Incorporating anthropogenic thresholds to improve understanding of cumulative effects on seagrass beds

The analysis of cumulative human impact is a necessary and promising management tool to estimate the impacts caused by multiple human activities; however, connecting cumulative impact scores to actual ecosystem changes is challenging. This study calculated cumulative effects scores for 187 seagrass beds in Atlantic Canada and developed a threshold to evaluate the likelihood of seagrass bed degradation. Results suggest that 49 seagrass beds exceeded the threshold, with 86% being influenced by three or more stressors that cumulatively amounted to a large score. This cumulative effect approach provides a simplified metric to identify areas where management of cumulative effects should be prioritized.

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