Report 601
Physical damage (Reversible Change) - Habitat structure changes - removal of substratum (extraction)
(2016)
Peckett, F.J., Eassom, A., Church, N.J., Johnson, G.E. & Robson, L.M.
A prioritisation exercise was undertaken by JNCC to identify the relative importance of different pressures acting on benthic habitats in order to focus efforts on data collection and mapping for those pressures.
 

Introduction

 

There are a growing number of human activities occurring within the marine environment. Concern over the possible impacts of these activities on the marine and coastal environment has led to the development of national, regional, and global commitments that aim to preserve, and, where possible, to mitigate impacts on marine environments (UKMMAS 2010).

Different human activities exert a variety of pressures and these pressures will, in turn, have different levels of impact on habitats and species. To enable management of these impacts, we need to better understand how human activities and biodiversity interact spatially and temporally. We can then assess the sensitivity of the habitats and species that are exposed to these activities, and thus the associated pressures. When combined, exposure and sensitivity provide an indication of a habitat’s ‘vulnerability’ to impacts.

To support this vulnerability assessment approach, JNCC are developing methods for creating geospatial pressure datasets for use at a regional and national scale. The term pressure is defined as ‘The mechanism through which an anthropogenic activity has an effect on any part of the ecosystem’. The nature of the pressure is determined by activity type, intensity and distribution. These datasets are created using a GIS to delineate their spatial extent and all activities that are known to exert the pressure are considered. In the UK one of the priority pressures on benthic habitats is ‘Physical damage (Reversible Change) - Habitat structure changes - removal of substratum” hereafter referred to as ‘extraction’, which is described as the ’physical damage caused by selective extraction (e.g. by exploration and exploitation of living and non-living resources on seabed and subsoil)’.

 
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ISSN 0963-8901
 
Please cite as: Peckett, F.J., Eassom, A., Church, N.J., Johnson, G.E. & Robson, L.M., (2016), Physical damage (Reversible Change) - Habitat structure changes - removal of substratum (extraction), JNCC Report 601, ISSN 0963-8901