A global map of human impact on marine ecosystems.

National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, 735 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.48). 03/2008; 319(5865):948-52. DOI: 10.1126/science.1149345
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The management and conservation of the world's oceans require synthesis of spatial data on the distribution and intensity of human activities and the overlap of their impacts on marine ecosystems. We developed an ecosystem-specific, multiscale spatial model to synthesize 17 global data sets of anthropogenic drivers of ecological change for 20 marine ecosystems. Our analysis indicates that no area is unaffected by human influence and that a large fraction (41%) is strongly affected by multiple drivers. However, large areas of relatively little human impact remain, particularly near the poles. The analytical process and resulting maps provide flexible tools for regional and global efforts to allocate conservation resources; to implement ecosystem-based management; and to inform marine spatial planning, education, and basic research.

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    ABSTRACT: This State of the Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Environment Report (SoMMCER) synthesises available knowledge about major drivers and pressures affecting the sea and its coastal inhabitants, the Mediterranean environment’s condition, the current and prospective impacts of collective human activity, and emerging issues in coastal and marine management. The SoMMCER is intended to meet the needs of decision-makers for a regionally integrated synthesis at this critical time in the application of the Ecosystem Approach to the management of human activities in the Mediterranean (see the 2008 Decision IG.17/6 and the 2012 Decision IG.20/4). The Contracting Parties have made substantive progress in implementing the Ecosystem Approach roadmap that was adopted in 2008. The latest milestone achieved is the agreement of the Ecological Objectives for the Ecosystem Approach, which were adopted by the Meeting of the Contracting Parties in February 2012. The Ecological Objectives describe, for each of the major environmental issue identified, the desired results pursued by the application of the Ecosystem Approach to the management of human activities. This report features information that will support future directions in the continued application of the Ecosystem Approach. The geographical scope of this report is the whole Mediterranean Sea including its coastal zones. The framework used for the assessment of the state of the environment is the Driver-Pressure- State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework and this is reflected in the organisation of the report: • Part I provides background information about the Mediterranean Basin, an overview of the major drivers in the Mediterranean region and an introduction on the interrelation between Mediterranean ecosystems and human drivers. • Part II provides an analysis of the pressures, state and known impacts associated with each of the issues addressed by the Ecosystem Approach Ecological Objectives. • Part III analyses the responses in terms of policy instruments to the issues analysed in Part II, highlights the major findings on the state of the marine and coastal environment as well as the major information gaps, and discusses future avenues for the continued application of the Ecosystem Approach. While information exists on the environmental and socio-economic impacts of human activities in the Mediterranean Sea and a suite of responses to these have already been implemented, the report places its focus mostly on the drivers, pressures, state and known impacts in order to clearly lay out the ground for the discussion on the next steps of the Ecosystem Approach. These next steps are: defining Good Ecological Status, setting targets, and developing an integrated monitoring programme, all of which will require thorough consideration of the impacts from human activities. These forthcoming steps will ultimately lead to the revision and development of action plans and programmes of measures, which will require further analysis of previous responses. Overall, this process will allow complete implementation of the DPSIR framework in future iterations of the SoMMCER. The guidance and recommendations provided in the discus- sion of avenues for furthering the Ecosystem Approach focus on policies that will establish a systematic, comprehensive, holistic, and efficient monitoring regime. The objective of this monitor- ing regime is to provide a rigorous scientific basis for periodically determining the state of the Mediterranean environment, as well as environmental trends, in order to support science-based decision-making. It is this monitoring regime that will move the region fully towards an Ecosystem Approach and allow future recommendations flowing from State of the Environment reports to be oriented towards management. The main information source on which this report is based is the Initial Integrated Assessment of the Mediterranean Sea (UNEP/MAP 2012), prepared as part of the implementation of the roadmap for the application of the Ecosystem