Nonstructural coastal risk mitigation options that deal with society-centered instruments have the potential to contribute jointly to coastal settlement safety through vulnerability reduction and resilience enhancement. The paradigmatic characteristics of vulnerability reduction approaches and resilience enhancement approaches are described. Thereafter, vulnerability reduction measures associated with the use of insurance-based, land use planning-based, business recovery plan-based, communication plan-based, postflood management-based, and evacuation plan-based approaches are presented in terms of guidelines for implementation. Resiliency analysis of these approaches is conducted in parallel. This analysis leads to additional recommendations for implementing specific risk-reducing measures. The authors conclude by stressing the importance of three overarching characteristics of nonstructural mitigation options. The first element that is central to all options lies in the need to adopt approaches that mobilize stakeholders in the implementation process. The second element that is central to all nonstructural mitigation options is the fact that they increase safety through a direct reduction in the consequences of flooding. A third element that nonstructural mitigation options share is the obvious fact that they interact strongly, showing the potential to transcend the sum of their individual contributions.
Natural coastal habitats play an important role in protecting coastal areas from sea water flooding caused by storm surge events. Many of these habitats, however, have been lost completely or degraded, reducing their ability to function as a natural flood defense. Once degraded, natural habitats can potently be destroyed by storm events, further threatening these systems. Much of the loss of coastal habitats is caused by increased human activity in coastal areas and through land claimed for urban, industrial, or agricultural use. As a result, some coastal habitats have become rare and threatened across much of Europe and the world. An associated problem is that of sea level rise, which has the combined impact of both increasing the risk of flooding in coastal ecosystems and increasing the severity of storm surge events. This chapter addresses two key topics: (1) the use of natural habitats as a form of coastal defense focusing on the required management and how to restore and/or create them and (2) ecological considerations in the design of hard coastal defense structures. The habitats that play a role in coastal deface and considered here are: (1) saltmarshes, (2) sand dunes, (3) seagrass meadows, and (4) biogenic reefs, including Sabellaria reefs, oyster beds, and mussel beds. As part of coastal habitat restoration and management, the process of saltmarsh creation, either through seaward extension or managed realignment is discussed focusing on potential benefits. Finally, key cumulative stressors that can hinder ecological approaches to coastal risk mitigation are reviewed.
It is increasingly recognized that a comprehensive understanding of the existing flood system is necessary to effectively manage coastal flood risk. This involves consideration of the social and ecological dimensions in addition to the hydrological aspects that have been the traditional focus of flood analysis. Social aspects are important, as they represent both the reason for flood management and the growth in exposure, as well as providing the context within which any decision will be made. Coastal species and habitats are inherently important for the flood management ecosystem services that they provide for flood management. The flood flow, depth, and extent determine the potential for flood damage. The conceptual model adopted here for coastal risk assessment is based on the Source-Pathway-Receptor-Consequence model, which is a simple linear conceptual model for representing flood systems and processes that lead to a particular flooding consequence. This approach is being used to evaluate how the Sources (waves, tides, storm surge, mean sea level, river discharge, run-off), through the Pathways (including coastal defenses), affect the Receptors (inland system), generating economic, social, and environmental Consequences. Collectively, this more holistic analysis of the flood system can identify likely trends in flood risk and the wide range of potential mitigation options embracing engineering, ecological, or socioeconomic measures, including hybrid combined approaches.
Protected area management agencies are increasingly using management effectiveness evaluation (MEE) to better understand, learn from and improve conservation efforts around the globe. Outcome assessment is the final stage of MEE, where conservation outcomes are measured to determine whether management objectives are being achieved. When quantitative monitoring data are available, best-practice examples of outcome assessments demonstrate that data should be assessed against quantitative condition categories. Such assessments enable more transparent and repeatable integration of monitoring data into MEE, which can promote evidence-based management and improve public accountability and reporting. We interviewed key informants from marine protected area (MPA) management agencies to investigate how scientific data sources, especially long-term biological monitoring data, are currently informing conservation management. Our study revealed that even when long-term monitoring results are available, management agencies are not using them for quantitative condition assessment in MEE. Instead, many agencies conduct qualitative condition assessments, where monitoring results are interpreted using expert judgment only. Whilst we found substantial evidence for the use of long-term monitoring data in the evidence-based management of MPAs, MEE is rarely the sole mechanism that facilitates the knowledge transfer of scientific evidence to management action. This suggests that the first goal of MEE (to enable environmental accountability and reporting) is being achieved, but the second and arguably more important goal of facilitating evidence-based management is not. Given that many MEE approaches are in their infancy, recommendations are made to assist management agencies realize the full potential of long-term quantitative monitoring data for protected area evaluation and evidence-based management.
