On 30 June and 1 July 2016, the Waddenacademie and the NIOZ Wadden System Research Centre hosted an international scientific symposium at Texel, in which scientists addressed concerns from NGOs and governmental licensing authorities on how to properly assess combined effects of successive human activities on the environment. The aim of this symposium was to jointly come forward with feasible options to deal with the complexity of cumulative effects inherent to the suite of activities, scales and uncertainties.
The symposium started with an excursion by bus, with around 90 participants from both the Waddenacademie symposium and members of the Ecopotentials conference, which took place on Texel earlier that week. Back at Ecomare, the first five members of De Jonge Waddenacademie were installed by Pavel Kabat, member of the Supervisory Board of the Waddenacademie. The first day ended with drinks and a dinner.
The second day of the symposium, which took place at NIOZ, started with an official welcome to the hundred participants by Jouke van Dijk, chairman of the Waddenacademie, after which he gave the microphone to moderator Katja Philippart, board member Ecology Waddenacademy and senior researcher at NIOZ.
The first speaker was Rob Verheem (Commissie MER) who introduced the topic of the day by discussing the view of the Commissie MER on how to best address cumulative effects on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA). Pavel Kabat (IIASA, Austria) was the first key-note speaker. In his presentation, he stressed the importance of an integrated systems approach to deal with cumulative effects. Olaf Slakhorst (Province of Groningen) gave the audience some insight in the more practical legal consequences of dealing with cumulative effects of projects along the Wadden coast.
After lunch, Arjen Berkhuysen (Waddenvereniging) asked attention for the cumulative effects which are not yet taken into account in the Wadden Sea. Judith Floor (Wageningen UR) focussed on the political aspect of cumulative effects. She proposed that for effective dealing with cumulative effects, political aspect needs to be acknowledged. In the last presentation before the tea break, Eelke Folmer (NIOZ, Ecospace) presented his first conclusions on the applicability of the Bayesian network approach for assessing cumulative effects in the Wadden region.
The last session of the day dealt with cumulative effects of offshore windfarms on marine ecology. This theme was introduced by Maarten Platteeuw (RWS-WVL). Mardik Leopold (Imares) presented methods to assess the cumulative effects of offshore wind farms (OFT’s) on seabirds, by assessing collision rates and habitat loss for each OFT, using a common currency,mortality.\The last presentation was a video-presentation by Benjamin Halpern (NCEAS, USA), who shared with the audience his ideas about assumptions, challenges and future directions in cumulative impact analysis.
At the end of the second day, Katja Philippart made a quick synthesis of the symposium. She concluded that there are many aspects to cumulative effects in marine ecosystems, but there is concensus that an integrated approach to deal with these effects is necessary.
The successful symposium ended with a BBQ.