Habitat Destruction

Habitat damage, destruction or loss occurs when natural events or human actions harm or kill plants and animals that are essential to the habitat’s survival and regeneration. Habitat destruction can take place in any area of the ocean and may have long-lasting or permanent effects if habitat conditions physically or biologically prevent regeneration.

Soft Bottom [Subtidal] Habitats

Soft bottom environments include habitats where the seabed consists of fine grain sediments, mud and sand. Soft bottom habitats vary in terms of biodiversity and productivity, depending upon depth, light exposure, temperature, sediment grain size and abundance of microalgae and bacteria.

Soft bottom is the ocean’s largest habitat, forming the bottom of most of the continental shelves as well as vast expanses at depths of 3,000 to 6,000 m, which cover more than 60 percent of Earth’s surface (Snelgrove 2010; Ausubel et al. 2010). The soft bottom habitat is under environmental stress from various sources, but the most direct ruin is caused by trawler boats gear traction on the sea-bed. 

How was this measured? 
This layer was calculated according to the area of trawl fishing activity, the number of trawling days per year, the dimensions of the trawled ground, biota removal rates, and rehabilitation rates according to Israeli trawl fishery data, and available literature.

Hard Bottom [Subtidal] Habitats

Hard bottom habitats underlie all soft bottoms and include all types of exposed rock or coral and associated flora and fauna. Hard bottom areas are located throughout the ocean, and include the mid-ocean ridge and seamounts, but are more frequently found near the coast. The term “hard bottom” also refers to man-made structures, including jetties and fabricated reefs.

Intertidal Habitats

Intertidal habitats are located between low and high tide lines and can be either soft or hard bottom. The area of an intertidal zone depends upon a given area’s tidal ranges and submarine topography. Exposure in low tide conditions and immersion in high means organisms in these habitats are affected by wave action, cyclic fluctuations of temperature, exposure to air, ambient light, and predation by terrestrial and marine species.
How Was It Measured?
The intertidal habitat destruction proxy measured the coastal population density within 10 km of the coast based upon the assumption that the potential for intertidal habitat destruction was proportional to the density of human population living along the coast.  Population density was extracted from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, 2013 mapping.