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OPTIMAKELP's objective is to generate knowledge that  can support ecosystem-based management of recovering kelp forests by analyzing kelp distribution, value of ecosystem services, and adaptive management options under climatic and socio-economic change. The project is organized in six different work packages (WPs) that are briefly described below. 

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Modeling existing and future distribution and biomass of kelp forests

In this WP, we will  produce full cover maps of existing and future kelp distribution and biomass for the kelp species L. hyperborea and S. latissima. Researchers will use existing data from L.hyperborea and sample new field data of S. latissima to model biomass and distribution. 

Assessing ecosystem services: kelp trawling vs standing kelp

This work will analyse the economic value of different ecosystem services provided by kelp forests. To do so, we will assess values from kelp trawling and from standing kelp forests, under different management alternatives. The results will provide key economic data for decision-making on how to manage kelp forests under change to benefit local communities.

Assessing social preferences and impacts of kelp harvesting

This WP will explore how one can  integrate social dimensions to future coastal zone governance and identify, assess and manage social impacts of increased harvesting of kelp. This involves mapping historical knowledge of kelp locally and to  review of historical use of kelp in the Nordic coastal region.The aim is to increase the local capacity to reduce potential negative effects and make use of potential benefits associated with changes in kelp use.

Identifying opportunities for adaptive and ecosystem-based management of kelp

In this work, we will  assess the potential for adaptive management of kelp harvesting within the current legal and governance regime.  It includes an analysis of existing legislation and how various governance actors at the national, county and municipal level manage kelp in practice. 

Policy and management options for kelp forests

The objective of this synthesizing work package is to compile international best practices and to develop scenarios and options for kelp management that optimize different uses of kelp for example fisheries, biodiversity, commercial trawling and so on. 

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Dissemination and outreach activities 

Among the dissemination activites are 1) a contribution to an exhibition produced by Nordland Museum, in Jektefart-museum, Bodø  including an event combining demonstration of traditional use of kelp with modern use,
including kelp in food, cosmetics and fodder 2) the Kelp experience in cooperation with schools in Vega and Frøya. The  children will both learn about the kelp’s biology and ecological role, the historical use of kelp in Norway and
the extent to which the gastronomic and nutritional properties of kelp make it a promising candidate for new businesses along the Norwegian coast.

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