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Integrating environmental gap analysis with spatial conservation prioritization: A case study from Victoria, Australia

Citation Information: Journal of Environmental Management; Volume 112, 15 December 2012, Pages 240–251

Authors: Seyedeh Mahdieh Sharafi, Atte Moilanen, Matt White, Mark Burgman

Abstract: Gap analysis is used to analyse reserve networks and their coverage of biodiversity, thus identifying gaps in biodiversity representation that may be filled by additional conservation measures. Gap analysis has been used to identify priorities for species and habitat types. When it is applied to identify gaps in the coverage of environmental variables, it embodies the assumption that combinations of environmental variables are effective surrogates for biodiversity attributes. The question remains of how to fill gaps in conservation systems efficiently. Conservation prioritization software can identify those areas outside existing conservation areas that contribute to the efficient covering of gaps in biodiversity features. We show how environmental gap analysis can be implemented using high-resolution information about environmental variables and ecosystem condition with the publicly available conservation prioritization software, Zonation. Our method is based on the conversion of combinations of environmental variables into biodiversity features. We also replicated the analysis by using Species Distribution Models (SDMs) as biodiversity features to evaluate the robustness and utility of our environment-based analysis. We apply the technique to a planning case study of the state of Victoria, Australia.

Delivering offshore electricity to the EU: Spatial planning of offshore renewable energies and electricity grid infrastructures in an integrated EU maritime policy

Citation Information: Seanergy 2020, Final project report, May 2012

Authors: EWEA (coordinator), ECN, 3E, CORPI, CRES, LNEG, SOW, UOB

Description: Facilitating offshore renewables – wind, wave and tidal – through marine spatial planning (MSP) is the core objective of the Intelligent Energy Europe funded project Seanergy 2020. Seanergy 2020 does this by formulating and promoting policy recommendations on how to best address and remove MSP obstacles to offshore renewable energy generation, in order to implement the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC). In doing so, it seeks to promote a more integrated and coordinated approach to MSP: that is, an approach that extends beyond national borders. This is particularly important since many human activities as well as ecological concerns at sea have a cross-border dimension. The geographical scope of the Seanergy 2020 project includes the Atlantic Coast and Irish Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the North Sea.

The Seanergy 2020 project has centred its work on three main work packages or phases: firstly, analysis of existing national MSP practices and their impact on offshore renewable deployment, and identification of best practices (work package 2); secondly, analysis of different international MSP instruments and their compatibility with offshore renewable deployment (work package 3); and thirdly, analysis of the challenges and opportunities of moving from a national to a transnational MSP approach (work package 4). This third phase compiles findings and recommendations and draws up the overall project recommendations.

This report represents the final publication of the Seanergy 2020 project and presents findings from each of these three sections or phases of the project as well as overall project recommendations.

Linking temperate demersal fish species to habitat: scales, patterns and future directions

Citation Information: Fish and Fisheries; 7 APR 2012

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-2979.2012.00466.x

Authors: Andrew F Johnson, Stuart R Jenkins, Jan G Hiddink, Hilmar Hinz

Abstract: Adoption of the ecosystem approach to fisheries management relies on recognition of the link between fish and other components of the ecosystem, namely their physical and biological habitat. However, identifying the habitat requirements of marine fishes and hence determining their distribution in space and time is scientifically complex. We analysed the methodologies and findings of research on temperate, demersal fish habitat requirements to highlight the main developments in this field and to identify potential shortfalls. Many studies were undertaken over large spatial scales (≥100s km2) and these generally correlated abundances of fish to abiotic variables. Biological variables were accounted for less often. Small spatial scale (≤m2), experimental studies were comparatively sparse and commonly focused on biotic variables. Whilst the number of studies focusing on abiotic variables increased with increasing spatial scale, the proportion of studies finding significant relationships between habitat and fish distribution remained constant. This mismatch indicates there is no justification for the tendency to analyse abiotic habitat variables at large spatial scales. Innovative modelling techniques and habitat mapping technologies are developing rapidly, providing new insights at the larger spatial scales. However, there is a clear need for a reduction in study scale, or increase in resolution additional to the integration of biotic variables. We argue that development of sound predictive science in the field of demersal fish habitat determination is reliant on a change in focus along these lines. This is especially important if spatial management strategies, such as Marine Protected Areas (MPA) or No Take Zones (NTZ), are to be used in future ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management.

