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Mapping marine benthic biodiversity in Wales

posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Emma JacksonEmma Jackson, O Langmead, J Evans, P Wilkes, B Seeley, D Lear, H Tyler-Walters
The UK is committed through international agreements and European obligations to the establishment of an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to conserve marine ecosystems and biodiversity. The Welsh Assembly Government has committed to using the new Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) designation provided in the Marine and Coastal Access Act to create sites afforded a high level of protection. In addition the Marine and Coastal Access Act allows for the establishment of a system of Marine Spatial Planning in Welsh waters. The identification of areas of high biodiversity could be helpful for planning both Marine Protected Areas and for Marine Spatial Planning. Diverse communities can provide resilience to environmental perturbations (Petchey & Gaston 2009); the identification and protection of areas of high marine biodiversity can contribute to an ecosystem-based approach to the management of our seas. Furthermore, identifying which areas are most important for biodiversity not only yields benefits for the maintenance of ecosystem structure and functioning but can also enable cost effective prioritisation of areas for marine protection. The current study builds on work from previous studies at a UK-wide and regional level (Hiscock & Breckels 2007, Langmead et al. 2008) to develop an approach for mapping marine benthic biodiversity and apply it to Wales’ sea area


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CCW Contract Science Reports

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Countryside Council for Wales

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External Author Affiliations

University of Plymouth

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