The research activity on natural resources is rooted on the need to preserve, conserve marine and terrestrial ecosystems while promoting a sustainable exploitation of good and services they provide, (i.e., freshwater, food, fuels, etc.). Coastal areas are particularly vulnerable systems, because they are relevant in terms of resources, but potentially exposed to the cumulative impacts of pollution and over-exploitation.
Indeed, the assessment of the state of the resources, of the system productivity and carrying capacity and a full understanding of the relationships between resources, environment, exploitation practice and related impacts, are prerequisites for the definition and implementation of a rational and sustainable management of the resources exploitation activities.
OGS research activities focus on the hydrological cycle and water resources, halieutic resources, the implementation of sustainable approach to fishery and aquaculture, mineral resources, and raw material from deep sea. OGS research activity on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning are described in an ad hoc section, because of their importance.
The research activity on natural resources is fully within the research priorities identified in Horizon 2020, namely in Societal Challenge II (Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture, Marine And Maritime Research And The Bio-Economy) and III (Secure, Clean And Efficient Energy).
The management of aquifers, watersheds, and the protection of the quality and reservoirs of fresh water are considered strategic activities to ensure the functionality of the future of the Institute and the sustainability of economic activities. The OGS activities in this area focus on the territory that embraces the cross-border region between Italy and Slovenia, with the aim of obtaining a direct impact on the local society.
The implementation of the ecosystem approach to fishery and aquaculture is one of the main demands that the European society poses to the scientific community in the next decade, and will have a direct and substantial impact on economic activities. Also in this case, OGS activities will impact first on northern Adriatic socio-economic system.
The study of Mineral Resources and Raw Materials in the deep sea is configured as an exploratory activity aimed at improving knowledge in an industry that has enormous potential for embryonic development in the coming decades. The social impact in this area concerns the international legislation with regard to regulation of the exploitation of deep sea resources and their environmental impact.