An exposure-effect approach for evaluating ecosystem-wide risks from human activities

Antony M. Knights*, Gerjan J. Piet, Ruud H. Jongbloed, Jacqueline E. Tamis, Lydia White, Ekin Akoglu, Laura Boicenco, Tanya Churilova, Olga Kryvenko, Vivi Fleming-Lehtinen, Juha Markku Leppanen, Bella S. Galil, Freya Goodsir, Menachem Goren, Piotr Margonski, Snejana Moncheva, Temel Oguz, K. Nadia Papadopoulou, Outi Setälä, Chris J. SmithKremena Stefanova, Florin Timofte, Leonie A. Robinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is promoted as the solution for sustainable use. An ecosystem-wide assessment methodology is therefore required. In this paper, we present an approach to assess the risk to ecosystem components from human activities common to marine and coastal ecosystems. We buildon: (i) a linkage framework that describe show human activities canimpact the ecosystem through pressures, and (ii) a qualitative expert judgement assessment of impact chains describing the exposure and sensitivity of ecological components to those activities. Using case study examples applied at European regional sea scale, we evaluate the risk of an adverse ecological impact from current human activities to a suite of ecological components and, once impacted, the time required for recovery to pre-impact conditions should those activities subside. Grouping impact chains by sectors, pressure type, or ecological components enabled impact risks and recovery times to be identified, supporting resource managers in their efforts to prioritize threats for management, identify most at-risk components, and generate time frames for ecosystem recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1105-1115
Number of pages11
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 19 Aug 2015


FundersFunder number
EU FP7 programme244273


    • Ecosystem-based management
    • Exposure-effect
    • Human activities
    • Impact
    • Marine
    • Risk framework


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