B-USEFUL is a collaborative Horizon Europe project that aims to co-develop a set of user-oriented solutions and decision-support tools building and improving upon available European infrastructure for monitoring, data collection and ecosystem- based science advice

Our Concept

Understanding and managing the risks and consequences of human activities on marine biodiversity is crucial for preserving ocean integrity and services, and requires recognizing the intricate interplay within social-ecological systems (SES) and the fundamental link between biodiversity and ecosystem services (ES).

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A conceptual figure outlining the complex social-ecological system linking human activities and pressures on coastal- and marine biodiversity and their direct, or indirect effects on multiple ecosystem functions and services (here termed nature´s contribution to people).

Mission & goals

To ensure project outcomes with high operational readiness, B-USEFUL will go beyond the present state-of-the-art by advancing and maximizing the uptake and applicability of a number of key components and infrastructure needed to reach the desired project aims and outcomes.

More specifically, B-USEFUL will …

  • identify key end-user needs to support decision-making for spatial planning and sustainable management of European marine biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • co-develop a set of operational indicators, targets and “what-if” scenarios of multiple interacting stressors acting on marine biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • compile and standardize available data on marine species and habitats across areas and organism groups, as well as human pressures impacting marine biodiversity
  • maximize the uptake and harmonization of available European data infrastructure for monitoring and assessing marine biodiversity
  • advance our understanding of the adverse cumulative impacts of climate change and anthropogenic pressures acting on marine biodiversity
  • quantify the risk, vulnerability and resilience of species, communities and habitats to human impacts
  • provide a new model infrastructure to better characterize and forecast changes in marine biodiversity
  • co-develop interactive, user-oriented tools and solutions for decision-making fitting the needs of marine spatial planning

Our workflow

The overall workflow and methodology of B-USEFUL is inspired by adaptive management cycles constituting the primary work flow of modern impacts assessments, such as Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (IEAs). These IEAs have been set up in several European Seas by expert groups within the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to support decision making and advice within the broader context of ecosystem-based management. However, the existing IEAs and framework for providing ecosystem-based science advice currently takes no, or limited account of the multifaceted components of marine biodiversity. Nor do they provide any concrete recommendations to end-users and managers regarding effective management actions (notably MPAs) able to halt biodiversity loss and achieve the ambition of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030.

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A conceptual schematic illustrating the key workflow of B-USEFUL inspired by adaptive management cycles which aims to provide a suite of user-oriented solutions that are specifically tailored and co-developed together with end-users to ensure their utility and formal adoption as operational decision-support tools informing concrete management actions.

Get involved

The project’s workflow is designed to align with existing IEAs and the ecosystem-based advice framework, utilizing similar adaptive management cycles. This harmonization aims to significantly enhance the governance framework for science advice and decision-making.