Norways history has always been linked to the coast and the sea. This 102,937 km long coastline of fjords and archipelagos has shaped our culture, identity and communities along the coast. Over time, the coastal population has built up a rich knowledge and a multifaceted understanding of their nearby ecosystems and their importance for the local culture. Local knowledge and observations based on close relationships with the coastal ecosystems can be built through active use of nature, for example through fishing, sailing, kayaking, hiking or aquaculture, but also through looking out of the kitchen window every day and observing migrating whales, weather systems passing by , or by watching the birds that are on the nest down on the shore. It is this knowledge, engagement and history we wish to explore to secure nature-based solutions and restoring marine and coastal environments that throughout history has supplied communities along the coast with a great palette of ecosystem services.
Nature-based solutions are conservation, sustainable use, or restoration of ecosystems to solve societal challenges. Sustainable management of the kelp forest can, for example, help fulfill several sustainability goals including carbon absorption, conservation of biological diversity and climate adaptation. At the same time is these areas are important habitats for fish and shellfish, and restoration of the kelp forest is therefore expected to provide nutritional gains in the form of increased fish stocks.
In December 2022, UN’s Biodiversity Summit declared a “peace pact for nature” and nature agreement, which promotes nature-based solutions to deal with societal challenges.
THE AIM OF AA-AGORA
The aim of AA-Agora it to become a lighthouse and role model in protecting and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity in the Arctic and Atlantic coastal areas. We will demonstrate how innovation, ecosystem-based management and nature-based solutions can contribute to a sustainable transition in three coastal areas:
The Arctic Archipelago of Karlsøy , Norway
County Cork, Ireland
Centro Region, Portugal
Based on the results and experiences in these three case areas we will create a blueprint, that is, a plan or a toolkit to protect and restore ecosystems and biodiversity that can used by other coastal areas in it arctic-atlantic area. The EU wants these lighthouse projects to the greatest extent possible shall be defined by the coastal communities and therefore lay up to a large degree of local involvement in the demonstration cases.
Ecosystem-based approaches to management, climate adaptation and disaster preparedness to reduce the risk of climate change is also part of nature-based solutions. In AA_Agora, we will help create a comprehensive plan for conservation, sustainable use, restoration and monitoring of ecosystems inside and outside the protected areas. The island kingdom in Troms has rich populations of seabirds, fish and mammals and 11 protected areas that safeguard biological diversity in the region. Ecosystem-based management is about to protect and restore biological diversity, contribute to resistant and adapted to climate change, as well as a sustainable social development for the benefit of the citizens and business in the region.
A LIVING LAB
We use a living lab approach where we jointly identify solutions and measures together
business, administration, organizations and citizens. Research and development in the demonstration area shall build on a procedure where we design, test, monitor and validate the solutions proposed to manage the ecosystems. An important part of this work is building capacity for local monitoring of ecosystems in the protected areas. Furthermore, the solutions must be able to be scaled up to other coastal areas. In the application process we selected the following measures in the demonstration area.
WHAT WE ARE GOING TO DO…
The Arctic Sustainability Lab will be working with a variability of local stakeholders and communities, where we together currently have identified following tasks:
Large-scale restoration of kelp forests
The measure here is to remove sea urchins to ensure regrowth kelp forest. The kelp guards, which is a voluntary diving organisation, school classes, and possibly local fishermen are invited to
collaborate on different solutions. The point is to engage youth and local population in restoration work as well in restoration monitoring along with scientific project partners.
Development of a sustainable tourism destination
The aim is to develop nature-based tourism that protects and restores the rich natural areas along the coast, including seabirds, mammals, and marine biodiversity in the kelp forest. The point here is to develop nature-based tourism that can contribute for the protection and restoration of the ecosystems through for example snorkeling/diving camp, exploration of sea urchins and kelp forests as a learning arena, sustainable local food, bird watching, monitoring, sustainable networking with local businesses, and learning and capacity building for to restore biodiversity and increase climate resilience. We is also developing a prototype for scaling up nature-based
tourism that is driven more by an intention to protect and restore marine ecosystems inside and outside the protected areas.
Design an adaptive monitoring system
Of the marine ecosystems together with the local community, we will design an adaptive monitoring system and identify nature-based solutions based on mapping of influencing factors. The mapping includes climate scenarios, climate risk maps and other human activities which affect the marine ecosystems. The purpose of this The task is also to build capacity so that local actors. You can do most of the monitoring and management yourself of the areas. This section includes co-designing together with local communities for monitoring, evaluation and learning
(citizen science), and combination of biological and local ecological knowledge to understand marine ecosystems and biodiversity. We use artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze images from drones, satellite, GPS, and social media, but our purpose is to create automated solutions that can contribute to local monitoring related to kelp forests, fish, seabirds – and marine mammals.