Stochastic variability of biological processes and uncertainty of stock properties compel fisheries managers to look for tools to improve control over the stock. Inspired by animals exploiting hidden prey, we have taken a biomimetic approach combining catch and effort in a concept of Bayesian regulation (BR). The BR provides a real-time Bayesian stock estimate, and can operate without separate stock assessment. We compared the performance of BR with catch-only regulation (CR), alternatively operating with N-target (the stock size giving maximum sustainable yield, MSY) and F-target (the fishing mortality giving MSY) on a stock model of Baltic Sea herring. N-targeted BR gave 3% higher yields than F-targeted BR and CR, and 7% higher yields than N-targeted CR. The BRs reduced coefficient of variance (CV) in fishing mortality compared to CR by 99.6% (from 25.2 to 0.1) when operated with F-target, and by about 80% (from 158.4 to 68.4/70.1 depending on how the prior is set) in stock size when operated with N-target. Even though F-targeted fishery reduced CV in pre-harvest stock size by 19–22%, it increased the dominant period length of population fluctuations from 20 to 60–80 years. In contrast, N-targeted BR made the periodic variation more similar to white noise. We discuss the conditions when BRs can be suitable tools to achieve sustainable yields while minimizing undesirable fluctuations in stock size or fishing effort.
The Barents Sea system is often depicted as a simple food web in terms of number of dominant feeding links. The most conspicuous feeding link is between the Northeast Arctic cod Gadus morhua, the world's largest cod stock which is presently at a historical high level, and capelin Mallotus villosus. The system also holds diverse seabird and marine mammal communities. Previous diet studies may suggest that these top predators (cod, bird and sea mammals) compete for food particularly with respect to pelagic fish such as capelin and juvenile herring (Clupea harengus), and krill. In this paper we explored the diet of some Barents Sea top predators (cod, Black-legged kittiwake Rissa tridactyla, Common guillemot Uria aalge, and Minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata). We developed a GAM modelling approach to analyse the temporal variation diet composition within and between predators, to explore intra- and inter-specific interactions. The GAM models demonstrated that the seabird diet is temperature dependent while the diet of Minke whale and cod is prey dependent; Minke whale and cod diets depend on the abundance of herring and capelin, respectively. There was significant diet overlap between cod and Minke whale, and between kittiwake and guillemot. In general, the diet overlap between predators increased with changes in herring and krill abundances. The diet overlap models developed in this study may help to identify inter-specific interactions and their dynamics that potentially affect the stocks targeted by fisheries.
Recently, attempts to improve decision making in species management have focussed on uncertainties associated with modelling temporal fluctuations in populations. Reducing model uncertainty is challenging; while larger samples improve estimation of species trajectories and reduce statistical errors, they typically amplify variability in observed trajectories. In particular, traditional modelling approaches aimed at estimating population trajectories usually do not account well for nonlinearities and uncertainties associated with multi-scale observations characteristic of large spatio-temporal surveys. We present a Bayesian semi-parametric hierarchical model for simultaneously quantifying uncertainties associated with model structure and parameters, and scale-specific variability over time. We estimate uncertainty across a four-tiered spatial hierarchy of coral cover from the Great Barrier Reef. Coral variability is well described; however, our results show that, in the absence of additional model specifications, conclusions regarding coral trajectories become highly uncertain when considering multiple reefs, suggesting that management should focus more at the scale of individual reefs. The approach presented facilitates the description and estimation of population trajectories and associated uncertainties when variability cannot be attributed to specific causes and origins. We argue that our model can unlock value contained in large-scale datasets, provide guidance for understanding sources of uncertainty, and support better informed decision making.