Evaluation through column leaching tests of metal release from contaminated estuarine sediment subject to CO2 leakages from Carbon Capture and Storage sites

Citation Information: Environmental Pollution; Volume 171, December 2012, Pages 174–184

Authors: M. Cruz Payán, Berta Galan, Alberto Coz, Carlo Vandecasteele, Javier R. Viguri

Abstract: The pH change and the release of organic matter and metals from sediment, due to the potential CO2 acidified seawater leakages from a CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) site are presented. Column leaching test is used to simulate a scenario where a flow of acidified seawater is in contact with recent contaminated sediment. The behavior of pH, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and metals As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn, with liquid to solid (L/S) ratio and pH is analyzed. A stepwise strategy using empirical expressions and a geochemical model was conducted to fit experimental release concentrations. Despite the neutralization capacity of the seawater-carbonate rich sediment system, important acidification and releases are expected at local scale at lower pH. The obtained results would be relevant as a line of evidence input of CCS risk assessment, in an International context where strategies to mitigate the climate change would be applied.

Methodologies for measuring and modelling change in coastal saline lagoons under historic and accelerated sea-level rise, Suffolk coast, eastern England

Citation Information: Hydrobiologia; Volume 693, Number 1 (2012), 99-115

DOI: 10.1007/s10750-012-1089-x

Authors: Thomas Spencer and Susan M. Brooks

Abstract: Thorough assessment of vulnerable coastal habitats, impacted by sea-level rise and anthropogenic pressures, requires both the accurate establishment of the evidence base for current status and scientifically-informed forward planning of expected future status. Coastal saline lagoons are transitional, ephemeral habitats of considerable conservation interest; under European legislation their status requires on-going maintenance of ‘favourable status’. Over decadal timescales, the seaward barriers that enclose saline lagoons migrate progressively landwards. Geo-referenced and digitised historic maps and aerial photographs are used to create a detailed trajectory of barrier migration and loss of lagoon area for three saline ‘broads’ on the rapidly retreating coastline of Suffolk, eastern England. The SCAPE shoreline response model is then employed to extend this trajectory, under a range of sea-level rise scenarios, to 2050 and 2095 and to predict saline lagoon ‘time to extinction’. Loss rates are likely to accelerate considerably after 2015 and a fundamental revision of UK saline lagoon creation targets is urgently required. The approach is generic and could be used to assess the evolutionary trajectories for other vulnerable coastal habitats, under a range of near-future environmental change scenarios. 

Estimating confidence of European WFD ecological status class and WISER Bioassessment Uncertainty Guidance Software (WISERBUGS)

Citation Information: Hydrobiologia, 2012

DOI: 10.1007/s10750-012-1245-3

Author: Ralph T. Clarke

Abstract: The Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires estimates of the confidence and precision associated with any scheme for assessing and monitoring the ecological status class of any European rivers, lakes, transitional or coastal waters. This is a complex important issue, especially for waterbody assessments based on multiple metrics and/or two or more taxonomic groups. This paper aims to contribute towards improving understanding and providing practical approaches to assessing confidence of class by (i) discussing the various sources and causes of uncertainty, (ii) using UK rivers macroinvertebrate datasets to illustrate the estimation of replicate, temporal and spatial variance components and the implications for water body metric precision, confidence of class and optimal sampling design, (iii) introducing new freely available general software WISER Bioassessment Uncertainty Guidance Software (WISERBUGS) which uses prior sampling uncertainty estimates with user-specified metrics, class limits and metric combination rules to simulate the joint sampling uncertainty in metric EQR values and provide estimates of confidence of class based on individual metrics, (optionally weighted) multi-metric indices and/or multi-metric classification rules (worst case, mean or median class) based on one or more WFD biological quality elements. 

Natural variability and reference conditions: setting type-specific classification boundaries for lagoon macroinvertebrates in the Mediterranean and Black Seas

Citation Information: Hydrobiologia, 2012

DOI: 10.1007/s10750-012-1273-z

Authors: Alberto Basset, Enrico Barbone, Angel Borja, Michael Elliott, Giovanna Jona-Lasinio, João Carlos Marques, Krysia Mazik, Iñigo Muxika, João Magalhães Neto and Sofia Reizopoulou, et al.

