Azevedo, A., Sousa, A.I., Lencart e Silva, J.D., Dias, J.M. and Lillebø, A.I., 2013. Application of the generic DPSIR framework to seagrass communities of Ria de Aveiro: a better understanding of this coastal lagoon
Seagrasses are rooted flowering plants, forming dense and highly productive meadows in transitional and coastal waters, which assure major functions and services contributing to the ecosystems health. However, the increased decline and fragmentation of seagrass meadows lead to the loss of the associated benefits. In Ria de Aveiro coastal lagoon (Portugal), seagrass meadows showed a marked decline during the past three decades. In this context, the DPSIR framework (Drivers-Pressures-State-Impacts-Response) arises as an useful tool for environmental assessments. The objective of this study was to apply the DPSIR conceptual model to the seagrass communities in the Ria de Aveiro lagoon, to identify the main drivers, pressures, state and impacts resulting in its decline. Lastly, it was intended to propose possible management responses towards the maintenance of the functions and services provided by the seagrass communities in the Ria de Aveiro. This framework provided an integrated view of the past-present information considering the background data available. The results obtained by the application of the DPSIR framework to the seagrass communities of Ria de Aveiro lagoon structured the existing data from the point of view of a multiple-effect chain, and it was suggested that seagrasses decline in this coastal system have been mainly due to anthropogenic pressures. In conclusion, this work is a relevant contribution from an ecological-scientific perspective of seagrass meadows in the Ria de Aveiro lagoon, with succinct information potentially useful to be integrated in management tools applied to the overall coastal lagoon.