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© Kay Panten
Institute of

SF Sea Fisheries


Tipping points of the socioecological system of the North Sea (SeaUseTip)

© Thünen-Institut/Rebecca Lauerburg

Spatial and temporal Analysis of tipping Points of the socioecological System of the North Sea (German EEZ) under different Management scenarios - SeaUseTip

What are the consequences of ecological tipping points for the economy and society?

How can we manage these changes and avoid undesirable effects?

SeaUseTip aims to disentangle the interaction between ecology, economy and society to provide new management strategies avoiding ecological tipping points in the North Sea.

Background and Objective

In the past decades, the North Sea experienced significant ecological changes. Changing environmental conditions and an increasing human use of the ocean can lead to sudden, inadvertent shifts in both, the ecosystem and the corresponding socio-economic components. So far, the links between ecology and economy and society are not clearly identified, which makes it difficult to address them appropriately in management decisions.


SeaUseTip will improve our understanding of the relationships between ecosystem services and human uses. We will develop spatially-resolved, cross-sectoral management strategies in order to avoid unwanted tipping points of the socio-ecological system of the North Sea. The project focusses on the fishery and their resources in the German EEZ and surrounding Areas.


SeaUseTip is organised into a one-year pre-phase and a three-year main phase. During the current pre-phase we will develop management scenarios that are relevant for society and policy. Together with stakeholders from economy, policy and NGOs, the socio-ecological system of the North Sea with their components and interlinkages will be defined.


During the main phase we will assess the effects of natural and anthropogenic pressures on the socio-ecological system of the North Sea. For this we will cooperate with partners with an economic, social-science and ecological background. Temporally and spatially resolved physical, ecological and economic data will be analysed to identify sudden changes as well as the corresponding potential early warning indicators. With the help of bio-economic models we will evaluate management options and economic incentives with a specific focus on spatial conflicts between sectors.


Involved external Thünen-Partners

  • Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon (alt: Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht)
    (Geesthacht, Deutschland)
  • Universität Hamburg
    (Hamburg, Deutschland)


7.2017 - 6.2018

More Information

Project status: finished

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