Abstract: The ecological status classification of aquatic ecosystems using biological indices requires a number of steps, including the description and standardisation of the indices’ natural variability. Here, we address this point with reference to selected Mediterranean and Black Sea lagoons, using benthic macroinvertebrates in order to: (i) explore the drivers and extent of the indices’ natural variability; (ii) evaluate lagoon type-specific reference conditions and related classification boundaries; (iii) test the classification strength of the derived boundaries; and, (iv) propose recommendations for optimising ecological status classification. The considered indices showed large variation between and within the reference lagoons on both spatial and temporal scales. Among the tested descriptors of the proposed lagoon typologies, surface area, confinement and water salinity were found to be significant sources of index variability. Type-specific reference conditions and classification boundaries were then defined, improving the accuracy of ecological status assessment. At the lagoon level, classification strength increased up to 100 % in reference (least disturbed) lagoons and up to 83 % in an independent validation set of highly disturbed sites. Nevertheless, a certain degree of uncertainty was still found to affect classification at the study site level. Recommendations concerning the application of the various approaches to type-specific reference conditions and classification boundaries are given. 

Combination of multiple biological quality elements into waterbody assessment of surface waters

Citation Information: Hydrobiologia, 2012

DOI: 10.1007/s10750-012-1274-y

Authors: R. Caroni, W. van de Bund, R. T. Clarke and R. K. Johnson

Abstract: The Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires EU Member States to classify the ecological status of surface waters by using multiple biological quality elements (BQEs). According to the WFD Classification Guidance, a ‘one-out-all-out’ (OOAO) rule should be applied when integrating multiple BQEs into an overall biological status of a waterbody, i.e. classification is determined by the lowest status BQE. Using both simulated and monitoring datasets, we analyzed the effects of different combination rules in classification outcome and classification reliability. The OOAO represented the strictest combination rule in terms of increased probabilities of waterbodies being in moderate or worse status in comparison to other rules. The OOAO approach gave acceptable results when different BQEs were complementary, showing the effects of different pressures, and when level of uncertainty in the metrics used in the assessment was not high. Increasing the number of BQEs used in the assessment affected the classification outcome when using the OOAO approach; this was especially problematic if all BQEs address the same pressure. Our study showed that grouping of metrics and metrics uncertainty has a large influence on classification outcomes and that this should be carefully considered to ensure that final classification adequately reflects ecological status. 

Microalgal plankton composition in shallow coastal inlets in contrasting trophic and alternative community states

Citation Information: Hydrobiologia, 2012

DOI: 10.1007/s10750-012-1284-9

Authors: Matias Scheinin, Conny Sjöqvist and Johanna Mattila

Abstract: As the trophic state of the environment changes, communities develop into divergent states. These community states are conventionally reflected through primary producers, because they are directly affected by nutrient availability. Studies of submerged macrophytes often focus on community composition to decipher the vegetative (community) state of the environment, while planktic microalgae are usually viewed more cursorily. Although microalgal plankton composition has been related to the trophic state of shallow temperate lakes, corresponding qualitative knowledge is lacking for shallow inlets in the sea. We assessed the composition of microalgal plankton in relation to that of submerged macrophytes in shallow inlets in the northern Baltic Sea during one ice-free season. Microalgal plankton composition varied distinctively among inlets in different trophic and vegetative states especially during early and mid-season, before becoming comparably uniform. These patterns were consisted both inside and outside of macrophyte beds and during day and night. Local and diurnal variation was comparably high in eutrophic and charophyte-dominated inlets, but only during early season. Microalgal plankton composition not only reflects the state of littoral communities in varying trophic conditions, but it may also be important for the whole trophic structure of those communities. 

The Systems Approach Framework as a Complementary Methodology of Adaptive Management: a Case Study in the Urban Beaches of Barcelona

Citation Information: Tomlinson, B., S. Sastre, D. Blasco, and J. Guillén. 2011. The systems approach framework as a complementary methodology of adaptive management: a case study in the urban beaches of Barcelona. Ecology and Society 16(4): 28.

