Marine ecosystems are increasingly threatened by the cumulative effects of multiple human pressures. Cumulative effect assessments (CEAs) are needed to inform strategic planning and marine conservation and therefore guide ecosystem-based management. CEAs are defined as holistic evaluations of the combined effects of human activities and natural processes on the environment, and constitute a specific form of environmental impact assessments (EIAs).
Despite their utility and critical need for them, putting CEAs into operation remains one of the key challenges for scientists and policy-makers. Cause-effect pathways of multiple human activities on sensitive ecosystem components are often complex, involving a combination of additive, synergistic, and antagonistic ecosystem impact. Thus dynamic research languages, methods, and models spanning across disciplines are required. Although a unified and broadly applicable CEA methodology is most probably not feasible, the improvement of guidelines and best practices to facilitate CEA applications is urgently needed. As yet, CEAs are rarely linked to real-world management processes.
This session is therefore intended to scope for approaches, examples, and future needs to improve the alignment of CEAs and management processes.
Papers are welcome on the following topics: