In the framework of the APPEAL project, a scientific article has just been published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. It formalises an approach integrating sociology and ecology applied to the study of renewable marine energies, in this case to a floating wind turbines. A first!
The implementation of offshore wind farms (OWF) generates transformations in the ecosystem, but has also repercussions on the social context. Far from being independent, these two systems are in interaction and impact each other. Therefore, it makes sense to study them in an integrated way within a single socio-ecological system.
This is what the APPEAL project strives to achieve. It aims to build a new approach combining natural and social science in order to measure the effects of floating wind turbines on the functioning of coastal socio-ecosystems and to propose tools to help decision-making.
Published on 17 February in Frontiers, the opinion paper details this innovative approach applied to OWF by describing the merits of the Loop Analysis method to quantify the probability of positive, neutral or negative effects resulting from the perturbation of an element of the socio-ecological system.
This approach is promising to model and better take into account the feedback loops between nature and society. The integration of a wind farm is indeed a challenge from a technical, legal, societal and environmental point of view. Interdisciplinarity is therefore essential.
Unique in the context of OWF, the approach developed within the APPEAL project should allow for a better understanding of the complexity of interactions at work and thus better predict the impact of a floating wind farm at several levels: not only on the ecosystem including the species and habitats that are a part of it, but also on the uses of the sea and public decision.