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  • This map presents the Special Protection Areas (SPAs) with reported breeding areas for birds. The spatial data on Special Protection Areas were gathered from the HELCOM contracting parties by Lund University, Sweden. In the data, the countries also indicated whether the sites were designated mainly due to wintering or breeding birds in the area. For Denmark, the information was obtained from standard forms for Natura 2000 sites. For Denmark, the data was updated after review process 20 February 2017. For Germany, the areas that were reported as “NA”(=information not available) were included in both breeding and wintering area maps. Many of the SPAs are both wintering and breeding areas. For the Baltic Sea Impact Index, the data was converted to 1 km x 1km grid cells.

  • Large shallow inlets bays (according to Habitats Directive Annex I) are large, shallow indentations of the coast, sheltered from wave action and where, in contrast to estuaries, the influence of freshwater is generally limited. The distribution map is based on data submission by HELCOM contracting parties. Most of the submitted data is based on GIS analysis and modelling, but also field inventories and ground-truthing has been carried out in some areas. Data coverage, accuracy and the methods in obtaining the data vary between countries.

  • Sandbanks (according to Habitats Directive Annex I) are areas elevated from their surroundings that consist mainly of sand, but where cobbles and boulders can occur. Distribution map is based on data submission by HELCOM contracting parties. Most of the submitted data is based on modelling, GIS analysis and only limited ground-truthing has been carried out. Data coverage, accuracy and the methods in obtaining the data vary between countries.

  • Reefs (according to Habitats Directive Annex I) are hard compact substrata (either biogenic or geogenic) on solid and soft bottoms, which arise from the seafloor in the sublittoral and littoral zone. Distribution of mapped Natura 2000 habitat “Reefs” based on data submission by HELCOM contracting parties. Most of the submitted data is based on modelling and limited ground-truthing. Data coverage, accuracy and the methods in obtaining the data vary between countries.

  • Submarine structures made by leaking gases (according to Habitats Directive Annex I) are also known as “bubbling reefs”. These formations support a zonation of diverse benthic communities consisting of algae and/or invertebrate specialists of hard marine substrates different to that of the surrounding habitat. The distribution map is based on data submission by HELCOM contracting parties. Only Sweden and Denmark reported occurrences of submarine structures made by leaking gases.

  • Lagoons are expanses of shallow coastal waters, wholly or partially separated from the sea by sandbanks or shingle, or by rocks. Salinity may vary from brackish water to hypersalinity depending on rainfall, evaporation and addition of fresh seawater from storms, temporary flooding, or tidal exchange. The distribution map is based on data submission by HELCOM contracting parties. Most of the submitted data is based on modelling and/or GIS analysis. Data coverage, accuracy and the methods in obtaining the data vary between countries.

  • The maps of herring and sprat relative abundance are based on the Baltic International acoustic surveys (BIAS), years 2016-2020 (ICES WGBIFS reports), reported as millions of fish / ICES rectangle.

  • Estuaries (according to Habitats Directive Annex I) are coastal inlets that are strongly influenced by freshwater. The distribution map is based on data submission by HELCOM contracting parties. Most of the submitted data is based on modelling, GIS analysis and/or aerial photos. Data coverage, accuracy and the methods in obtaining the data vary between countries.

  • Boreal Baltic islets and small islands (according to Habitats Directive Annex I) are groups of skerries, islets or single small islands, mainly in the outer archipelago or offshore areas. They are important nesting sites for birds and resting sites for seals. The surrounding sublittoral vegetation is also included. The distribution map is based on data submission by HELCOM contracting parties. Only Sweden and Finland reported occurrences of boreal Baltic islets and small islands.

  • The maps are the result of a compilation of the data submitted by HELCOM contracting parties to the data call for HOLAS 3. Most of the submitted data is based on modeling, GIS analysis, and only limited ground-truthing has been carried out. Original vector data was transformed to 1x1km grid raster. Data coverage, accuracy and the methods of obtaining the data vary between countries. Data were reported by Denmark, Germany, Estonia and Finland. The dataset contains the compilation of the EU Habitat Directive marine habitat types in the Baltic Sea: - Sandbanks (1110) - Estuaries (1130) - Mudflats and sandflats (1140) - Coastal lagoons (1150) - Large shallow inlets and bays (1160) - Reefs (1170) - Baltic Esker islands (1610) - Submarine structures made by leaking gas (1180) - Boreal Baltic islets and small islands (1620)