Selection criteria - HELCOM MPAs


Selection criteria for HELCOM MPAs[1]Definition
Important feeding area for speciesArea where a species reguarly feed, either continuously or seasonally.
Important migration route and resting area for speciesArea used by migratory species for migration, feeding or resting.
Important reproduction area for speciesArea reguarly used for species reproduction or as juvenile nursery grounds.
Threatened or declining habitats based on quantityArea containing a habitat which is endangered, threatened or declining based on the extent of its geographical occurence.
Threatened or declining habitats based on qualityArea containing a habitat which is endangered, threatened or declining based on the quality of the habitat.
Threatened or declining species based on quantityArea containing habitats for the survival and recovery of a species which is endangered, threatened or declining based the extent of its geographical occurence.
Threatened or declining species based on qualityArea containing habitats for the survival and recovery of a species which is endangered, threatened or declining based on the quality of the species.
Rarity of species or habitatsArea contains either (i) rare or endemic species, populations or communities, and/or (ii) rare or distinct habitats.
Sensitivity of species or habitatsArea that contain a relatively high proportion of sensitive biotopes, biotope complexes or species that are functionally fragile (highly susceptible to degradation or depletion by human activity or by natural events) or with slow recovery.
Area with high natural biodiversityArea that contains comparatively higher diversity of ecosystems, habitats, communities, or species, or has higher genetic diversity.
Keystone speciesArea that contains a species which is important for maintaining the resilience of the ecosystem.
Ecologically significant habitatsArea which 1) has comparatively higher natural biological productivity, or where 2) important ecological processes take place, such as connectivity between life-history stages and linkages between areas: trophic interactions, physical transport, physical oceanography, life history of species (dispersal of larvae/spores).
Representative areaDefinition needed, please provide your suggestions to janica.borg@helcom.fi.
Because of geological valuesArea contains rare, unique or representative geological or geomorphological structures or processes.
Because of biological valuesDefinition needed, please provide your suggestions to janica.borg@helcom.fi.
Because of marine valuesDefinition needed, please provide your suggestions to janica.borg@helcom.fi.
Because of terrestrial valuesDefinition needed, please provide your suggestions to janica.borg@helcom.fi.
To protect natural habitat types listed in Habitats Directive Annex ISelf explanatory, no definition needed.
To protect habitats of the species listed in Habitats Directive Annex IISelf explanatory, no definition needed.
To protect special protection areas classified by Member States under the Birds DirectiveSelf explanatory, no definition needed.



[1] The selection criteria are based on Guidelines for Designating Marine and Coastal Baltic Sea Protected Areas (BSPA) and Proposed Protection Categories (2003). They were reviewed and slightly modified by HELCOM MPA Task Group and accepted by the State and Conservation Working Group (Outcome of State and Conservation 3-2015).​