Abstract: The Systems Approach Framework is a methodological framework designed to enhance the efficacy of human decision-making processes within social-ecological systems with regard to sustainability. The objective of resilience adaptive management is to either maintain the system within the current regime such that the desired ecosystem goods and services continue to be delivered, or to move the system phase to a preferred regime. Although the objectives of the two frameworks are not exactly the same, there are considerable complementarities between them. Through application of the Systems Approach Framework in a case study regarding the urban beaches of Barcelona, Spain, we present some of the main findings revealed during the model construction and stakeholder participatory process. Additionally, we demonstrate that the Systems Approach Framework could be considered a useful step-by-step methodological guide that employs many of the vital components and processes of adaptive management.

Participatory Social-Ecological Modeling in Eutrophication Management: the Case of Himmerfjärden, Sweden

Citation Information: Franzén, F., G. Kinell, J. Walve, R. Elmgren, and T. Söderqvist 2011. Participatory Social-Ecological Modeling in Eutrophication Management: the case of Himmerfjärden, Sweden. Ecology and Society 16(4): 27.

Abstract: Stakeholder participation is increasingly seen as central in natural resource management. It is also required by the European Union Water Framework Directive, which identifies three levels of participation; information, consultation, and active involvement. In this paper we discuss the active involvement of stakeholders, using our experience from a case study in the Himmerfjärden region, which is a coastal area southwest of Stockholm, Sweden. Our study used the systems approach proposed by the European Union research project called Science and Policy Integration for Coastal System Assessment (SPICOSA), in which local stakeholders and a study site team constructed an integrated simulation model of a crucial coastal management issue. In this case the issue was nitrogen enrichment. We showed how stakeholder participation in the modeling process helped identify interesting and currently relevant management scenarios, and how the modeling process facilitated communication of the likely ecological, economic, and social effects of these scenarios to the stakeholders. In addition, stakeholders also reported social gains in terms of network building. We managed to actively involve local stakeholders in water issues, and the research process clearly strengthened the social capital in the Himmerfjärden region, and created a basis for future collaboration regarding water management. Our experience indicates that the approach we tried is a useful tool for promoting active stakeholder involvement in water management projects. Also, the results of our science and policy integration approach indicated that the study site team assumed a leadership role, which is a commonly recognized factor in successful natural resource management.

Modeling Soft Institutional Change and the Improvement of Freshwater Governance in the Coastal Zone

Citation Information: Mongruel, R., J. Prou, J. Ballé-Béganton, M. Lample, A. Vanhoutte-Brunier, H. Réthoret, J. Pérez Agúndez, F. Vernier, P. Bordenave, and C. Bacher. 2011. Modeling soft institutional change and the improvement of freshwater governance in the coastal zone. Ecology and Society 16(4): 15.

Abstract: The contribution of soft institutional change to improve freshwater governance in the coastal zone will be examined. Freshwater management seeks to reduce losses due to overexploitation of the common-pool resources provided by river catchments and their associated ecosystems. Due to the complexity of the governance system, improving the performance of one coastal social-ecological system means searching for the appropriate “soft” institutional change. In the Pertuis Charentais region, increasing scarcity of freshwater in summer threatens the health of the coastal ecosystem and the sustainability of human activities, which depend on the use of natural resources. The allocation of freshwater among competing uses or concerns is a core issue for integrated coastal zone management. To address this issue, we have constructed an analytical framework that combines the ecosystem services approach with the institutional analysis of common-pool resources, and have developed an integrated simulation tool based on the system dynamic modeling approach. Freshwater scarcity generates three kinds of user conflict: (1) conflict between two extractive uses of freshwater (irrigation and drinking water), (2) conflicts between extractive uses (provisioning services) and other services (support, regulatory, and cultural) provided by freshwater, and (3) competition within a given activity sector (agriculture or shellfish farming). Participation by local managers led to the identification of realistic soft institutional changes that might mitigate conflicts and improve the governance system. These possible institutional changes were then integrated as fixed exogenous parameters in the simulation model. The simulated scenarios suggest that innovative collective arrangements involving farmers could be an alternative to other more restrictive top-down measures. This participatory experiment also illustrates the potential of social-ecological modeling for exploring acceptable new institutional arrangements.

