Evidence Resources

Syntheses In Progress

What evidence exists for the impact of Baltic Sea ecosystems on human health and well-being? A systematic map protocol



The Baltic Sea ecosystems supply many benefits to society, termed ecosystem services. These depend upon a healthy marine environment requiring marine and relevant land-based policies integrated with public health policies. Until recently marine environment protection policies have largely focussed on human impacts on the environment and have not taken into account impacts of ecosystems on human health beyond the direct impacts of hazardous substances, such as those present in seafood. Whilst endeavours have been made to integrate human health and well-being into marine policies, interviews with key stakeholders through a participatory process revealed that the linkages were not sufficiently strong to inform policymaking. The existing evidence base urgently needs to be identified and synthesised to support relevant policy updates of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) 2008/56/EC and the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) (2007) as well as to help direct future research priorities.


The protocol is based on the primary question, “What linkages have been researched between Baltic Sea ecosystems and the positive and negative impacts to human health and well-being?” Using systematic mapping, this study will identify and map the state and the geographical distribution of the existing research evidence linking human health and well-being with the Baltic Sea ecosystems. The types of ecosystem services supplied by the Baltic Sea and the associated health and well-being impacts will be categorised and presented in a graphical matrix, illustrating ecosystem service type and the types of health and well-being outcomes. The systematic mapping procedure will result in a narrative report published with a searchable database, which will contain a descriptive summary of the information from all of the eligible studies. The systematic map and database will be displayed on the website of the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).


Evidence synthesis, Participatory approach, Systematic map, Policy relevance, HELCOM region, Ecosystem services, Marine and coastal

Who's in the review team?

Joanna Storie
Monika Suškevičs
Mart Külvik
Virpi Lehtoranta
Suvi Vikström
Simo Riikonen
Harri Kuosa
Kristin Kuhn
Soile Oinonen

At what stage is the review?

Review in Progress

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