Anthropogenic pressures on land and sea

Assessing pressures of human activities in coastal and marine areas of the Mediterranean and beyond

CURRENT STATUS

The coastal and marine environment is exposed to multiple factors and pressures stemming from human activities and climate change. Some of the pressures come from land-based activities like tourism, urbanization along the coast and pollution from agriculture fields while others are sea-based, as in the case of maritime transport, fishing and aquaculture, and oil and gas drilling. Understanding the combined impact of these activities on our natural ecosystems is crucial, particularly when they occur in biodiversity hotspot regions such as the Mediterranean.

Fortunately, the cumulative impact of these various pressures is being acknowledged more and more by national, regional and European policies; the Barcelona Convention and its protocols aim to tackle pollution and an integrated management of the coast, and the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive is addressing the environmental status and trends of European waters.

To assess and monitor the effectiveness of these policies, data needs to be collected and made available so that adequate indicators based on scientific approaches can be developed.

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OUR ACTIONS

We at ETC-UMA have built an analytical approach to measure the pressures on coastal and marine ecosystems around the DPSIR  framework. Our approach has helped describe interactions between human activities and the environment, together with related responses from policy. Going beyond the notion of sources of pollution, we widened the scope to cover a range of drivers and factors involving environmental changes and affecting marine and coastal ecosystems. Applied so far to the Mediterranean Sea, we obtained a full overview of the links between the pressures, the underlying causes and the potential final impacts and of the potential policy responses that could influence the situation in the region. For our analyses we used spatially explicit indicators combined with scientific data to provide a comprehensive composite pressure indicator.

Our achievements are

Development of an integrated methodology based on the Ecosystem approach to produce indicators on multiple drivers and pressures

Methodological improvements for the assessment of cumulative pressures.

Development of the MedBioLitter open database on science available on marine litter and the impacts on biodiversity in the Mediterranean.

Production of indicators related to coastal and maritime tourism.

Related projects

Resources

Get in touch

Dania Abdul Malak

Policy approach

daniaabdulmalak@uma.es

Dania Abdul Malak is a senior environmental researcher and Director of the European Topic Centre at the University of Malaga (ETC-UMA). She has over 15 years’ experience in environmental assessment and management...

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Christoph Schröder

Indicator approach

christoph.schroder@uma.es

Based on my MSc in Geography (University of Bonn) I have developed expertise in Geographic Information Systems and land use/cover change analysis from local to global scale with particular interest in the Mediterranean...

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