Mussel Production and Water Framework Directive Targets in the Limfjord, Denmark: an Integrated Assessment for Use in System-Based Management

Citation Information: Dinesen, G. E., K. Timmermann, E. Roth, S. Markager, L. Ravn-Jonsen, M. Hjorth, M. Holmer, and J. G. Støttrup. 2011. Mussel production and water framework directive targets in the Limfjord, Denmark: an integrated assessment for use in system-based management. Ecology and Society 16(4): 26.

Abstract: Growth of human activities often conflict with nature conservation requirements and integrated assessments are necessary to build reliable scenarios for management. In the Limfjord, Denmark’s largest estuary, nutrient loading reductions are necessary to fulfill EU regulations criteria, such as the Water Framework Directive (WFD). Cuts in nutrient loadings do not necessarily result in corresponding reductions in eutrophication impacts or in improving primary and higher trophic-level production. Similarly, the socioeconomic consequences of a mussel fishery and aquaculture production are complex and hard to predict. This study focuses on the usefulness of a System Approach Framework (SAF) implementation for stakeholder understanding of complex systems and development of sustainable management. Ecological-social-economic (ESE) model simulations clearly demonstrated the potential problems of WFD implementation for mussel fishers and mussel farmers. Simulation of mussel fishery closures resulted in a tenfold increase in the hitherto fishable mussel biomass and a similar decrease in the biomass of shallow-water mussels and medium-sized ones in deep water. A total closure of the mussel fishery could result in an annual profit loss of ~€6.2 million. Scenario simulation of the introduction of one, two, three, and four mussel culture farms of ~19 ha showed that the introduction of line-mussels would decrease the biomass of wild mussels both in shallow and deep waters, affecting the catch and profit of fishers. The SAF, which included consultation with stakeholders at all stages, differs from the traditional public consultation process in that (1) communication was verbal and multilateral, (2) discussion among stakeholders was facilitated, and (3) stakeholder opinions and priorities formed the focus of the ESE assessment.

Effects of Fishing Tourism in a Coastal Municipality: a Case Study from Risør, Norway

Citation Information: Moksness, E., J. Gjøsæter, G. Lagaillarde, E. Mikkelsen, E. Moland Olsen, H. T. Sandersen, and J. Helge Vølstad. 2011. Effects of fishing tourism in a coastal municipality: a case study from Risør, Norway. Ecology and Society 16(3): 11.

Abstract: Recreational fishing has become an important part of the Norwegian tourist industry. The coastal municipality of Risør, southern Norway, is considering further development of its marine fishing tourism to increase local economic benefits, but they also want to limit negative effects on the local ecosystem and for the inhabitants. We developed an integrated model with ecosystem and socioeconomic components to evaluate these trade-offs. We chose the status of the local cod (Gadus morhua) stock as an indicator of the marine ecosystem condition. Cod is a highly valued species in tourist and recreational fisheries throughout Norway, and also supports an important commercial fishery. Five management scenarios are presented and compared to the status quo. Our research illustrates how an ecosystem model can assist local authorities in making rational coastal zone management decisions. Our study also revealed a lack of management instruments for local authorities to develop natural resource-based tourism in Norway, and thus the need for the municipality to cooperate and coordinate with other management units and levels.

Addressing Sustainability of Clam Farming in the Venice Lagoon

Citation Information: Melaku Canu, D., P. Campostrini, S. Dalla Riva, R. Pastres, L. Pizzo, L. Rossetto, and C. Solidoro. 2011. Addressing sustainability of clam farming in the Venice lagoon. Ecology and Society 16(3): 26.

Abstract: The clam fishing and aquaculture system in the Venice Lagoon still appears insufficiently resilient to buffer external and internal perturbations, such as productivity fluctuations, unregulated fishing, and market related dynamics, despite the efforts of regional and local authorities to achieve the sustainable development.

According to the System Approach Framework (SAF), based on previous studies and stakeholder interactions, we developed a model integrating ecological, social, and economic (ESE) aspects. We chose the aspects necessary to represent the essential dynamics of major ecological, social, and economic clam farming system components to project the consequences of implementing alternative management policies and to address the ecological and social carrying capacity. Results of the simulations suggest that a properly managed farming system can sustain an acceptable income and support the local community, while reducing negative environmental impacts, social conflicts, and consumer health risks and improving system resilience. The results highlight the importance of an interdisciplinary, participatory, and adaptive approach in planning the management of this important renewable resource.

