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People’s perception of seagrass ecosystems - a Step Zero analysis in establishing marine protection of seagrass around Gotland, Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The marine environment is under stress. This study will address seagrass around the island of Gotland, Sweden. Seagrass is a marine flowering plant which grows on the seabed and provide a multitude of important ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, erosion mitigation and serve as habitats for primary fisheries. Due to the many benefits it provides seagrass is an important species and needs protection. Studies show there is a considerable lack of knowledge and indifference from the general public regarding the ecosystem services of seagrass meadows. Such indifference threatens seagrass meadows and their important ecosystem services. A survey made in this study indicates respondents are slightly unsure when distinguishing seagrass from other underwater fauna and applying features to it. However, a certainty exists that the Sea is important, and we should take care of it. Likewise, there is an awareness of the environment around Gotland and that is has deteriorated some over time, responses mostly reflected on fish catches, sea wrack and water clarity. Further, respondents are not always fully aware of how humans already benefit from ESS provided by seagrass. Consequently, the results indicate an uncertainty in the understanding between daily human activities (e.g. boating, fishing, handling of sea wrack) and potential changes of ESS. After answering the survey many expressed a curiosity and concern about seagrass but simultaneously felt unsure of how to protect or limit the destruction of seagrass. This indicates there is a possibility to inform, include and engage the general public as a stakeholder group. In the Baltic Sea the situation is severe due to eutrophication, toxins and overfishing causing certain ecosystems to collapse and the seabed becoming oxygen deficient. The Baltic Sea is under pressure, international and national environmental policies promote a higher protection and mitigation of stressors advocating an adaptive natural resource management and sustainable development. This thesis investigates what people’s perception is about seagrass and the ecosystem services it provides around Gotland. It further looks at the process of implementing environmental protection and conservation and how this is dependent on active participation from the general public. The research aims to conduct a Step Zero analysis, establish a basis of stakeholders’ perception of seagrass as a resource. The analysis is a pre-test and can provide a foundation of how to optimize and proceed in a potential deepening of marine protection. It further explores in what way information can be communicated to help illustrate the benefits and necessity of natural resource management. Using empirical data from a survey circulated on Gotland, this thesis explores what information is relevant for the local community to increase the awareness seagrass and the ecosystem services seagrass benefit provides. By determining if and how people perceive different aquatic benefits and threats, natural resource management may provide information and participation measures that can lead to a gradual alteration of behavior.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 50
Series
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper, ISSN 1650-6553 ; 37
Keywords [en]
Sustainable development, seagrass, ecosystem services, participation, natural resource management, Step Zero analysis
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-387910OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-387910DiVA, id: diva2:1331078
Subject / course
Sustainable development
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
Presentation
2019-05-23, Geocentrum, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 09:30 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-06-26 Created: 2019-06-26 Last updated: 2019-06-26Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

The full text will be freely available from 2020-06-30 12:54
Available from 2020-06-30 12:54

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