Provision of aquatic ecosystem services as a consequence of societal changes: The case of the Baltic Sea

Kari Hyytiäinen, Bauer Barbara, Kerstin Bly Joyce, Eva Ehrnsten, Kari Eilola, Bo Gustafsson, Markus Meier, Alf Norkko, Sofia Saraiva, Maciej Tomczak, Marianne Zandersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Aquatic ecosystem services are important for human wellbeing, but they are much less studied than terrestrial ecosystem services. The objectives of this study are to broaden, itemize and exemplify the human-nature interactions in modeling the future provision of aquatic ecosystem services. We include shared socioeconomic and representative concentration pathways, used extensively in climate research, as drivers of change for the future development of the Baltic Sea. Then we use biogeochemical and ecosystem models to demonstrate the future development of exemplary supporting, provisioning and cultural ecosystem services for two distinct combinations of regionally downscaled global climate and socioeconomic futures. According to the model simulations, the two global futures ("Sustainable well-being" vs. "Fossil-fuelled development") studied lead to clearly deviating trajectories in the provision of marine ecosystem services. Under the "Sustainable well-being"-scenario primary production decreases by 20%, catches of demersal fish increases and the recreation opportunities increase significantly by the end of the ongoing century. Under the "fossil-fuelled development"-scenario primary production doubles, fisheries focus on less valued pelagic fish and the recreation possibilities will decrease. Long-term projections of aquatic ecosystem services prepared for alternative global socioeconomic futures can be used by policy makers and managers to adaptively and iteratively adjust mitigation and adaptation effort with plausible future changes in the drivers of water pollution.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPopulation Ecology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)61–74
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
  • Climate change
  • cyanobacteria bloom
  • ecosystem services
  • integrated models
  • primary production

Cite this