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Ecological restoration in the Belgian part of the North Sea
Rabaut, M.; Cliquet, A.; Vincx, M.; Degraer, S. (2008). Ecological restoration in the Belgian part of the North Sea, in: (2008). Proceedings of the 6th European Conference on Ecological Restoration (SER), Ghent (Belgium) 8-12 September 2008. pp. 1-4
In: (2008). Proceedings of the 6th European Conference on Ecological Restoration (SER), Ghent (Belgium) 8-12 September 2008. Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO): Brussel, more

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    VLIZ: Open Repository 146404 [ OMA ]

Keywords
    Ecosystems; Fisheries; Marine invertebrates; Reefs; Restoration; Sand banks; Lanice conchilega (Pallas, 1766) [WoRMS]; ANE, Belgium [gazetteer]; ANE, North Sea [gazetteer]; Marine

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Abstract
    Goods and services provided by marine ecosystems are based on natural processes. Ecological restoration is limited to reducing existing human pressure. ‘Pressure reduction’ will be an important factor in the ‘ecosystems approach’ in the European seas. Within the Natura2000‐network, different habitat‐types have been described that deserve protection. Current presentation provides insights in how habitat‐types are described in the EU habitats directive and discusses this for the Belgian Part of the North Sea (BPNS) from an ecological point of view. Annex I Habitat‐type 1110 (‘sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time’) is of importance for the BPNS. The interpretation manual provides a broad definition that does not allow defining a ‘healthy sandbank system’ but indicates that association with several other habitats is possible. Habitat‐type 1170 (‘reefs’) is one of the habitattypes that might occur in the shallow sandbank system of the BPNS. Although biogenic reefs have largely disappeared, reefs build up by tube building polychaetes still exist in the BPNS. Current presentation shows that dense aggregations of Lanice conchilega classify as reefs. We therefore advocate to classify the SAC as a sandbank habitat‐type (1110), associated with the reef habitat‐type (1170). This would also allow for better criteria for the ecological restoration in the area as the reefs represent a higher biological value. Moreover, the impact of fisheries on these systems has been quantified. We speak out for a fishing ban in SACs. This might however lead to difficulties both on political and social level (cf. presentation Cliquet).

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