The International Association of Dredging Companies (IADC) recently commissioned a study named the “Ecosystem services: Towards integrated marine infrastructure project optimization”.
The study was carried out by the Ecosystem Management Research Group (ECOBE) of the University of Antwerp.
A specialist in ecosystem services and a group of experts from the dredging industry were also actively involved throughout the study to provide input on case studies and discuss intermediate results.
The concept of ecosystem services has been discussed for decades but over recent years, it has been gaining more recognition within and outside the industry. It can help enable the design of more sustainable dredging and marine infrastructure works and their efficient implementation and realization in environmentally sensitive areas.
In addition, the concept of ecosystem services could be an important tool for integral evaluation of project effects (whether benefits or impacts) and achieving broad public support.
The report provides the general concept of ecosystem services and the overall considerations on its use in the context of dredging projects.
Five case studies in highly distinct environments are highlighted and they present the outcomes of ecosystem services application.
The case studies are:
- Wind farms at sea (C-Power) in Belgium;
- Botany Bay in Sydney, Australia;
- Western Scheldt Container Terminal in the Netherlands;
- Sand Engine in the Netherlands;
- Polders of Kruibeke in Belgium.