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MARine Ecosystem Accounting (MAREA) for integrated coastal planning in the Oslofjord

Mapping and valuation of ecosystem services can help turn the tide on ecosystem degradation of urbanizing coastal areas.

About the project

MARine Ecosystem Accounting (MAREA) for integrated coastal planning in the Oslofjord

The Oslofjord is facing historic deterioration of ecosystem condition. At the same time, the fjord is experiencing high population growth and increased use of the fjord and coastline. There is a growing conflict of interests between coastal development and nature conservation. To facilitate sustainable ecosystem-based management of the Oslofjord, the overall aim of MAREA is to evaluate how ecosystem accounting methods can provide decision-support to the different planning levels in the contested, complex and dynamic coastal-marine ecosystems of the Oslofjord.  Through a collaborative project with planners at municipal, watershed, county and government level, MAREA will partner with and directly support Norway’s first government coordinated Integrated Plan for the Oslofjord (IPO). Our societal aim is to use the ecosystem accounting approach to catalyse a ‘turning of the tide’ of historic deterioration of the Oslofjord, restoring the flow of its ecosystem services to society and the economy (/maˈɾe.a/ (sp. noun); «tide», «flow» (eng.)).

MAREA will be testing a framework called «System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA)», which was recently created and ratified by the UN.

Ecosystem accounting and project concept.


Spatial mapping of ecosystem services is central here. This framework is new for Norwegian coastal planning and management, and makes research on the use of ecosystem services necessary.

MAREA will demonstrate how biophysical indicators and monetary values of ES can be used for differentiated and targeted decision-support for different coastal-marine planning layers. MAREA will also demonstrate trade-offs between coastal ecosystem services, including behavioral change in recreational fisheries. MAREA will test how ecosystem service trade-offs can be quantified, and communicated for the main planning concerns in the Oslofjord – water pollution, benthic habitat loss and fish stock decline, recreation access limitation and shoreline property densification.

MAREA is a competence and collaboration project funded by the Research Council of Norway. The project is led by the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute for Natural Research (NINA). Additional partners are the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Statistics Norway (SSB), the county municipality of Viken, the county municipality of Vestfold and Telemark, and the Oslo Fjord Outdoor Council. MAREA has a total budget of approx. NOK 13 million and is set to run for four years (1 October 2021 - 30 September 2025).

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