Progress Toward Sustainable Mussel Aquaculture in Mar Piccolo, Italy

Citation Information: Caroppo, C., L. Giordano, N. Palmieri, G. Bellio, A. Paride Bisci, G. Portacci, P. Sclafani, and T. Sawyer Hopkins. 2012. Progress towards sustainable mussel aquaculture in Mar Piccolo, Italy. Ecology and Society 17(3): 10.

Abstract: Mar Piccolo of Taranto is an estuarine basin heavily exploited for commercial mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis L.) farming. The historical renown of the Taranto mussels has suffered over the last decade following policy decisions to expand the mussel farms and to relocate a portion of the urban sewage to an outfall outside of Mar Piccolo. The resulting decline in mussel quality and the quandary of how to restore stability to Taranto mussel production became the focal issue for our application of the systems approach framework (SAF). We simulated the ecological, economic, and social interactions that affect mussel production. Stakeholders and mussel farmers contributed by participating in meetings during the entire exercise. Our simulation analysis provided them with a means for understanding the effects of policy scenarios on the system. We present three aspects from our initial results that demonstrate the value of the SAF, as: (1) an operational model to monitor and better research the status of the ecosystem, (2) a management tool to evaluate sustainable mussel farming strategies, and (3) an opportunity for improved communication with and engagement of stakeholders, policy, and the public. The application has also raised important questions about how the food chain is controlled, what could be changed to stabilize the ecosystem to a higher level of productivity, and what role the public and policy could play in promoting sustainable development.

Nitrogen Source Apportionment for the Catchment, Estuary, and Adjacent Coastal Waters of the River Scheldt

Citation Information: Vermaat, J. E., S. Broekx, B. Van Eck, G. Engelen, F. Hellmann, J. De Kok, H. Van der Kwast, J. Maes, W. Salomons, and W. Van Deursen. 2012. Nitrogen source apportionment for the catchment, estuary, and adjacent coastal waters of the River Scheldt. Ecology and Society 17(2): 30.

Abstract: Using the systems approach framework (SAF), a coupled model suite was developed for simulating land-use decision making in response to nutrient abatement costs and water and nutrient fluxes in the hydrological network of the Scheldt River, and nutrient fluxes in the estuary and adjacent coastal sea. The purpose was to assess the efficiency of different long-term water quality improvement measures in current and future climate and societal settings, targeting nitrogen (N) load reduction. The spatial-dynamic model suite consists of two dynamically linked modules: PCRaster is used for the drainage network and is combined with ExtendSim modules for farming decision making and estuarine N dispersal. Model predictions of annual mean flow and total N concentrations compared well with data available for river and estuary (r² ≥ 0.83). Source apportionment was carried out to societal sectors and administrative regions; both households and agriculture are the major sources of N, with the regions of Flanders and Wallonia contributing most. Load reductions by different measures implemented in the model were comparable (~75% remaining after 30 yr), but costs differed greatly. Increasing domestic sewage connectivity was more effective, at comparatively low cost (47% remaining). The two climate scenarios did not lead to major differences in load compared with the business-as-usual scenario (~88% remaining). Thus, this spatially explicit model of water flow and N fluxes in the Scheldt catchment can be used to compare different long-term policy options for N load reduction to river, estuary, and receiving sea in terms of their effectiveness, cost, and optimal location of implementation.

Zebra Mussel Farming in the Szczecin (Oder) Lagoon: Water-Quality Objectives and Cost-Effectiveness

Citation Information: Schernewski, G., N. Stybel, and T. Neumann. 2012. Zebra mussel farming in the Szczecin (Oder) Lagoon: water-quality objectives and cost-effectiveness. Ecology and Society 17(2): 4.

