Workpackage 4: Scenario Analyses and Predictions

Workpackage leader: UG-DDCM

Scenario analyses and prediction forecasts will be performed, using a newly developed multi-criteria decision support system (DSS), here called the ‘4D resource DSS’. The DSS will allow specifying flexible criteria, designed to adequately reflectuser preferences on the different attributes involved in the studies under consideration. Main attributes relate to the integrated data, information and knowledge obtained from WP1, the 3D geological models from WP2 (including their associated uncertainties) and the 4D process models resulting from WP3. Advanced criteria-evaluation techniques will be developed to support the construction of specialized geographical maps of the sea region under investigation. Such maps, hereafter called ‘suitability maps’, reflect the different aspects and environmental impact of potential resource extractions. Geological boundaries, distributions of particular resource qualities, and the resource estimation at various cut-off grades will be calculated in a time-efficient manner. Additionally, the DSS will allow weighing other functions on the BPNS, as available from the Belgian Marine Data Centre: infrastructure (e.g. pipelines; electricity and telecommunication cables; windmills; navigation routes), human activity (e.g. tourism, safety), legal status (e.g. areas reserved for special activities), economical development (e.g. expansion of industries) and available data-sets on ecological value (e.g. BELSPO BWZee, Derous et al. 2007). Users (including decision makers) will be able to evaluate and compare locations or regions from the perspective of their suitability for a selected use. Modelling workflows will be prepared in function of assessing resource sustainability. UG-DDCM is renowned for the computation of such maps, together with developing the flexible criteria for the underlying data and their uncertainty (e.g. Dujmović et al. 2010, De Tré et al. 2010). For the construction of the suitability maps, the ‘Logic Scoring of Preference’ (LSP) technique will be used. For an overview and comparison of state-of-the-art techniques for multi-criteria decision-making, including LSP, see Dujmović & De Tré (2011).

Based on actual and future supplies and needs, long-term adaptive management strategies for the exploitation of geological resources will be provided, following EU recommendations on ‘Efficient use of resources’ (EC COM2011_571) and ICES Guidelines for the management of Marine Sediment Extraction (ICES 2003). ‘Adaptive’ management (sensu Pahl-Wostl 2006) refers to actions that should frame into a systematic process for adaptable and thus continually improving management policies and practices by learning from the outcomes of the implemented management strategies.

Finally, there is scope to propose new concession zones and thresholds for extraction that are legally binding, based on the geological and environmental impact knowledge base. In short, a more transparent and efficient management regime of marine aggregate resources will be proposed, allowing better-informed marine spatial planning and integrated coastal zone management. The transnationally coherent geological knowledge base will be a critical platform for data and knowledge exchange within Europe’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Other workpackages:

WP1: Data, Information to Knowledge WP2: 3D Geological Models WP3: 4D Process Models

Project funding


This project is funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (contract BR/121/A2/TILES)


Belgian Research Action through Interdisciplinary Networks (BRAIN-be)

Project Partners

Active cooperation with


Federal Public Service Economy, SME’s, Self-Employed and Energy (FPS Economy), Continental Shelf Service