The interdisciplinary research project AQUACROSS supports European efforts to protect both marine and freshwater aquatic biodiversity in Europe. These aquatic ecosystems provide numerous economic and societal benefits to Europe – but they are at risk of irreversible damage from human activities. To counter this and to support achievement of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 targets, AQUACROSS developed practical guidance on identifying threats to biodiversity, understanding links between ecosystems and the services they provide. This research was developed, tested, and applied in eight case studies across Europe.
The Green and Blue infrastructures (GBI) aim at maintaining, strengthening and restoring ecosystems and the services they provide. All this makes GBI a useful tool for integrative spatial planning of the Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve of the Mediterranean – Andalusia (Spain) Morocco (IBRM), as it contains several remarkable protected sites, high biodiversity richness and an important cultural heritage. However, although the IBRM also offers high potential for sustainable economic development, pressures from human activities in the area are threatening these distinct values. The Randbee team designed a novel approach for systematically selecting cost-effective areas for restoration on the basis of biodiversity, ecosystem services, and ecosystem condition to give an optimal spatial design of GBI. The approach was tested at a regional scale, in a transboundary setting encompassing the Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve of the Mediterranean in Andalusia (Spain) – Morocco (IBRM), across three aquatic ecosystems: freshwater, coastal and marine. Also as part of this project, Randbee developed a multilingual web-based storytelling tool for the dissemination of this methodological approach among policy makers and the general public. The purpose of the application is to use the power and the flexibility of storytelling to provide direct messages and transmit knowledge acquired through the case study. Storytelling was used as an effective tool to turn complex concepts into clear messages that are easily understood by the public without a specific and technical background. Furthermore, Randbee was in charge of the Data Management. This included both design of a Data Management Plan and the implementation of a CKAN-based software for the project data management).
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