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Open AccessArticle

Linking Marine Ecosystem Services to the North Sea’s Energy Fields in Transnational Marine Spatial Planning

COAST—Centre for Environment and Sustainability Research, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, P.O. Box 2503, 26111 Oldenburg, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Environments 2018, 5(6), 67;
Received: 8 May 2018 / Revised: 29 May 2018 / Accepted: 31 May 2018 / Published: 4 June 2018
Marine spatial planning temporally and spatially allocates marine resources to different users. The ecosystem approach aims at optimising the social and economic benefits people derive from marine resources while preserving the ecosystem’s health. Marine ecosystem services are defined as the benefits people obtain from marine ecosystems. The aim of this study is to determine which interrelations between marine ecosystem services and the marine energy industry can be identified for use in transnational marine spatial planning exemplified in the North Sea region. As the North Sea is one of the busiest seas worldwide, the risk of impairing the ecosystems through anthropogenic pressures is high. Drawing on a literature-based review, 23 marine ecosystem services provided by the North Sea region were defined and linked to seven offshore energy fields comprising oil and natural gas, wind, tides and currents, waves, salinity gradients, algal biomass, and geothermal heat. The interactions were divided into four categories: dependence, impact, bidirectional, or no interaction. Oil and natural gas, as well as algae biomass, are the fields with the most relations with marine ecosystem services while waves and salinity gradients exhibit the least. Some marine ecosystem services (Conditions for Infrastructure, Regulation of Water Flows, and Cognitive Development) are needed for all fields; Recreation and Tourism, Aesthetic and Cultural Perceptions and Traditions, Cognitive Development, and Sea Scape are impacted by all fields. The results of this research provide an improved basis for an ecosystem approach in transnational marine spatial planning. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecosystem approach; marine energy; blue growth; environmental management ecosystem approach; marine energy; blue growth; environmental management
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Vogel, C.; Ripken, M.; Klenke, T. Linking Marine Ecosystem Services to the North Sea’s Energy Fields in Transnational Marine Spatial Planning. Environments 2018, 5, 67.

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