|Marine Spatial Planning in Apulia (Italy): Integrating Posidonia oceanica seagrass conservation with multiple uses of coastal areas|
Castel-Branco Paes, S. (2011). Marine Spatial Planning in Apulia (Italy): Integrating Posidonia oceanica seagrass conservation with multiple uses of coastal areas. MSc Thesis. University of Salento, Laboratory of Zoology and Marine Biology: Lecce. 41 pp.
Posidonia oceanica (Linnaeus) Delile, 1813 [WoRMS]; Posidonia oceanica (Linnaeus) Delile, 1813 [WoRMS]
Apulian Plate [Marine Regions]
Ecosystem-Based Management; Marine Spatial Planning; Posidonia oceanica; Apulia; Sites of Community Importance; MARXAN
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Mediterranean marine ecosystems are in serious decline due to increasing pressures of multiple human activities. Marine spatial planning can surely help in the protection and management of coastal zones by prioritizing specific conservation sites. In SE Italy (Apulia) three Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been established, but further regulations are urgently needed to guarantee the large-scale protection of critical habitats. The establishment of coherent Natura 2000 networks in Europe, including both terrestrial and marine Sites of Community Importance (SCIs), combined with other conservation strategies, may address several goals that MPAs cannot accomplish alone. Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows are one of the few marine top priorities for the Habitats Directive, deserving protection due to the increasing evidences of fragmentation and loss, despite their key functional role. Along Apulia, current SCIs have been designed on a first seabed mapping carried out at national scale in 1991. In 2006, a new survey was carried out allowing data comparison, suggesting evidences of inadequate SCIs allocation and relevant seagrass loss. Here, the GIS-based MARXAN tool was employed to offer best scenarios of spatial optimization by using a priori identified conservation targets combined with the analyses of current and emerging human activities in the Apulian coastal zone. Here, the new scenario of protection provides a new foundation for Ecosystem-Based Management that integrates the human dimension.