Day: May 18, 2024

Harmonizing Aquatic EcosystemsHarmonizing Aquatic Ecosystems

The Earth’s Aquarium strategies are veritable treasure troves of biodiversity. They host an incredible range of species – from microscopic phytoplankton to towering kelp forests and from predatory fish to slithering snakes – which contribute to the global carbon and nitrogen cycles and provide essential water for people and animals to survive. They are also important for the economies and cultures of the people that rely on them, but they face significant threats. From oil slicks and plastic waste, to the dramatic declines in freshwater lakes such as those of Balkhash, Drigh and Hamoun (Asia) or in the salt-flats of the Dead Sea and the Mexico City Aquifer  (North America), to the dramatically lowered water levels in coastal estuaries such as those at Lake Chapala, Mono Lake and the Ogallala aquifer, they are suffering.

Case Studies: Successful Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Projects

These challenges are driven by a complex web of social, economic and environmental factors that impact on aquatic ecosystems. A clearer understanding of these interactions is critical for improving human-nature relationships and informing management decisions. The authors of this article set out to do just that by identifying key drivers, human activities and pressures affecting aquatic systems, using a common framework and data to harmonize their characterization, and enabling them to be used in life cycle impact assessment (LCIA). The approach builds on the work done in the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and EU Water Framework Directive. The framework is applied to seven case studies in the Aquatic Ecosystems Harmonization Project (AHE). Box and whiskers plots of mean and summed environmental impact risk for pressures across all seven AHE case study sites. The box outlines the interquartile range and the whiskers represent the maximum and minimum value.