MARine Ecosystem Accounting (MAREA) for integrated coastal planning in the Oslofjord

How mapping and valuation of ecosystem services can help turn the tide on ecosystem degradation of urbanizing coastal areas.



News about the project

April 2024

MAREA at an ecosystem accounting seminar

Wenting Chen (NIVA) presented ongoing work in the Norwegian Institute for Water Research on ocean accounting and reported MAREA outcomes at a seminar on ecosystem accounting.

Watch the recording here.

January 2024

New publication on uncertainty audits in ecosystem extent accounts

Check out the latest publication co-financed by the MAREA project! The main findings are:

  • Conventional pixel counting of satellite-based land cover maps leads to biased ecosystem extent accounts
  • Design-based (survey) methods are necessary complements to satellite-based maps for quantifying uncertainty and mitigating bias.
  • Simpler ecosystem typologies, longer accounting periods, and custom satellite-based maps reduce uncertainty in extent accounts.
  • A standard for auditing uncertainty in ecosystem accounts is needed.

Fore more information and access to the full publication, click here.

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Seminar og konferanse på Oslofjord

September 6th 2023

MAREA Conference

The MAREA annual conference was held in Tjøme on September 6, 2023, with approximately 80 participants from research, public administration, and the private sector. The conference served as a crucial meeting point to discuss the future of marine ecosystem accounting as a tool to support integrated planning in the Oslofjord.

The day began with a joint session on ecosystem accounting in Norway and an introduction to the MAREA research project:

  • Prioritizing the preservation of the Oslofjord is of national and regional importance. Comprehensive planning for the Oslofjord is intended to complement and enhance governance, with regional initiatives like the fjord development project in Viken County contributing to better coordination.
  • Can we learn anything from Chesapeake Bay in the USA? A “pollution diet” calculates the total maximum daily load of what the bay ecosystem can tolerate, and an indicator system is applied to support the policy development. 
  • The MAREA project examines various aspects of natural accounting for the Oslofjord. Natural accounting can help showcase the value of the Oslofjord, and there is a significant expectation that it will help protect it. However, the current knowledge of natural accounting in Norwegian administration is limited.

To provide participants with a broader perspective and an understanding of the potential of natural accounting, the session was followed by two international presentations:

  1. Natural accounting can be used to demonstrate the value of nature in an economic accounting model, including economic activity, sustainability, and welfare related to the sea and coast.
  2. In Indonesia, natural accounting has been applied to shed lights on these questions: What is the impact of mangrove loss on the job market? And how can this affect policy formulation?

After the morning sessions, participants split into three different parallel sessions. "New, Useful, and Utilized" was the common theme for these sessions, with varying thematic emphasis on MAREA's research areas. The main purpose of the parallel sessions was to highlight the gap between research and administration and discuss how elements of natural accounting can support administrative needs.

Parallel Session 1: Outdoor Activities in the Oslofjord

What value do outdoor areas along the Oslo Fjord have for recreation, and how can it be assessed? Participants gained insights into how STRAVA, participatory GIS, behavioural changes among recreational divers and birdwatchers, and property pricing can contribute to valuing nature and how this can be used in administration.

Parallel Session 2: Coastal water quality, nature types and associated values

How does the distribution of marine nature types change over time, and how can they be valued? What can modelling of coastal water quality tell us? Participants discussed challenges in water management and marine mapping, as well as the knowledge needed to achieve better coastal water quality.

Parallel Session 3: Business Development in the Oslofjord.

What business development may be relevant in the Oslofjord in the future, and how can natural accounting be used as decision support to resolve land use conflicts? Participants discussed the potential for various economic activities along the fjord, the limitations imposed by administration, and how to address them.

The day concluded with a panel discussion featuring a participant from each parallel session.

  1. New – what is new about what you have learned about "natural accounting" during the session?
  2. Useful – how can this be useful as a tool in following up on the Integrated Action Plan for the Oslofjord?
  3. Utilized – what obstacles do you see for natural accounting to be effectively utilized?"

Global Ocean Accounts Partnership has written a summary of the MAREA project conference.

Read more here.

September 7th 2023

MAREA has conducted its first planner’s jury

To further enhance the close dialogue between research and governance actors, the MAREA project held its first planner’s jury' the following day. The planner’s jury consisted of a panel of representatives from county municipalities and the Oslofjorden Friluftsråd (Outdoor Recreation Council). Researchers were asked to present their research in a user-friendly manner based on some guiding questions that had been sent out in advance:

  • What is the purpose of the research? (Information, decision support, policy formulation)?
  • What element of natural accounting does the research contribute to?
  • Where in the decision-making process is this useful?

The presentations were followed by a discussion with the jury, during which jury members asked additional questions and reflected on the applicability of the research. The purpose of this format is to integrate and tailor to the needs of decision-maker so that the potential for the use of ecosystem assessment for decision support and other purposes can be increased. It ensures that both parties benefit from the research: MAREA can discuss its research to better align it with the needs of decision-makers, and decision makers gain a better understanding of the research. This increases the potential for the use of ecosystem assessments in decision-making processes and other purposes.

The evaluation of the process showed that such an exercise is considered very useful for both parties, and the notes from the meeting contribute to the project's follow-up going forward.

26-27 April 2023

MAREA project at the 6th Symposium on the Oceans In National Income Accounts

Wenting Chen presented the MAREA project and ongoing results at the 6th Symposium on the Oceans In National Income Accounts in Busan, South Korea on 26-27 April 2023.

December 2022

Webinar on ecosystem accounting for the Oslofjord

Can the downscaling coastal-marine thematic accounts (UN SEEA EA, Ch. 13) provide decision support for integrated planning in the Oslofjord?


The streaming of the webinar is available her. (Norwegian only)

MAREA Oslofjord Advisory Board

2 June 2022

MAREA Advisory Board Meeting

A MAREA Advisory Board Meeting was held on 2nd June 2022. The project team including both academic and non- academic partners attended the meeting. The international experts from National University of Ireland Galway, UNEP WCMC, the Finnish Environmental Agency and the University of Alberta shared their experience on coastal marine ecosystem accounting and coastal governance.