Introduction to theme issue ‘Marine regime shifts around the globe: theory, drivers and impacts’ compiled and edited by Alessandra Conversi, Christian Möllmann, Carl Folke and Martin Edwards.
The use and influence of ecosystem services valuation in management decision-making, particularly as it relates to coastal zone management, remains largely unexplored in the academic literature. A recent Australia-wide survey of decision-makers involved in coastal zone management examined if, how and to what extent economic valuation of coastal and marine ecosystem services is used in, and influences, decision-making in Australia. The survey also identified a set of cases where economic valuation of ecosystem services was used for decision-making, and reasons why economic values may or may not be considered in the decision-making process. This paper details the method and results from this survey. Overall, there is strong empirical evidence that economic valuation of ecosystem services is used, but with important variation across coastal and marine management contexts. However, the impact of ecosystem services valuation on policy appears to be globally weak.
This article provides a historical account of Chinese public policy on fisheries subsidies, and a discussion of problems and limitations resulting from the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round fisheries subsidies negotiation. By analyzing subsidization trends and applying a proportional assessment of subsidized areas, the article tracks the evolvement of Chinese fishery policy objective and priorities. Chinese fishery is not historically significantly subsidized in light of its relatively market-oriented structure and a sustained momentum in reducing marine capture capacity. However, due to the commitment to encouraging qualitative growth and to satisfying a rising domestic demand for fish, the government seeks for adequate policy space to employ fuel, distant water fisheries, infrastructure and various ‘green light’ subsidies. Whether or not such a claim can be accepted as a developmental right not an exception remains to be answered by the revision of current negotiation draft.
Ecosystem-based Adaptation promotes the sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services to adapt to climate change, and has been defended as an effective and cost-efficient way of reducing climate change impacts. In fact, there is a growing recognition of the role that healthy ecosystems play in helping people to adapt to climate change, but Ecosystem-based Adaptation is only starting to be incorporated to policy and its role is so far limited to complement (not substitute) more traditional adaptation measures. This paper reviews recent literature on Ecosystem-based Adaptation and looks for the main reasons for this delay by identifying key areas that need more attention from scientists and policymakers in order to incorporate Ecosystem-based Adaptation into the international climate policy agenda. Main challenges relate to governance structures and participation, how to measure effectiveness, the incorporation of longer-term scales for management, appropriate financial mechanisms, and dealing with climate change and ecosystem science inherent uncertainties.
It is now common for researchers in natural resource management and economics to develop spatial models of recreation demand for the purposes of valuation and planning. Such an approach has significant advantages but requires access to relatively detailed spatial data. In the absence of official data concerning resources, researchers may benefit from employing increasingly available volunteered geographic information (VGI) as a central source of data or to complement more traditional data sources. This paper describes the development of a map of forest recreational resources in Ireland by combining conventional forest cover data and VGI of recreational trails. As an extension the new map is combined with household survey data to explore respondent's ability to identify local recreational forests and models the impact of the characteristics of the closest forest on their annual visitation. The results suggest that VGI can be a useful resource to researchers in both the identification and characterisation of recreational resources. In addition, this paper finds that the distance to and characteristics of the nearest recreational forest has a significant impact on total annual visitation by members of the public.
The giant squid (Architeuthis) has been reported since even before the 16th century, and has recently been observed live in its habitat for the first time. Among the species belonging to this genus, Architeuthis dux has received special attention from biologists. The distribution of this species is poorly understood, as most of our information stems from stranded animals or stomach remains. Predicting the habitat and distribution of this species, and more in general of difficult to observe species, is important from a biological conservation perspective. In this paper, we present an approach to estimate the potential distribution of A. dux at global scale, with relative high resolution (1-degree). Our approach relies on a complex preparation phase, which improves the reliability of presence, absence and environmental data correlated to the species habitat. We compare our distribution with those produced by state-of-the-art approaches (MaxEnt and AquaMaps), and use an expert-drawn map as reference. We demonstrate that our model projection is in agreement with the expert's map and is also compliant with several biological assessments of the species habitat and with recent observations. Furthermore, we show that our approach can be generalized as a paradigm that is applicable to other rare species.
