BS14 Directive marine habitats
Current conservation status
The list of Baltic Sea Habitat Directive habitat types includes six habitat types, which all occur under water level. They are mostly situated near the coastline. Submerged sandbanks, which can also be found further off the coast, are an exception to this.
The conservation status of all six Baltic Sea habitats has been evaluated as unfavourable. The river estuaries have in addition been evaluated to be in a bad state. The conservation status of the Baltic Sea habitats is primarily determined by their structure and function. These are strongly affected by eutropication of the Baltic Sea, which continuously threatens the viability of all the Baltic Sea habitat types. The bad state of the river estuaries results from construction of harbours, industry and population centres, which are often focused on estuaries. The Baltic Sea habitat types are usually defined by the shape or soil type of the seabed. These are characteristics which change very slowly, and thus the area and distribution of different habitat types have been considered unaltered.
Eutrophication of Baltic Sea is a sum of several factors. One important cause is nutrient load carried by coastal rivers from different human induced sources, for example forestry, agriculture, population centres and industry. Global change has been estimated to have an unfavourable effect on the conservation status of Baltic Sea habitats. Primary production probably increases as a result of temperature rise. At the same time increased precipitation causes more nutrients and organic matter to flow from the rivers into the sea, thus intensifying eutrophication.
The Baltic Sea Habitat Directive habitat types are also threatened by other pressures. For example mining the sea sand affects the underwater shoals or sandbars, dredging and construction threaten the coastal lagoons, narrow brackish water bays, estuaries and shallow bays.
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- Updated (14.05.2013)