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Regional assessment of cumulative impacts in the St. Lawrence system



A regional assessment of cumulative impacts is required for the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence to facilitate ecosystem based management supported by evidence. The only currently available assessment was performed at the global scale using 19 drivers of anthropogenic stressors such as fisheries and pollution. While valuable, certain datasets included in this analysis are not at an appropriate scale for regional decision making in the St. Lawrence. We therefore updated a total of 12 driver data layers with regional and more recent datasets and we performed a cumulative impact assessment. We document the areas that are most impacted by environmental drivers in the St. Lawrence and that should be the object of attention. We also describe the drivers that contribute most to overall impacts in the St. Lawrence. Finally, we discuss the results in the context of integrated management and systematic planning.
D. Beauchesne1, R. Daigle2, S. Vissault3, D. Gravel3, S. Bélanger1, P. Bernatchez1, C. Chion4, P.S. Galbraith5,
B.S. Halpern6, C.W. McKindsey5, A. Mucci7, M. Starr5, P. Archambault2
Université du Québec à Rimouski1, Université Laval2, Université de Sherbrooke3, Université du Québec en Outaouais4, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada5,
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, University of California6, McGill University7
References: aHalpern et al. (2008) Science 319:948-952 bHalpern et al. (2015) Nat Comm 6:7615 cDarling et Côté (2008) Ecol. Lett.
11:1278-1286 dCôté et al (2016) Proc R Soc B 283:20152592 eMargules et Pressey (2000) Nature 405:243-255 fJones (2016)
Environ. Rev. 24: 187–204 gBeauchesne et al. (2016) Nat Can 140:45-55
Acknowledgements: We thank the Fond de Recherche Québécois Nature et Technologie (FRQNT) and the Natural Science and Engineering
Council of Canada (CRSNG) for financial support. This project is also supported by Québec Océan, the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity
Science (QCBS), Takuvik, and the Notre Golfe networks. This research is also sponsored by the NSERC Canadian Healthy Oceans Network
and its Partners: Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and INREST (representing the Port of Sept-Îles and City of Sept-Îles).
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