Coastal erosion, besides its various environmental impacts, poses a significant threat to coastal economies where the market for tourism services is a key factor for economic growth. So far, a common practise in evaluating the economic implications of beach erosion is to address the cost of coastal protection measures, abstaining from any revenue losses considerations. The present paper departs from this approach by relating the beach erosion vulnerability with the expected land loss and the relevant value from economic activities. The study employs a combined environmental and economic approach along the geographical space. The value of the eroded beach, capitalized in revenues from tourism business, is estimated through hedonic pricing modelling where the beach value is determined by its width and the tourism business located there. The study aims to provide realistic cost-benefit scenarios for the relevant stakeholders and policymakers so as to prioritize and allocate costs and benefits from a “beach governance” point of view, grounded on the Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) framework. The empirical investigation presented considers the highly touristic coastal city of Rethymnon on the island of Crete as the study area.
U.S. states are increasingly using multi-stakeholder groups to advise on marine aquaculture policy and research development. Such groups typically include some mix of government (e.g., tribal, federal, state, or local) and non-governmental (e.g., private, non-profit, or university) stakeholders. The engagement of such multi-stakeholder groups in the marine aquaculture policy process allows governments to harness the expertise of vested policy stakeholders and ensure that policy solutions are contextually appropriate. Taking stock of the participants in these groups is an important first step in understanding the broader role they play in the aquaculture policy process. In this article, a stakeholder analysis of ten multi-stakeholder groups engaged in aquaculture policy development, referred to as aquaculture partnerships, is conducted based on conceptual guidance from the Advocacy Coalition Framework. In the context of these 10 partnerships, partnerships’ participant compositions as well as inter-sectoral differences relating to (i) aquaculture policy beliefs; (ii) problem perceptions; (iii) resources; (iv) trust perceptions; (v) coordination patterns; and (vi) factors based upon which individuals coordinate with others in their partnerships are identified. Results from the stakeholder analysis show that partnerships have substantial representation from government and non-government policy stakeholders, that leveraging expertise through the collaborative policymaking process is critical, and that even within these multi-stakeholder groups, government actors maintain a critical position.
Coastal freshwater and tidal wetland habitats are being transformed as a result of increasing demand for commercial, residential and tourism activities. The consequence is a habitat seascape complex, comprising a mosaic of natural and engineered coastal features. This study used the freely available mapping tool (Google Earth) to define the extent of coastal engineering structures in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBR; Australia), a marine ecosystem of global biodiversity and cultural significance. Continuing threats to the heritage estate concomitant with expanding urban and industrial developments has raised concerns directed at the future conservation and resilience of the reef ecosystems, along with maintaining expected human lifestyles and livelihoods it provides. The data here shows that break walls and pontoons/jetties dominate development, contributing to approximately 10% (equivalent) of the coastline linear length. Most (60%) development occurs along the coastline or within the first few kilometres upstream along estuaries. While conservation and protection of natural coastal habitats is still preferred for the objective of fisheries production and biodiversity, managers must consider seascape implication/benefits more broadly when approving new marine infrastructure rather than a case-by-case approach which further contributes to an ad hoc mosaic seascape of natural and engineered habitats. Not only within the GBR heritage estate, but more broadly, coastal managers need to regard wider seascape connectivity processes during the assessment of any new development. There is an urgent need for policy and planning instrument reform that is inclusive of accumulative impacts of urban and industrial development in this heritage estate. Opportunities to include eco-friendly (green engineering) solutions, in the repair and revitalisation of existing artificial structures, is necessary in any new proposed urban and industrial development and expansion.
Anthropogenic pressures have led to problems of nutrient over-enrichment and eutrophication in estuarine and coastal systems on a global scale. Recent improvements in farming practices, specifically a decrease in fertiliser application rates, have reduced nutrient loadings in Ireland. In line with national and European Directives, monitoring of Irish estuarine systems has been conducted for the last 30 years, allowing a comparison of the effectiveness of measures undertaken to improve water quality and chemical and biological trends. The Blackwater Estuary, which drains a large agricultural catchment on the south coast of Ireland, has experienced a decrease in calculated nitrogen (N) (17%) and phosphorus (P) (20%) loads in the last decade. Monitored long-term river inputs reflect the reductions while estuarine P concentrations, chlorophyll and dissolved oxygen saturation show concurrent improvement. Consistently high N concentrations suggest a decoupling between N loads and estuarine responses. This highlights the complex interaction between N and P load reductions, and biochemical processes relating to remineralisation and primary production which can alter the effectiveness of the estuarine filter in reducing nutrient transport to the coastal zone. Effective management and reduction of both diffuse and point nutrient sources to surface waters require a consideration of the processes which may alter the effectiveness of measures in estuarine and coastal waters.