Addressing cumulative effects, maritime conflicts and ecosystem services threats through MSP-oriented geospatial webtools
To solve conservation and planning challenges in the marine environment, researchers are increasingly developing geospatial tools to address impacts of anthropogenic activities on marine biodiversity. The paper presents a comprehensive set of built-in geospatial webtools to support Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) and environmental management objectives implemented into the Tools4MSP interoperable GeoPlatform. The webtools include cumulative effects assessment (CEA), maritime use conflict (MUC) analysis, MSFD pressure-driven CEA and a CEA-based marine ecosystem service threat analysis (MES-Threat). The tools are tested for the Northern Adriatic (NA) Sea, one of the most industrialized sea areas of Europe using a case study driven modelling strategy. Overall results show that coastal areas within 0–9 nm in the Gulf of Trieste, Grado-Marano and Venice lagoon and Po Delta outlet are subjected to intense cumulative effects and high sea use conflicts mainly from port activities, fishery, coastal and maritime tourism and maritime shipping. Linking MES into CEA provided novel information on locally threatened high MES supporting and provisioning habitats such Cymodocea beds and infralittoral fine sands, threats to cultural MES are most pronounced in coastal areas. Results are discussed for their geospatial relevance for regional planning, resource management and their applicability within MSP and environmental assessment.