Analyzing Existing Conditions
Defining and analyzing existing conditions of the marine environment provides the essential information for the development of marine spatial planning (MSP). At least three general categories of spatial information are relevant for the development of MSP:
|(a) Biological and ecological distributions of habitats, including areas of importance for a particular species or biological community;|
|(b) Oceanographic and other physical environmental features (bathymetry, currents, sediments, etc.). In the absence of comprehensive biological data, they can be especially important for identifying different habitats and important process.|
|(c) The spatial and temporal distribution of human activities.|
Additionally, it is important to identify where current conflicts and compatibilities (a) between human activities and the environment and (b) among human activities themselves are located in the marine area. Finally, to make good decisions about the management of the marine area, it is important to connect offshore human activities with their communities, economies, cultures, etc. onshore.
Various countries have used different ways to define and analyze the current conditions of the marine environment. We are currently compiling a set of good practices to illustrate how countries have collected the necessary information about existing conditions. We expect to have it available here by the end of June 2009.
You can read about an initial set of good practices on how to define and analyze existing conditions of the marine environment in Step 4 (p. 49-62) of the guide "Marine spatial planning: A step-by-step approach toward ecosystem-based management". Download (pdf, 1.55 MB)
Last updated: 15 November 2012