Sensitivity to human activities

As was discussed in the previous chapter, the lack of long-term observational studies of biotopes within this complex hinders any assessment of their sensitivity to naturally-occurring events. The same is true in relation to human-induced changes in the environment. Observational evidence does indicate a sensitivity to particular human activities (eg. trawling, organic pollution), although more rigorous numerical data are still sorely needed. It is also possible to identify certain other activities that could potentially impact on these biotopes (based on examples known from other benthic habitats, or simply from general biological principles). These additional factors will be briefly mentioned even where they have not yet been shown to be important in any specific case.

The chapter will focus on processes occurring at a local or regional scale, and which are relevant to the monitoring and management of SACs. Human-induced environmental changes taking place globally, and over a longer time-scale (eg. global warming, sea level changes) may ultimately prove to be important, but their effects, magnitude and timing are currently unpredictable and beyond the scope of the present review.

Activities known to affect the biotope complex

Activities potentially affecting the biotope complex

Activities unlikely to affect the biotope complex