Outbreaks of coral diseases are one of the greatest threats to reef corals in the Caribbean, yet the mechanisms that lead to coral diseases are still largely unknown. Here we examined the spatial-temporal dynamics of white-pox disease on Acropora palmata coral colonies of known genotypes. We took a Bayesian approach, using Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation algorithms, to examine which covariates influenced the presence of white-pox disease over seven years. We showed that colony size, genetic susceptibility of the coral host, and high-water temperatures were the primary tested variables that were positively associated with the presence of white-pox disease on A. palmata colonies. Our study also showed that neither distance from previously diseased individuals, nor colony location, influenced the dynamics of white-pox disease. These results suggest that white-pox disease was most likely a consequence of anomalously high water temperatures that selectively compromised the oldest colonies and the most susceptible coral genotypes.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an important ecosystem-based management approach to help improve the sustainability of the spiny lobster fishery (Panulirus argus), but information is lacking concerning levels of lobster population connectivity among MPAs. Given their prolonged (~6 months) pelagic larval duration, population connectivity must be considered in any spatial management plan for P. argus. We used genetic techniques to uncover spatial patterns of connectivity among MPAs along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (MBRS) of Central America. We hypothesized that connectivity would be greater and genetic differentiation diminished among lobster populations within MPAs in the southern MBRS, which is dominated by a retentive oceanographic environment, as compared to MPAs in the more advective environment further north. We found that levels of connectivity are high among spiny lobster populations residing in MPAs in Central America, although overall F ST was low (F ST = 0.00013) but significant (P = 0.037). MPAs in the northern MBRS contained significantly more individuals that were genetically determined outliers or migrants than southern MPAs (P = 0.008, R 2 = 0.61), which may have contributed to the higher levels of genetic differentiation observed in northern MPAs. Direct genetic testing of larvae and adults will be required to confirm this hypothesis. The high level of connectivity among MPAs provides additional evidence of the importance of international cooperation in the management of Caribbean lobster fisheries. However, uncertainty regarding the ecological and physical drivers of genetic differentiation in Northern MPAs implies that managers should hedge against uncertainty.
In general, tourism plays a significant role in the economy of archipelagos and islands. The Autonomous Region of the Azores has a great potential for tourism, offering multiple attractions, both natural and cultural, creating a big challenge for a sustainable tourism policy since little attention has been paid to the archipelagos and their special needs. This work aims to understand the profile and type of ecotourist that visits the Azores. This knowledge is of great importance for a better management and development of nature-based tourism, and products tailored to the needs and expectations of visitors. The data were collected by means of exit surveys conducted at the Airport of São Miguel Island, the larger and most populated island of the archipelago, during the high tourist season—July–September 2009. The analysis of the visitor’s profile and preferences is crucial to draw adequate strategies of management for tourism, while it helps to adequate the offer to the demand. Results showed that 41.1 % of the tourists claimed to be attracted to the islands due to their “natural values” (e.g., landscape, biodiversity, and geodiversity). The most practiced activities were whale-watching (32.4 %) and mountaineering/hiking (31.6 %), followed by diving (7 %) and other sports (5.1 %). The tourists’ profile points to a mainstream, soft, and incidental type of ecotourist. This information helps to develop and support a strategic planning and management, both at local and regional levels, for sustainable tourism policies.
Coral reefs and their societal benefits are in decline, chiefly due to overfishing, pollution and inappropriate coastal development. Strengthened management is possible, but collective failure to build the needed political will to act diminishes lives of millions of people along tropical coasts. Political will can be built, but it requires committed leadership and sustained investment of time and resources. Accepting failure as inevitable is inappropriate.
Increasing anthropogenic pressure in the offshore marine environment highlights the need for improved management and conservation of offshore ecosystems. This study scrutinises the applicability of a discrete choice experiment to value the expected benefits arising from the conservation of an offshore sandbank in UK waters. The valuation scenario refers to the UK part of the Dogger Bank, in the southern North Sea, and is based on real-world management options for fisheries, wind farms and marine protection currently under discussion for the site. It is assessed to what extent the general public perceive and value conservation benefits arising from an offshore marine protected area. The survey reveals support for marine conservation measures despite the general public's limited prior knowledge of current marine planning. Results further show significant values for an increase in species diversity, the protection of certain charismatic species and a restriction in the spread of invasive species across the site. Implications for policy and management with respect to commercial fishing, wind farm construction and nature conservation are discussed.
With globalization, agriculture and aquaculture activities are increasingly affected by diseases that are spread through movement of crops and stock. Such movements are also associated with the introduction of non-native species via hitchhiking individual organisms. The oyster industry, one of the most important forms of marine aquaculture, embodies these issues. In Europe disease outbreaks affecting cultivated populations of the naturalized oyster Crassostrea gigas caused a major disruption of production in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Mitigation procedures involved massive imports of stock from the species’ native range in the northwestern Pacific from 1971 to 1977. We assessed the role stock imports played in the introduction of non-native marine species (including pathogens) from the northwestern Pacific to Europe through a methodological and critical appraisal of record data. The discovery rate of non-native species (a proxy for the introduction rate) from 1966 to 2012 suggests a continuous vector activity over the entire period. Disease outbreaks that have been affecting oyster production since 2008 may be a result of imports from the northwestern Pacific, and such imports are again being considered as an answer to the crisis. Although successful as a remedy in the short and medium terms, such translocations may bring new diseases that may trigger yet more imports (self-reinforcing or positive feedback loop) and lead to the introduction of more hitchhikers. Although there is a legal framework to prevent or reduce these introductions, existing procedures should be improved.