Abstract: The Oder (Szczecin) Lagoon in the southern Baltic Sea is a heavily eutrophicated and degraded coastal ecosystem. We applied a systems approach framework to critically evaluate whether existing water-management measures achieve water-quality objectives for the river and lagoon systems. Our simulations reveal that the existing water-quality objectives for the river and the coastal waters are not sufficiently complementary. We suggest new water-quality threshold concentrations, which are in agreement with the European Water Framework Directive, and we calculate acceptable maximum nutrient loads for the Oder River. These calculations suggest that external nutrient-load reductions in the river basin alone seem insufficient to achieve good water quality in the lagoon. A comprehensive eutrophication management approach should also include internal nutrient-retention and nutrient-removal measures in the lagoon. We focus on mussel farming, i.e., that of zebra mussels, Dreissena polymorpha, because they are efficient in removing nutrients and improving water transparency in the Oder Lagoon. For this purpose, the ecosystem model ERGOM is extended by a mussel module and an economic model. The economic model describes costs and benefits of mussel cultivation depending on the the farm size. We included additional potential sources of income such as water-quality tax or emission certificates. The simulations show that mussel farming in the lagoon is a suitable supportive measure and, at a load-reduction target of 50% or more, it is a cost-efficient measure for removing nutrients and for implementing the Baltic Sea Action Plan. In the Oder Lagoon, mussel farming could potentially remove nearly 1000 t of N (70 t of P)/year, or about 2% of the present N and P loads, and it would have the additional benefit of improving water transparency.

Aspects of Mussel-Farming Activity in Chalastra, Thermaikos Gulf, Greece: An Effort to Untie a Management Gordian Knot

Citation Information: Konstantinou, Z. I., Y. N. Krestenitis, D. Latinopoulos, K. Pagou, S. Galinou-Mitsoudi and Y. Savvidis 2012. Aspects of mussel-farming activity in Chalastra, Thermaikos Gulf, Greece: an effort to untie a management Gordian Knot Ecology and Society 17(1): 1.

Abstract: Small-scale mussel farming in the coastal area of Chalastra (Thermaikos Gulf, Greece) has faced major problems during the last decade due to environmental limitations and to institutional constraints imposed by the absence of local planning and development policies. The aim of our work was to demonstrate crucial aspects of implementing the Systems Approach Framework (SAF) in the area, and more specifically to explain: (a) the key parts of a bioeconomic model that constitutes the basis of a draft management tool, (b) the results of several investigative scenarios examined through the management tool, and (c) the stakeholders’ feedback through the participative procedures. The goal was to evaluate the effects of the SAF implementation on the communication between scientists, policy makers, and local stakeholders. The scenarios refer to alternative farming techniques and different environmental conditions, and examine the effects of institutional deficiencies in qualitative and quantitative ways, regarding the sustainability of the activity. The selection of the scenarios was directed from the need to provide a dialogue platform between the conflicting stakeholders. The results clearly demonstrate the effects of mussel-farming techniques on mussel production, as well as the impacts of environmental conditions, human decisions, and institutional choices on the regional (and individual) economic welfare. In the bottom line, the value of the SAF is demonstrated through the apprehension of the policy issue, its impacts, and the alternative management perspectives, as well as through the establishment of a multidimensional collaboration group for the area, which is essential for the further development of the management tool and the implementation of an integrated management policy.

A Systems Approach Framework for Coastal Zones

Citation Information: Hopkins , T. S., D. Bailly, and J. G. Støttrup. 2011. A systems approach framework for coastal zones. Ecology and Society 16(4): 25.

Abstract: This Special Feature Volume examines the potential value of the Systems Approach Framework (SAF) as a methodological framework for the transition to sustainable development in coastal zones. This article provides insight on the Systems Approach, the theory behind it, and how its practical application to coastal zone systems (CZSs) was developed. The SAF is about information for management through a focus on how to generate a higher, dynamic level of information about complex CZSs and how to render this information more useful to end users through a participatory suite of communication methods. The SAF is an open research methodology that investigates the function of systems in order to simulate specific issues or questions concerning their function. The research articles that are included in this Volume demonstrate examples of coupled multidisciplinary methods integrated into SAF simulations appropriate to a selected policy issue and to the social-environmental conditions of each Study Site Application. Their findings are not the result of funded research projects; instead, they are by-products of pilot applications conducted to develop and improve the SAF methodology. The final article of this Volume synthesizes these results in the context of the SAF as a higher level instrument for integrated coastal zone management.

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