Marine Areas

Nationally-important areas are an important mechanism for delivering conservation of those marine landscapes, habitats and species which have the most overall value for nature conservation and which are also susceptible to harm from human activities. The value of identifying important areas for biodiversity is that these areas make an essential contribution to meeting the objective of maintaining the range and scale of biodiversity present in the country. Also, important areas should not be identified in isolation, but as components of an ecologically-coherent network of areas.
The Pilot project recommends that an ecologically-coherent network of nationally-important areas for the Regional Sea should be identified and that proportionate measures should be taken to protect these areas from harm as a result of human activities.
A separate report on identification of areas gives the outcomes of testing criteria for identifying important areas ( Lieberknecht et al, 2004b)and presents a process for selecting areas. Some alternative methods for identifying areas are discussed and the use of a reserve selection software tool Marxan is discussed The principles of an ecologically coherent network are set out in a report by York University also available for download ( Roberts et al, 2003).