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Background

The fundamental ideas behind PREHAB are to combine state-of-the-art methods for ecological mapping and economic valuation and to apply these in a context of scenario-planning. Thus, very much like practical environmental management and planning, the success of PREHAB depends on our ability to communicate among scientific disciplines and to develop a better understanding for difficulties and opportunities associated with multidisciplinary work.

We believe that these are challenges of general and fundamental importance for academic research, training and ultimately for management promoting sustainable use of the coastal zone in the future. By inspiring and enlightening students interested in multidisciplinary work, we believe that experiences gained within PREHAB can contribute to existing and future initiatives in the Baltic region.

Today, increasing demand for space and coastal development pose enhanced levels of pressure on growing portions of marine ecosystems. Ecosystems as well as the use of sea vary among different regions of the Baltic Sea and also parts of the coast within each region. Any assessment needs to acknowledge these geographical scales, and accurate spatial information is in key position in managing and preserving the marine environment.

Protection of marine ecosystems begins from simultaneous characterization and mapping of the marine environment, and impacts of human pressures. To assess the status and vulnerability of marine ecosystems, threats from human activities need to be put in relation to the sensitivity of the habitats and species that are present. To understand the effects of human activities, it is necessary to first assess the spatial distribution of them and then the degree of overlap between the pressures and the habitats/species.

The course will outline present pressures and future concerns of human activities threatening the ecosystems of the Baltic Sea by incorporating GIS as an efficient tool for spatial analyses.

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