Embedding ecosystem services into the Marine Strategy Framework Directive: Illustrated by eutrophication in the North Sea

Tim O'higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


The introduction of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) with its focus on an Ecosystem Approach places an emphasis on the human dimensions of environmental problems. Human activities may be the source of marine degradation, but may also be adversely affected should degradation compromise the provision of ecosystem services. The MSFD marks a shift away from management aiming to restore past, undegraded states toward management for Good Environmental Status (GEnS) based on delivery of marine goods and services. An example relating ecosystem services to criteria for Good Environmental Status is presented for eutrophication, a long recognised problem in many parts of Europe's seas and specifically targeted by descriptors for GEnS. Taking the North Sea as a case study the relationships between the eutrophication criteria of the MSFD and final and intermediate marine ecosystem services are examined. Ecosystem services are valued, where possible in monetary terms, in order to illustrate how eutrophication affects human welfare (economic externalities) through its multiple effects on ecosystem services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages14
JournalEstuarine Coastal and Shelf Science
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2013


Cite this