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CoastalServices – Ecosystem Services in the Coastal Zones of the Nordic Countries


A new project will look at the values related to important habitats along the Nordic coasts. During the spring of 2016, partners from Norway, Sweden and Denmark will develop an overview of the available information within this field and synthesize this knowledge in a report written for the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) TemaNord series.

Coastal areas in the Nordic countries are of great importance for biodiversity. For example, they contain important nursery habitats for fish, areas for aquaculture, commercial and recreation ship traffic, as well as recreational areas for swimming and fishing. As result, there are many interests related to these areas.

Coastal ecosystems provide a number of services including high biodiversity, CO2 sequestration as well as nursery areas for numerous animal and plant groups, including commercial fish species, as well as shellfish, such as mussels and plants, such as kelp. These ecosystems also provide other benefits, including water purification and coastal erosion protection. There is also a large potential for new applications such as biofuel production and increased production of alginate.

The project will focus on examining these coastal values through selected examples, and recommend possible applications and relevance for the management of these areas and their resources. The project will also identify key gaps in the knowledge and suggest further work. Four habitats have been selected as key habitats to be examined in the report: kelp forests, eelgrass meadows, blue mussel beds and stonewort (charales). For kelp forest and mussels, the economic potential of cultivation is will also be considered. In Norway, current estimates indicate that seaweed cultivation in the future may be worth 40 billion NOK per year.

The project is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) and will be conducted under the leadership of NIVA in collaboration with the Institute of Marine Research (IMR), GRID-Arendal, NIVA Denmark Water Research and the Swedish AquaBiota Water Research.

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