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Establishing the Resilience of a Coastal-marine Social-ecological System to the Installation of Offshore Wind Farms

Benjamin Burkhard, Ecology Centre Kiel
Kira Gee, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-05207-170432

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Abstract

Offshore wind farming is a contentious new form of sea use and a prominent driver of change across Europe. Drawing on the results of the research program Zukunft Küste - Coastal Futures, this contribution considers the resilience of the social-ecological system to the introduction of offshore wind farming in a northern German case study region. We do so by focusing on regime shifts and cross-scale effects, described through the concepts of adaptive cycles and ecosystem services. Offshore wind farming is shown to lead to a potential slow regime shift in the marine ecosystem, as well as a more rapid regime shift in the seascape. These shifts lead to changes in the available ecosystem services and conflicts between new and traditional sea and seascape values. We then explore the impact of these changes on the socioeconomic system on the coast. Against the background of the system’s current state and constraints, we argue this impact could be creative and innovative, but this trajectory depends on an internal socio-political shift and willingness to change.

Key words

cultural ecosystem services; German North Sea; offshore wind farming; regime shifts; social-ecological system dynamics
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087