Cumulative effects of planned industrial development and climate change on marine ecosystems




Murray, Cathryn Clarke
Agbayani, Selina
Ban, Natalie C.

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Global Ecology and Conservation


With increasing human population, large scale climate changes, and the interaction of multiple stressors, understanding cumulative effects on marine ecosystems is increasingly important. Two major drivers of change in coastal and marine ecosystems are industrial developments with acute impacts on local ecosystems, and global climate change stressors with widespread impacts. We conducted a cumulative effects mapping analysis of the marine waters of British Columbia, Canada, under different scenarios: climate change and planned developments. At the coast-wide scale, climate change drove the largest change in cumulative effects with both widespread impacts and high vulnerability scores. Where the impacts of planned developments occur, planned industrial and pipeline activities had high cumulative effects, but the footprint of these effects was comparatively localized. Nearshore habitats were at greatest risk from planned industrial and pipeline activities; in particular, the impacts of planned pipelines on rocky intertidal habitats were predicted to cause the highest change in cumulative effects. This method of incorporating planned industrial development in cumulative effects mapping allows explicit comparison of different scenarios with the potential to be used in environmental impact assessments at various scales. Its use allows resource managers to consider cumulative effect hotspots when making decisions regarding industrial developments and avoid unacceptable cumulative effects. Management needs to consider both global and local stressors in managing marine ecosystems for the protection of biodiversity and the provisioning of ecosystem services.



Cumulative effects, Cumulative impact mapping, Industrial development, Climate change, Marine, Canada


Murray, C.C., Agbayani, S. & Ban, N.C. (2015). Cumulative effects of planned industrial development and climate change on marine ecosystems. Global Ecology and Conservation, 4, 110-116.