Causal approach to environmental risks of seabed mining

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Causal approach to environmental risks of seabed mining Laura Kaikkonen, Inari Helle, Kirsi Kostamo, Sakari Kuikka, Anna Törnroos, Henrik Nygård, Riikka Venesjärvi, Laura Uusitalo bioRxiv 2021.02.21.432138; doi:

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Title: Causal approach to environmental risks of seabed mining
Author: Kaikkonen, Laura; Helle, Inari; Kostamo, Kirsi; Kuikka, Sakari; Törnroos, Anna; Nygård, Henrik; Venesjärvi, Riikka; Uusitalo, Laura
Publisher: American Chemical Society
Date: 2021
Language: en
Belongs to series: Environmental Science & Technology 55: 13, 8502-8513
ISSN: 0013-936X
Abstract: Seabed mining is approaching the commercial mining phase across the world’s oceans. This rapid industrialization of seabed resource use is introducing new pressures to marine environments. The environmental impacts of such pressures should be carefully evaluated prior to permitting new activities, yet observational data is mostly missing. Here, we examine the environmental risks of seabed mining using a causal, probabilistic network approach. Drawing on a series of interviews with a multidisciplinary group of experts, we outline the cause-effect pathways related to seabed mining activities to inform quantitative risk assessments. The approach consists of (1) iterative model building with experts to identify the causal connections between seabed mining activities and the affected ecosystem components, and (2) quantitative probabilistic modelling to provide estimates of mortality of benthic fauna in the Baltic Sea. The model is used to evaluate alternative mining scenarios, offering a quantitative means to highlight the uncertainties around the impacts of mining. We further outline requirements for operationalizing quantitative risk assessments, highlighting the importance of a cross-disciplinary approach to risk identification. The model can be used to support permitting processes by providing a more comprehensive description of the potential environmental impacts of seabed resource use, allowing iterative updating of the model as new information becomes available.
Subject: Bayesian networks
causal maps
ecological risk assessment
expert elicitation
multiple pressures
probabilistic modelling
seabed mining
ocean bottom
models (objects)
environmental risks
risk assessment
Subject (ysa): pohjaeläimistö
bayesilainen menetelmä
mallit (ammatit)
Rights: CC BY 4.0

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