Hotspots in Peril: Identifying mismatches in Seafloor Conservation Prioritization in shallow coastal seas

Activiteit: Academic presentationAcademic


Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are the most effective conservation measures in protecting and increasing marine ecological value. However, incongruencies between MPA placement and conservation priority areas may arise due to conflicting socio-economic and ecological desires, diminishing the effectiveness of MPAs. The Dutch Wadden Sea is an important intertidal area where macrozoobenthic communities drive ecological processes and form an essential resource for avian and marine predators. A long history of human activity has significantly degraded the system, and several restrictions have been put into place, focusing on protecting shallow and low-dynamic habitats. We present a qualitative and quantitative approach to evaluate the effectiveness of these restricted areas. We conclude that only a fraction of the restricted areas can be classified as an (effective) MPA due to the poor spatial congruence of protection measures and human activities. In addition, we conclude a mismatch between current conservation measures and areas of conservation prioritization based on hotspots of several benthic ecological quality indices. This calls for a reassessment of the current conservation planning and highlights the need for a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative assessment of ecological status in prioritizing new MPAs.
EvenementstitelNetherlands Annual Ecology Meeting 2024
Organisator Netherlands Ecological Research Network (NERN)
LocatieLunteren, NetherlandsToon op kaart
Mate van erkenningNational