Creating underwater maps of the area to be used as a basis for MSP, particularly when investigating environmental protection areas such as Natura 2000 and ecosystem services. The seabed of the Baltic Sea is poorly mapped. The SeaGIS 2.0 project are creating maps illustrating what nature looks like below the surface. The maps are the first of their kind and will serve as a basis for a sustainable marine management and cover just over half of the Gulf of Bothnia on both the Swedish and Finnish side.
Questions this practice may help answer:
- What types of habitat can be found in the Norra Kvarken?
- How can public authorities use maps when working on their national MSP plans?
- How can businesses and other organisations profit from SeaGIS mapping and workshops?
- What relevance does SeaGIS have for national MSP?
The seabed of the Baltic Sea is poorly mapped. The SeaGIS 2.0 project are creating maps illustrating what nature looks like below the surface. The maps are the first of their kind and will serve as a basis for a sustainable marine management and cover just over half of the Gulf of Bothnia on both the Swedish and Finnish side. During the predecessor project SeaGIS, it became apparent that a wider public can make use of the platform. Therefore, SeaGIS2 will create maps accessible to both public authorities and the general population, and thus promote better communication between the both.
Aspects / Objectives:
The maps are a knowledge base for coastal and sea planning, making it easier to find appropriate areas for activities such as wind power or shipping as well as making it easier to take into account sensitive and valuable natural areas.
The main outcome is GIS-based mapping of the northern Quark region on both the Swedish and Finnish side. The maps are unique in their size and richness of detail. The project partners have had access to over 30.000 observations from Finland and Sweden. Currently, there is nothing like this map, where two countries have collected so much information on the biology of the seabed.
A workshop series was also organised in the framework of SeaGIS 2.0 on how sea and coast can contribute to developing the northern Quark area. Participants included business leaders, municipalities, public authorities and other organisations from Sweden and Finland. The main aims of the workshops are to identify goals, conflicts, possibilities in areas such as:
- Energy, shipping and infrastructure
- Fisheries, nature protection and recreation
- Island communities
One particular aim of the workshops was to see how the maps can be used in the national reporting under the Habitat Directive, article 17 or as a preliminary evaluation for the MSP Directive.
The northern Quark region also acts as a pilot area for ecosystem services in the framework of the nordic IPBES-projekt (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity och Ecosystem Services).
Main Outputs / Results:
- A digital platform illustrating the underwater maps with habitat classifications and biotopes in accessible way. The platform will be open-source and can be used by public authorities and municipalities, as well as organisations and business representatives;
- The material collected during the project will be summarized in a full-length report and a shorter, more accessible version. It will contain suggestions for measures for regional development plans;
- A scientific article by researchers associated to the project;
- Increase transparency and participation in the national MSP process.
Although the maps themselves cannot be transferred, the project shows how to successfully map an area and hold stakeholder conferences to involve local actors.
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