The marine animal forests of the world: Challenges, frontiers and the role of science in its management and conservationInternal

ANFORE

Activity Overview

Type: Working group
Start Date: May 28, 2018
End Date: June 1, 2018
Venue: Università del Salento, DisTeBA, Lecce City, Italy.
Contact: Dr.Sergio Rossi
E-mail: sergio.rossi [at] unisalento.it
Funding Call: EuroMarine 2017 call for FWS and WG proposals
Total Budget: €6,000
Funds Granted: €5,000

Manager(s): Sergio Rossi
Co-organiser(s): Stefano Piraino

Objectives

The main aim of this Working Group will be providing the basis of knowhow and identify the gaps of knowledge in order to stimulate the conception of a European project which aims to identify and numerically estimate the ecosystem services provided by the animal forests of the world. Also, the final target is to identify those changes detected under anthropogenic pressure and structure such a project that would allow solutions. The involved scientists will create a clear unifying picture of these animal forests to be disseminated through the general public and stakeholders, but also to different working groups.

The group aims to establish an integrative vision, and a series of approaches that informs research and future policy directions on crosscutting sustainability-driven issues related to the fragmented governance framework of these benthic ecosystems within regional waters, and the open ocean areas. The proposal renders equal importance to strengthening regional and interdisciplinary dialogue. During the meeting there will be a clear output across natural and social sciences, from the previous experience of some of the participants. The group also aims to create a distinct multi-scalar and cross-sectoral platform for institutional partners including academia, policy-makers and civil society, offering spaces for trans disciplinary dialogue, providing the basis for a large project that intends to make an in depth evaluation of Animal Forests current status, ecosystem services provided, and conservation-regeneration.

Expected outcomes

  1. Providing a position paper which will be define and structured during the meeting that will be sent to a high-impact scientific journal in which the basis of the problem are explained and the actions to be taken, provided.
  2. Write an outreach paper to be sent to different Media (journals and magazines, but also relevant blogs) in English, Spanish, French, Italian and German; create a Twitter and Facebook account to start including the Animal Forest concept to the Social network.
  3. Record and upload several 2-3 min video messages from the participants to highlight the problems and make stronger the need for this holistic approximation of the Animal Forest concept
  4. Setting up the basis to make a wide network to apply for a European project within the Horizon 2020 program.

Summary

The Working Group aimed to identify the gaps in knowledge of Marine Animal Forests, with the ultimate goal the creation of a European project to identify and numerically estimate the ecosystem services provided by the animal forests of the world. The involved scientists wanted to create a clear unifying picture of these animal forests to be disseminated through the general public and stakeholders, as well as to external working groups.

The group established an integrative vision, and took a series of approaches to inform research and future policy directions on crosscutting sustainability-driven issues related to the fragmented governance framework of these benthic ecosystems within regional waters, and the open ocean areas. 

Outputs

The working group developed the structure for two position papers to be further developed and submitted to high-impact scientific journals. The first, "Who cares about marine animal forests? A plea for increased awareness" was submitted as a note in Current Biology. The second, "Changes of energy fluxes in marine animal forests of the Anthropocene: factors shaping the future seascape" was submitted as a perspective paper to Global Change Biology.

The working group also developed 13 videos about the Marine Animal Forest, each 1-3 minutes long, in which different researchers/professors addressed the various aspects of Marine Animal Forests (including description, ecology, threats, restoration, scientific outreach, etc.). 

A COST proposal was developed for the November 2018 deadline called Marine Animal Forests: chALlenges, frontiers anD conservation in a fAst changing world (MAFALDA).

The working group also planned a H2020 Climate Change proposal for February 2019 titled Forests of the Sea and climate change: problems and solutions (SEA FORESTS).