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A Landscape Ecological Approach to Coastal Zone Applications

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Managing complex environments requires suitable tools to integrate data from a variety of sources and efficiently analyse and present them within a geographical context. Recently there has been a growing interest in the integration of geographical, environmental and behavioural data for use in coastal zone management and planning. Our study shows how easily accessible information on bathymetry, terrain variation and wind conditions may be integrated into a georeferenced model applied to the study of key species and ecosystems of the Norwegian coastal zone. Through case studies, we predicted kelp forest (Laminaria hyperborea) distribution and analysed harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) habitat selection. Combining information on depth and wind exposure derived from a digital terrain model was a suitable approach to predict kelp forest distribution, even though the prediction showed deviations from information provided by kelp harvesters. Including information on sea-bed sediment improved the predictive ability drastically, and more investigation is needed to continue this kind of modelling. This approach is relevant for making decisions concerning site selection of kelp forest harvesting and restoration. Integrating the kelp forest prediction model with information on depth and the presence of slopes, islands and georeferenced behavioural data, we developed a technique for classifying habitats and studying resource selection.

Keywords: Coastal zone management; digital terrain model; habitat classification; georeferenced data; GIS

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, P.O. Box 736 Sentrum, NO-0105 Oslo, Norway

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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