Habitat mapping in the European Seas - is it fit for purpose in the marine restoration agenda?

V Gerovasileiou, CJ Smith, K Sevastou, N Papadopoulou, T Dailianis, T Bekkby, D Fiorentino, CJ McOwen, T Amaro, Bengil EGT, M Bilan, Christoffer Boström, M Carreiro-Silva, E Cebrian, C Cerrano, R Danovaro, S Fraschetti, Karine Gagnon, C Gambi, A GrehanB Hereu, S Kipson, J Kotta, C Linares, T Morato, H Ojaveer, H Orav-Kotta, A Sarà, R Scrimgeour

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As habitat mapping is crucially important for developing effective management and restoration plans, the aim of thiswork was to produce a census of available map resources at the European scale focusing on: a) key marine habitats; b)degraded habitats; c) human activities and pressures acting on degraded habitats, and d) the restoration potential ofdegraded habitats. Almost half of the 580 map records were derived from grey literature and web resources butcontained no georeferenced files for download, thus limiting further use of the data. Biogeographical heterogeneity wasobserved and varied between the type and quality of information provided. This variability was mainly related todifferences in research efforts and stakeholder focus. Habitat degradation was assessed in only 28% of the map recordsand was mostly carried out in a qualitative manner. Less than half of the map records included assessments on therecovery/restoration potential of the degraded habitats, with passive restoration by removal of human activities beingthe most commonly recommended measure. The current work has identified several gaps and challenges both in thethematic and geographic coverage of the available map resources, as well as in the approaches implemented for theharmonized assessment of habitat degradation. These should guide future mapping initiatives in order to more com-prehensively support and advise the marine habitat restoration agenda for better meeting the objectives set in relevantpolicy documents and legislative acts in Europe.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Ecosystem recovery
  • habitat restoration
  • marine habitat mapping

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