effects of altered sea-use patterns on marine biota. Indicators of ecological integrity were used to assess altering conditions and possible ecosystem shifts ranging from systems' degradations to the development of highly productive and diverse artificial reef systems. The results showed that some ecosystem processes and properties and related indicators are sensitive to changes generated by offshore wind park installations while others did not react as hypothesized

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    • "ontamination about 0 . 76e1 . 37 m ( Stelzenmüller et al . , 2008a ) . Sediment extraction affects its sur - rounding area by siltation , abrasion , extraction and alteration about 50 m ( Foden et al . , 2010 ) . The footprints of offshore wind farms , which influence the area where they occur by obstruction and smothering , are not well studied ( Burkhard et al . , 2011 ; OSPAR , 2010 ) . Therefore , we only considered their spatial extent ."
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    ABSTRACT: An ecosystem approach to marine spatial planning (MSP) promotes sustainable development by organizing human activities in a geo-spatial and temporal context. (1) This study develops and tests a spatially explicit risk assessment to support MSP. Using the German exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the North Sea as a case study area, current and future spatial management scenarios are assessed. (2) Different tools are linked in order to carry out a comprehensive spatial risk assessment of current and future spatial management scenarios for ecologic and economic ecosystem components, i.e. Pleuronectes platessa nursery grounds. With the identification of key inputs and outputs the suitability of each tool is tested. (3) Here, the procedure as well as the main findings of the spatially explicit risk approach are summarised to demonstrate the applicability of the framework and the need for an ecosystem approach to risk management techniques using geo-spatial tools.
    Marine environmental research 03/2013; 86. DOI:10.1016/j.marenvres.2013.02.013 · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    • "Marine animals have evolved to live in variable ocean conditions , yet in recent decades rapid global changes are inducing novel ocean scale regime shifts that pose new and unprecedented challenges (Perry et al., 2005). Climate variability and human activity in the forms of offshore hydrocarbon, wind and wave energy developments , fishing, oil pollution, artificial night lighting, hunting, and shipping pose incremental and cumulative risks for marine animals (Garthe and Hüppop, 2004; Hjermann et al., 2004; Lewison et al., 2004; Montevecchi, 2006; Wilhelm et al., 2009; Kaluza et al., 2010; Burkhard et al., 2011; Schwemmer et al., 2011). Hence, there is urgent need to investigate the movements and delineate areas of persistent aggregations of top predators and the diverse food webs on which they depend, to better understand the implications of these risks and to develop conservation approaches to protect ocean habitat and marine biodiversity effectively. "
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    ABSTRACT: Protection of the marine environment lags far behind that of terrestrial domains. To help ameliorate this circumstance, top predators are being tracked to identify important ocean habitats, biodiversity hotspots and high risk areas and to assess effects of anthropogenic developments, pollution and environmental perturbations. We used GPS, Global Location Sensors (GLSs) and satellite platform terminal transmitters (PTTs) to track foraging and migrating thick-billed and common murres and northern gannets along with vessel surveys to identify potential Marine Protected Areas, to assess risk and to evaluate the consequences of the recent Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. Multi-year persistent sites of forage fishes generated multi-species predator aggregations. Species- and colony-specific winter inshore and offshore distributions of murres are associated with risks of climate change (ice), by-catch in fishing gear, hunting and oil extraction. Some thick-billed murres wintered in oceanic areas beyond the continental slope, and an area of high biological diversity was identified west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that, owing to its location beyond national jurisdictions, presents unique challenges for protection. Migration research indicated a substantial proportion of the North American gannet population wintering in the Gulf of Mexico near the Deepwater Horizon pollution area. Northern gannets incurred the highest incidence of oiling/recoveries and were the third-most oiled avian species; distributions and exit dates suggest that sub-adult birds suffered much, likely most, of this mortality. Environmental risk is being assessed by tracking combined with stable isotope and blood assays to probe trophic interactions, habitat relationships and to identify and protect biologically significant marine areas.
    Biological Conservation 11/2012; 156:62-71. DOI:10.1016/j.biocon.2011.12.001 · 3.76 Impact Factor
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    • "Nevertheless, negative impacts of offshore wind farm development are to be expected underwater on marine mammals and above water on certain migrating and resting seabirds. Ecological integrity indicators and related assessments are elaborated in more detail in Lenhart et al. (2010) and Burkhard et al. (2011). Regulating ecosystem services are not expected to change significantly, but may show slight and locally restricted reactions to the introduction of offshore wind farms. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although the concept of ecosystem services has drawn a prolific amount of recent research, little work has been done on the links between marine ecosystem services and coastal human well-being at a regional scale. Key questions in this context are that of appropriate categories for assessing human well-being and how to link different determinants of human well-being to specific ecosystem services supplied in adjacent marine areas. This paper presents the results of a case study that links tangible and intangible ecosystem benefits to a range of material and immaterial factors constituting human well-being. Determinants of human well-being were defined and indicators selected to make these linkages traceable. Ecosystem services were assessed for the offshore environment along the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, based on the assumption of strong future development of offshore wind farming and considering the environmental and socio-economic impacts of such developments on the coastal region. This paper illustrates some conceptual problems in linking ecosystem benefits to human well-being. Based on an economic analysis and a questionnaire survey, two examples are presented where an evidence-based link could be demonstrated between an ecosystem service impacted by offshore wind farming and change in human well-being. The results presented should be understood as an analytic framework and precondition for gathering empirical data.
    International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 09/2011; Ecosystem Services & Management(3-Vol. 7):190-203. DOI:10.1080/21513732.2011.618465
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