Approach. The report was produced following a participatory approach involving all the Mediterranean countries. It was revised by country-designated ex- perts, commented on by country officials, and peer reviewed by GESAMP (the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection). Where information contained in the Initial Integrated Assessment was insufficient to illustrate the subjects included in this report, it was complemented with information from the UNEP/MAP State of the Environment and De­velopment in the Mediterranean Report 2009 (UNEP/MAP/BP/RAC 2009), the EEA-UNEP/MAP 2006 report Priority Issues in the Medi­terranean Environment (EEA and UNEP 2006), the UNEP/MAP 2005 report Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis for the Mediterranean Sea (UNEP/MAP/MED POL 2005), and the EEA-UNEP/MAP 1999 report State and Pressures of the Marine and Coastal Mediterranean Environment (EEA and UNEP 1999) and peer-reviewed research publications. Prior reports on the state of marine and coastal environment in the Mediterranean were produced within the MAP system in 1996 and 1989 (UNEP/MAP/MED POL 1996 and UNEP/ MAP/MED POL/WHO/FAO 1989). Some of the topics covered in the report, such as pollution and biodiversity, have been a focus of research and monitoring for many years and a wealth of information is readily available. Less information is available for other topics, such as noise, marine litter, sea-floor integrity, and trophic levels and food webs. This has resulted in some chapters of the SoMMCER being fully supported by robust evidence while other chapters are by necessity more qualitative. This dichotomy provides clear evidence of the need for a more robust approach to deriving information to support the major issues outlined in the Ecosystem Approach Ecological Objectives. For some issues, the existing information base is adequate to support decisions for the next steps of the development of the Ecosystem Approach. For other identified major issues, in- formation will need to be gathered through targeted monitoring programs to provide a scientific basis for decision-making. The strategic approach followed in the preparation of the SoMMCER was to aim to bridge the reporting requirements of the Barcelona Convention and the intrinsic need for systematic compilation of information for the application of the Ecosystem Approach. The report aims to avoid duplication in reporting by the MAP Contracting Parties and to provide a robust template for future reports on the state of the Mediterranean marine and coastal environment. Upon request by UNEP/MAP, the SoMMCER was produced by UNEP/GRID-Arendal in collaboration with Sound Seas. The authors received input, guidance, and review throughout the process from the UNEP/MAP Coordinating Unit and all of the components of the UNEP/MAP system, MED POL (The Mediterranean Pollution Assessment and Control Programme), REMPEC (Regional Marine Pollution Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea), BP/RAC (Blue Plan Regional Activity Centre), PAP/RAC (Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre), SPA/RAC (Specially Protected Areas Regional Activity Centre), INFO-RAC (Regional Activity Centre for Information and Communication), CP/RAC (Regional Activity Centre for Cleaner Production). The report was finally reviewed by several independent experts on a pro bono basis.
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    ABSTRACT: The marine environment is increasingly pressured from human activities, such as offshore renewable energy developments. Offshore wind farms may pose direct risks to seabirds at protected breeding sites. However, changes in food availability may influence foraging behaviour and habitat use during the breeding season or between years. Consequently, seabird–wind farm interactions, and risks posed to populations , may vary over longer time scales, but this has seldom been quantified. We used GPS-telemetry to study the movements of 25 lesser black-backed gulls from the Alde–Ore Special Protection Area (SPA), UK between 2010 and 2012, while birds were associated with their breeding colony. Variation in movements away from the colony, offshore, and in operational, consented and proposed Offshore Wind Farm Areas (''OWFAs'') was investigated: (1) between years and (2) across the breeding season, addressing: (3) sex-specific, (4) individual and (5) diurnal/nocturnal differences. The extent of overlaps with OWFAs varied between years, being greatest in 2010 (7/10 birds showing connectivity; area overlap: 6.2 ± 7.1%; time budget overlap: 4.6 ± 6.2%) and least in 2012. Marine habitats close to the colony were used before breeding. Birds spent little time offshore as incubation commenced, but offshore usage again peaked during the early chick-rearing period, corresponding with use of OWFAs. Individuals differed in their seasonal interactions with OWFAs between years, and males used OWFAs significantly more than females later in the breeding season. This study demonstrates the importance of tracking animals over longer periods, without which impact assessments may incorrectly estimate the magnitude of risks posed to protected populations.
    Biological Conservation 04/2015; 186:347-358. · 4.04 Impact Factor