We’ve been reporting on how tourism can affect biodiversity inWater Matterssince the beginning of summer. Also, the European Commission recently presented interesting material on the subject. It summarizes research on recreational land use that reduces marine biodiversity. It involves dredging near vacation homes in the Finnish archipelago.

Finland and dredging the bottom

Finland, considered the happiest country in the world, has more than 98,000. Islands. On many of them are located the so-called. Second homes, used recreationally during the holiday season. According to the EC, following data published by the Finnish Statistical Office, the figure in question is as high as 500,000. buildings. They, like their holiday use, have an impact on the islands’ environment. The EC presents a special aspect of recreational use of coastal areas. We are talking about dredging the bottom on a small scale to improve boat access and conditions for swimming and boating.

Impact of bottom dredging on biodiversity

Researchers from the Finnish Environmental Institute have assessed the potential impact of new second homes on species loss in the Baltic Sea due to dredging. Biodiversity was examined and data collected from more than 170,000 undersea areas. These were juxtaposed with information on recreational use of the land. On this basis, high-risk areas were identified due to dredging. Researchers have found that such activities, even on a small scale. Have a negative impact on biodiversity, especially coastal species. This is because it applies to shallow bays and lagoons with soft sea sediments that receive sunlight and are home to a variety of algae and marine plants.

The study emphasized that there was no linear relationship linking biodiversity and the size of the dredged area, which was interpreted as confirmation that changes even in a small area, such as at the pier, negatively affect marine organisms. An additional factor is the cumulation of impacts. The effects of dredging are felt far beyond the work area itself.

I will summarize the article with a quote: “At least 489 new homes are built annually on the Finnish coast, and scientists are calling for stricter land use regulations to better protect marine biodiversity, a priority of the broader EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. More specifically, they point to the need for greater control over land use in soft, shallow seabed areas that receive the most sunlight, and stricter regulation of dredging.”

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