This is a short guide to governance for protected/conserved areas that briefly summarizes the points in the full-length report, Governance of Protected Areas.
Coral reefs have largely declined across multiple spatial scales due to a combination of local-scale anthropogenic impacts, and due to regional-global climate change. This has resulted in a significant loss of entire coral functional groups, including western Atlantic Staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) biotopes, and in a net decline of coral reef ecosystem resilience, ecological functions, services and benefits. Low-tech coral farming has become one of the most important tools to help restore depleted coral reefs across the Wider Caribbean Region. We tested a community-based, low-tech coral farming approach in Culebra Island, Puerto Rico, aimed at adapting to climate change-related impacts through a two-year project to propagate A. cervicornis under two contrasting fishing management conditions, in coastal areas experimenting significant land use changes. Extreme rainfall events and recurrent tropical storms and hurricanes had major site-and method-specific impacts on project outcome, particularly in areas adjacent to deforested lands and subjected to recurrent impacts from land-based source pollution (LBSP) and runoff. Overall, coral survival rate in “A frame” units improved from 73% during 2011-2012 to 81% during 2012-2013. Coral survival rate improved to 97% in horizontal line nurseries (HLN) incorporated during 2012-2013. Percent tissue cover ranged from 86% to 91% in “A frames”, but reached 98% in HLN. Mean coral skeletal extension was 27 cm/y in “A frames” and 40 cm/y in HLN. These growth rates were up to 545% to 857% faster than previous reports from coral farms from other parts of the Caribbean, and up to 438% faster than wild colonies. Branch production and branchiness index (no. harvestable branches > 6 cm) increased by several orders of magnitude in comparison to the original colonies at the beginning of the project. Coral mortality was associated to hurricane physical impacts and sediment-laden runoff impacts associated to extreme rainfall and deforestation of adjacent lands. This raises a challenging question regarding the impact of chronic high sea surface temperature (SST), in combination with recurrent high nutrient pulses, in fostering increased coral growth at the expense of coral physiological conditions which may compromise corals resistance to disturbance. Achieving successful local management of reefs and adjacent lands is vital to maintain the sustained net production in coral farms and of reef structure, and the provision of the important ecosystem services that they provide. These measures are vital for buying time for reefs while global action on climate change is implemented. Adaptive community-based strategies are critical to strengthen institutional management efforts. But government agencies need to transparently build local trust, empower local stakeholders, and foster co-management to be fully successful. Failing to achieve that could make community-based coral reef rehabilitation more challenging, and could potentially drive rapidly declining, transient coral reefs into the slippery slope to slime.
Ecological network models and analyses are recognized as valuable tools for understanding the dynamics and resiliency of ecosystems, and for informing ecosystem-based approaches to management. However, few databases exist that can provide the life history, demographic and species interaction information necessary to parameterize ecological network models. Faced with the difficulty of synthesizing the information required to construct models for kelp forest ecosystems along the West Coast of North America, we developed an online database (http://kelpforest.ucsc.edu/) to facilitate the collation and dissemination of such information. Many of the database's attributes are novel yet the structure is applicable and adaptable to other ecosystem modeling efforts. Information for each taxonomic unit includes stage-specific life history, demography, and body-size allometries. Species interactions include trophic, competitive, facilitative, and parasitic forms. Each data entry is temporally and spatially explicit. The online data entry interface allows researchers anywhere to contribute and access information. Quality control is facilitated by attributing each entry to unique contributor identities and source citations. The database has proven useful as an archive of species and ecosystem-specific information in the development of several ecological network models, for informing management actions, and for education purposes (e.g., undergraduate and graduate training). To facilitate adaptation of the database by other researches for other ecosystems, the code and technical details on how to customize this database and apply it to other ecosystems are freely available and located at the following link (https://github.com/kelpforest-cameo/databaseui).
Dredged material dumping is one of the most important human activities to be considered in coastal zone management. Searching for a new site for depositing the sediment dredged from the entrance of the navigation channel of Rouen harbour in the Seine estuary is complicated because of the combined natural heritage and anthropogenic constraints. This paper presents the intricate background and the collaborative efforts of the Seine estuary tripartite authority (National Government-Rouen Harbour-Scientific Committee) to initiate an ecosystem approach for managing waste. The selection of a future potential dumping area stems from a consideration of economic and logistic factors, both marine and environmental, as well as various natural and anthropogenic constraints in the complex ecosystem of the Seine estuary. It appears that a site with fine-to-medium clean sand situated offshore from the mouth of the Seine estuary would be a good candidate from the biological and economic points of view. Additional procedures on two experimental sites will be necessary before the French government can give a final decision to authorize the Rouen harbour to exploit this new deposit location.
In fisheries management, social and institutional sustainability factors have proven difficult to incorporate into planning and are often traded off in support of ecological and economic factors. Thus, there has been little support for institutional innovation such as adaptive co-management. The literature on legal pluralism indicates one constraint on innovative institutions. In response, Bavinck and Gupta suggest ‘institutional bricolage’ to bridge underlying value differences. However, value conflicts may prevent institutions from moving towards ‘mutual support’.
