Adaption The coordinated method of making adjustments in our decisions, activities, and thinking in response to observed or expected changes in climate, with the goal of moderating harm and taking advantage of new opportunities that may be presented by these changes.
Coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) A comprehensive, adaptive, integrated, ecosystem-based, and trans- parent spatial planning process, based on sound science, for analyzing current and anticipated uses of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes areas. CMSP identifies areas most suitable for various types or classes of activities in order to reduce conflicts among uses, reduce environmental impacts, facilitate compatible uses, and preserve critical ecosystem services to meet economic, environmental, security, and social objectives.
Cumulative impacts The combined effect of human activities on the ecosystem. Cumulative impacts can result from multiple instances of the same activity or from different activities. The activities need not occur at the same place or time to result in cumulative impacts on the ecosystem. For example, construction of roadways, building of seawalls, and use of lawn fertilizers and pesticides along the shores of a particular bay may be done by different people on their properties over a period of years. Together these activities result in cumulative impacts on the coastal marine ecosystem.
Ecosystem A dynamic complex of plants, animals, microbes, and physical environmental features that interact with one another. Humans are an integral part of marine and terrestrial ecosystems. The interconnectedness within and among ecosystems is provided both by the physical environment (for example, currents transporting larvae from one part of the ecosystem to another) and by biological interactions (for example, kelps or sea grasses creating habitat or predators consuming prey).
Ecosystem services The conditions and processes through which natural ecosystems, and the species that make them up, sustain and fulfill human life. Examples include provision of clean water, maintenance of livable climates (carbon sequestration), pollination of crops and native vegetation, and fulfillment of people’s cultural, spiritual, intellectual needs. Marine ecosystems benefit humans by providing services such as food (fish, shellfish and seaweed); medicines; water purification; protection of shorelines from erosion and storm damage; control of diseases and pests; nutrient cycling; moderation of climate and weather; recreation; and spiritual, religious and other nonmaterial benefits. The interactions within an ecosystem produce these services. Each ecosystem provides a range of services. Although some goods have significant economic value, most other essential services are not commonly assigned economic worth. Examples of services that are at risk because they are undervalued include protection of shorelines from erosion, nutrient recycling, control of disease and pests, climate regulation, cultural heritage, and spiritual benefits. Current economic systems attach no dollar values to these services; they are typically not considered in policy decisions and many are at risk.
Ecosystem-based management An integrated approach to management that considers the entire ecosystem, including humans. The goal of ecosystem-based management is to maintain an ecosystem in a healthy, productive, and resil- ient condition so that it can provide the services humans want and need. Ecosystem-based management differs from current approaches that usually focus on a single species, sector, activity, or concern; it considers the cumulative impacts of different sectors. Specifically, ecosystem-based management: emphasizes the protection of ecosystem structure, functioning, and key processes; is place-based in focusing on a specific ecosystem and the range of activities affecting it; explicitly accounts for the interconnectedness within systems, recognizing the importance of interactions between many target species or key services and other non-target species; acknowledges interconnectedness among systems, such as between air, land, and sea; and integrates ecological, social, economic, and institutional perspectives, recognizing their strong interdependences. (Reference: McLeod et al. 2005)
Gulf of Maine A 36,000-square-mile area of the northwest Atlantic Ocean bordered by three states (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine) in the northeastern United States and two provinces (New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) in Canada. It is home to one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world and supports renowned fisheries. Georges Bank and Browns Bank mark the offshore boundary between the Gulf of Maine and the rest of the Atlantic Ocean.
Gulf of Maine watershed A total land area of 69,115 square miles (179,008 square kilometers) that drains into the Gulf of Maine. It encompasses much of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, all of Maine, and a small portion of Quebec.
Habitat The place where an animal or plant lives and that has the environmental conditions needed for that species to survive. Habitats support many different communities of animals and plants. Natural or human-caused activities may change habitats and the species living there. Examples of habitats in the Gulf of Maine include rocky reefs, salt marshes, eelgrass beds, and sandy or muddy bottoms.
Habitat restoration The process of returning a polluted or degraded habitat—such as a salt marsh, eelgrass bed, or river—to its natural condition. The goal of habitat restoration is to help the structure and functions of habitats, enabling them to play their natural roles in the ecosystem. Habitat restoration projects expedite the process to rebuild a healthy ecosystem that functions like it did prior to being degraded. Restoration projects usually address entire habitats that can support numerous species, rather than focusing on single species.
Indicators Quantitative or qualitative measures that provide information about the status of or changes in natural, cultural, and economic aspects of an ecosystem. Examples of some possible indicators include coliform bacteria counts, measures of harmful algal blooms, levels of toxic chemicals in seafood, and abundance and diversity of fish and inverte- brate species.
Invasive species A non-native plant or animal species that has been deliberately or accidentally transported and released into a foreign environment through human activities and has successfully taken hold in that environment, causing ecological damage in the process. Also called alien, exotic, introduced, non-indigenous, and aquatic nuisance species.
Land-based activities Human activities on land that directly or indirectly affect the coastal and marine ecosystem. Examples include land development, pollution emissions, and use of fertilizers and pesticides.
Natural capital The living and non-living components of Earth that provide ecosystem services such as oxygen produc- tion, water filtration, food production, and erosion prevention.
Nonpoint source pollution Pollution originating from diffuse sources, such as runoff of chemicals from the land and deposition of airborne pollutants.
Point-source pollution Pollution originating from a well-defined point, such as a pipe. Discharge from a sewage treat- ment plant is an example of point-source pollution.
Regionally significant coastal habitats (RSCH) A term used by the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environ- ment for habitats that the Council has identified as regional priorities for management, protection, and restoration.
Science translation The process of transferring scientific facts and knowledge to people who are not scientists (e.g., resource managers, policy makers, educators, the public) using audience-specific communication strategies and techniques.
Sustainable development Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Working waterfront Sites and facilities providing physical access to the sea for commercial fishing and other marine commercial activities; additional facilities and services, which may not be located immediately at the shore, needed to support marine commercial activities.