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Demonstration of measures and management for coastal and marine ecosystems restoration and resilience in simplified socio-ecological systems.


Pressures on marine biodiversity, and the ecosystems they form a part of, are increasing at a faster rate than the efforts at protection. Adding to human direct pressures, the effects of climate and environmental changes are becoming main drivers affecting the integrity of marine ecosystems and their capacity to deliver a wide range of multiple essential services and benefits to people. Those global changes are occurring already and have a more rapid affect in the ocean than on land (like warming, stratification, sea level rise, extreme events, pollution, eutrophication, deoxygenation, and acidification).

There is an increasing need for a holistic ecosystem-based and knowledge-based overarching approach that ensures the sustainability and resilience of coastal and marine ecosystems with a Multi Actor Approach involving the four leviers of transformation (science & innovation; economy & finance; individual & collective action; governance). This approach should at the same time integrate and balance different ocean uses and relevant land-based activities to optimise the overall sustainability of the ocean economy.

This topic aims at speeding up the identification, the development and integration of ad hoc measures and holistic ecosystem-based management approaches at larger scale, considering as well the land-sea interactions, especially connected inland waters, that will restore coastal and marine ecosystems and enable the sustainable delivery of services and resilience to rapid climate and environmental changes. To do so, it is necessary to test with no delay several types of interventions, tools and targets (conservation, restoration, holistic ecosystem-based management, marine nature-based solutions, social innovation) at realistic scales, with spatially well-defined socio-ecological system boundaries before upscaling to larger and more complex socio-ecological systems.

  • In this topic simplified socio-ecological systems are systems where the number of socio-economic activities, governance levels and range of ecosystems diversity are such that they allow for the experiment to be conducted within the duration of a project and the range of funding available. They should include already existing MPAs and/or other area based management tools to allow for a quick start of the project’s testing approaches. For example, but not exclusively, the system composed by the relevant EU Outermost regions, such Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands and Capo Verde (Macaronesia), La Réunion, Maurice and related islands (Mascarene Islands), la Gaudeloupe, Saint Martin and la Martinique (Lesser Antilles), Mayotte (Comoros archipelago), French Guyan, or a system of Mediterranean islands (e.g. the Tuscan Archipelago) could provide an example of a large scale but simplified socio-economic system that could be used for assessing cumulated impacts and identifying solutions. Similarly, the Greenland- Iceland-Faeroe region could offer a site in sub-polar Arctic region for identifying integrated solutions for marine biodiversity management under rapid climate change conditions. Inland, presence of protected areas including human activities can also provide an ideal context to explore these questions.
  • This topic would allow projects in different simplified socio-ecological system so several measures and approaches could be conducted in parallel with a shared method enabling both highly system specific as well as shared challenges and solutions to be identified cross-islands / interregional cooperation and policy implementation. Social innovation and co-creation of the approaches and solutions by involving the four levers of transformation in the local communities would be central to enable proper scientifically sound and societally acceptable interventions.
  • Innovative approaches and lessons learnt for upscaling measures and holistic socio-ecological management of marine and coastal ecosystems recognising the need to preserve the inherently dynamic nature of coastal ecosystems and their associated landforms. Projects should build on existing knowledge to avoid duplications and overlaps with past or ongoing research and integrate results from multiple origins, including other EU or national projects.
  • Where relevant, creating links to and using the information and data of the European Earth observation programme Copernicus, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) is expected.
  • Proposals should outline a plan on how they intend to collaborate with other projects selected under any other relevant topic/call, by e.g. participating in joint activities, workshops, common communication and dissemination activities, etc. Furthermore, the plan should embrace cooperation with the Biodiversity Partnership[[]] (HORIZON-CL6-2021-BIODIV-02-01) and other relevant Horizon Europe missions and partnerships. Applicants should allocate the necessary budget to cover the plan. Relevant activities of the plan will be set out and carried out in close co-operation with relevant Commission services, ensuring coherence with related policy initiatives.
  • Contribution to enhancing the overall societal and public understanding of link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning through education and training (school & adult education, citizen science platforms)
  • In order to achieve the expected outcomes, international cooperation is strongly encouraged.

This topic should involve the effective contribution of SSH disciplines.