Towards an Understanding of the Spatial Relationships between Natural Capital & Maritime Activities

Towards an Understanding of the Spatial Relationships between Natural Capital & Maritime Activities

To be presented at the 2024 BayesiaLab Conference in Cincinnati on April 12, 2024.


Economic activities are dependent upon natural capital (NC), which is responsible for 'Ecosystem Services' (ES). Understanding dependencies on NC provides insight into the ecosystem's capacity to maintain and develop activities in the future. To determine 'NC dependencies', we present a framework linking maritime activities (bottom trawling, artisanal fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism) to their demand for ES and, further, to the NC components responsible for their production. The framework was operationalized using a spatially explicit Bayesian Belief Network (BBN), using the Basque coast (SE Bay of Biscay) to illustrate our approach to identifying trends in the strength and spatial distribution of NC dependencies. For example, benthic trawling was dependent on sedimentary habitats, with a 'moderate' to 'high' dependency of 52% of the study area. The model can also extrapolate NC dependencies to a larger area where the activity currently does not operate, where benthic trawling was estimated to have higher utilization of ES in deeper waters. When NC dependencies are combined with economic and legislative factors, the current spatial distribution of the activity can be explained, and the potential socioeconomic impacts of management decisions could be predicted. The integrative approach contributes towards ecosystem-based spatial planning.

About the Presenter

Ibon Galparsoro Iza, Ph.D., Principal Researcher. Marine and Coastal Environmental Management
AZTI · Marine Research Division

PhD in Marine Sciences from the University of Vigo. Principal Researcher at AZTI’s Marine Research Unit. He has more than 15 years of professional experience in different lines of marine research applied to Integrated Coastal Zone Management. His main research interests include Marine Spatial Planning, assessment and mapping of marine and coastal ecosystem services, implementation of the European Marine Strategy Directive, seabed mapping and characterization, and modeling of benthic habitats.

Ibon Galparsoro Iza, Ph.D.

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