DEIMOS SPACE UK LTD (GB)
Intertidal habitats (seagrasses, mud flats and saltmarshes) rank amongst the most productive ecosystems providing bird habitat and feeding areas, commercial fish nursery grounds, as well as other ecosystem services including nutrient cycling and coastal protection.
They are some of the world’s most protected habitats, but this protection has failed to prevent accelerating global loss due to: over exploitation (e.g. fishing); direct damage (e.g. dredging); and numerous other stressors including algal mats, pollution and marine litter.
Total Ecosystem Management (TEM) is a coherent evidence-to-advice approach supported by an integrated habitat monitoring programme. Achieving TEM for these habitats will produce significant improvements in ecosystem function, sustainable exploitation and adaptive conservation for future pressures. TEM requires extensive habitat monitoring and assessment of the threats, but currently, relevant data are: not collected; difficult to access; in unsuitable formats or not easily visualised in a holistic way. Thus, conservation and management agencies currently make habitat assessments and management decisions in an inefficient and costly way, without access to the best available evidence. Ultimately, without comprehensive and cost-effective assessment of the impacts on intertidal habitats evidence-based management cannot be implemented.
This project is developing a set of EO based methodologies to address this data collection gap focussing initially on four priority issues: sediment disturbance, sewage plumes, litter accumulation and algal mats. All have significant impacts on the function and quality of intertidal habitats; reduce the potential for growth of the blue economy of coastal regions and occurring across every region of the globe where these habitats exist.