While efforts to meet international commitments to counter biodiversity declines by establishing networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) continue, assessments of MPAs rarely take into account measures of effectiveness of different categories of protection, or other design principles (size, spacing, governance considerations). We carried out a meta-analysis of ecological effectiveness of IUCN Categories I–II (no-take), IV and VI (MPAs) compared to unprotected areas. We then applied our ecological effectiveness estimates – the added benefit of marine protection over and above conventional fisheries management – to a gap analysis of existing MPAs, and MPAs proposed by four indigenous groups on the Central Coast of British Columbia, Canada. Additionally, we assessed representation, size, spacing, and governance considerations against MPA design criteria outlined in the literature. We found significant differences in response ratios for IUCN Categories IV and VI MPAs compared to no-take reserves and areas open to fishing, although variability in responses was high. By rescaling the predicted ecological effectiveness ratios (including confidence estimates), we found that, compared to no-take reserves (biodiversity conservation effectiveness 100%) and open fishing areas (0% additional biodiversity contribution over and above conventional fisheries management), IUCN Category IV had a predicted effectiveness score of 60%, ranging between 34% and 89% (95% lower and upper confidence intervals, respectively), and IUCN Category VI had a predicted effectiveness score of 24% (ranging between −12% and 72% for the 95% lower and upper confidence intervals, respectively). We found that the existing MPAs did poorly when compared against most MPA design criteria, whereas the proposed MPA network achieved many of the best practices identified in the literature, and could achieve all if some additional sites were added. By using the Central Coast of British Columbia as a case study, we demonstrated a method for applying empirically-based ecological effectiveness estimates to an assessment of MPA design principles for an existing and proposed network of MPAs.
Growing interest in sustainable seafood has led to the proliferation of third-party certifications and eco-labels. This paper examines the ongoing debate that has surrounded a potential government-operated certification program for federally managed fisheries in the United States. Drawing on an analysis of transcripts from the Marine Fishery Advisory Committee meetings between 2007 and 2014, the paper considers the ways the proposed program was justified and how the multi-year discussion led to recommendations that encourage the National Marine Fisheries Service to create a framework for a certification program based on the principles defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. It is through this discussion that it becomes apparent that sustainability claims extend beyond the scientific domain, making them fruitful grounds for understanding the emergence of policy and how power and legitimacy are negotiated and maintained through the process.
How well do existing ocean observation programs monitor the oceans through space and time? A meta-analysis of ocean observation programs in the Pacific Ocean was carried out to determine where and how key parameters defining the physics, chemistry, and biology of the oceans were measured. The analysis indicates that although the chemistry and physics of the Pacific Ocean are reasonably well monitored, ecological monitoring remains largely ad hoc, patchy, unsystematic, and inconsistent. The California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI), for example, is the only Pacific Ocean program in which the zooplankton and micronekton are resolved to species with consistent time series of greater than 20 years duration. Several studies now indicate massive changes to nearshore, mesopelagic and other fish communities of the southern California Current but available time series do not allow these potential changes to be examined more widely. Firm commitment from the global community to sustained, representative, quantitative marine observations at the species level is required to adequately assess the ecological status of the oceans.
This paper systematically reviews and synthesizes peer-reviewed, English-language scientific publications (n=212) to identify relevant research about how Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EBA) is integrated with coastal planning. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) methodology is applied in this study. Attention was given to studies concerning human-environment interactions as opposed to physical or biological climate change issues alone because the coastal planning and EBA approach addresses the management of human actions in nature. The literature references include the issue of climate change (77%); however, limited evidence of EBA in coastal areas are reported (18%), and it is evident that the issues have become relevant in the scientific literature published in recent years. Broad texts demonstrate that SLR is one of the major long-term impacts (68%), and all of these papers recognize the most affected ecosystems in the tropics would be mangroves. EBA is an emerging option that can offset anticipated ecosystem losses and improve coastal planning to cope with SLR because it provides benefits beyond climate change stressors. There is a need to synthesize a road map for incorporation of mangrove regulations into local planning instruments and for building capacity for their implementation. Application of PRISMA in marine science will enhance future reviews, facilitate the systematic search and adequately document any theme, and also be useful in determining research gaps or information needs.
The University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center (CRC) has launched a new initiative, “Supporting Knowledge Transfer and Strengthening the Marine Spatial Planning Network.” This Program will provide support and skills to the marine spatial planning (MSP) community both in the United States and abroad to help practitioners demonstrate the success and positive impacts of MSP initiatives, improve MSP implementation, and support the integration of MSP techniques and skills into the existing practice of coastal management. CRC has completed an assessment whose purpose is to:
1) Identify opportunities to expand and strengthen the global network of MSP practitioners by identifying support and skills that are needed but not currently being offered to MSP practitioners; and
2) Begin to recognize opportunities to coordinate with organizations currently providing MSP support in order to increase efficiency and opportunity.
The assessment focused on identifying information, tools and techniques practitioners need to implement MSP, and mechanisms for delivering these materials; organizations which could assist in building MSP capacity; and constituencies who need these materials in order to facilitate MSP implementation. These questions were addressed through a comprehensive review of MSP initiatives; in-depth analysis of a small subset of representative MSP cases in the U.S. and Canada; and consultation with a diverse sample of MSP experts.