EMODnet Seabed Habitats supports ecological modelling in Southern Italy
The Parthenope University of Naples is a member of the National Interuniversity Consortium for Marine Science (CoNISMa). This consortium was created to promote research into the marine environment in order to communicate between universities, national and international organizations and industry.
A study was conducted to assess the natural capital across the Gulf of Naples and the wider Campania region, areas of importance to Italy’s economy. The marine protected areas in this region alone exceed 10,857 ha, so being able to assess natural capital in this region would require large scale research cruises, data processing and analysis.
The EMODnet Seabed Habitats broad-scale habitat map for Europe (EUSeaMap 2019) supported the authors’ research by providing vital data on habitat boundaries within the broader Campania region. This resource allowed the authors to identify four main macro-habitats which could be used to quantify the value of marine natural capital stocks.
The EUSeaMap 2019 has helped the authors to estimate the contribution of natural capital stocks to the Italian economy to be, 795.92 and 4323.16 Million Euros within the Gulf of Naples and Campania region respectively. The study also helped to highlight the importance of the sciaphilic (shade loving) hard bottom habitat, where although the coverage was comparatively low (4% and 1% of the total areas of Naples and Campania, respectively), their contribution to the total value of natural capital was relatively high with 28% and 7%. The recognition of these important habitats and their value, in terms of natural capital, is an important step towards conservation of the Italian seabed, whilst promoting the sustainable use of its resources.
(Buonocore et al., 2020)