Integrated coastal management (ICM) has attracted attention in Vietnam since the Summit of Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 1992 (Rio-92) and was first analyzed in the national project on “Research on development of ICM plan in Vietnam to ensure ecological security and to protect the environment” (1996-2000). And marine spatial planning (MSP) is a new concept that promotes sustainable coastal and marine management and assists in the integration of economic, environmental and social concerns in strategic planning and long-term investments. MSP can improve coastal resilience in Vietnam that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and sea level rise. This document informed policy-makers about ICM, MSP and the difference between these measures. Additionally, it outlines ICM and MSP application, recent projects, programs and recommendation for ICM and MSP implementation in Vietnam.
Originally conceived to conserve iconic landscapes and wildlife, protected areas are now expected to achieve an increasingly diverse set of conservation, social and economic objectives. The amount of land and sea designated as formally protected has markedly increased over the past century, but there is still a major shortfall in political commitments to enhance the coverage and effectiveness of protected areas. Financial support for protected areas is dwarfed by the benefits that they provide, but these returns depend on effective management. A step change involving increased recognition, funding, planning and enforcement is urgently needed if protected areas are going to fulfil their potential.
The United States has a new national ocean policy that adopts ecosystem-based management (EBM) as its first principle for managing U.S. ocean spaces and marine resources. However, U.S. laws that govern the uses of ocean spaces present a challenging tangle of authorities and mandates that do not easily facilitate ecosystem-based policies. For over 30 years, U.S. marine fisheries management has been guided by eight Regional Fishery Management Councils. Working under the many laws that guide setting stewardship priorities for ocean ecosystems, councils provide the Federal Government with advice on fisheries harvest levels, fish habitat protections, and fishing community needs. Implementing EBM for any ocean ecosystem requires a careful examination of the laws and policy processes that affect human interaction with that ecosystem. This article explores the U.S. perspective on federal ecosystem-based fisheries management, its part in U.S. national ocean policy, and how fishery management councils might position themselves as both EBM policymakers and policy takers for ocean resource management.
Interactive sea level rise viewers (ISLRVs) are map-based visualization tools that display projections of sea level rise scenarios to communicate their impacts on coastal areas. Information visualization research suggests that as users interact with such tools they construct personalized narratives of their experience. We argue that attention to narrative-building features in ISLRVs can improve communication effectiveness by promoting user engagement and discovery. A content analysis that focuses on the presence and characteristics of narrative-building features in a purposive sample of 20 ISLRVs is conducted. We also identify particular areas where these ISLRVs could be improved as narrative-building tools.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are implemented worldwide as an efficient tool to preserve biodiversity and protect ecosystems. We used food web models (Ecopath and EcoTroph) to assess the ability of MPAs to reduce fishing impacts on targeted resources and to provide biomass exports for adjacent fisheries. Three coastal MPAs: Bonifacio and Port-Cros (Mediterranean Sea), and Bamboung (Senegalese coast), were used as case studies. Pre-existing related Ecopath models were homogenized and ecosystem characteristics were compared based on network indices and trophic spectra analyses. Using the EcoTroph model, we simulated different fishing mortality scenarios and assessed fishing impacts on the three ecosystems. Lastly, the potential biomass that could be exported from each MPA was estimated. Despite structural and functional trophic differences, the three MPAs showed similar patterns of resistance to simulated fishing mortalities, with the Bonifacio case study exhibiting the highest potential catches and a slightly inferior resistance to fishing. We also show that the potential exports from our small size MPAs are limited and thus may only benefit local fishing activities. Based on simulations, their potential exports were estimated to be at the same order of magnitude as the amount of catch that could have been obtained inside the reserve. In Port Cros, the ban of fishing inside MPA could actually allow for improved catch yields outside the MPA due to biomass exports. This was not the case for the Bonifacio site, as its potential exports were too low to offset catch losses. This insight suggests the need for MPA networks and/or sufficiently large MPAs to effectively protect juveniles and adults and provide important exports. Finally, we discuss the effects of MPAs on fisheries that were not considered in food web models, and conclude by suggesting possible improvements in the analysis of MPA efficiency.
Protection of natural environments sought through management plans varies greatly between countries; characterizing these differences and what motivates them can inform future regional and international conservation efforts. This research builds on previous work addressing the spatial distribution of marine protected areas in the Mediterranean Sea. Particularly, it examines the relationship between a “protection level” (PL) score and a set of variables pertaining to each country's conservation efforts, economic conditions, and human impact along the coast using regression analysis. Four sets of models demonstrated country characteristics that correlate with higher protection levels within marine protected areas (MPAs). Certain contextual factors - economic dependence on the marine environment, efforts at terrestrial conservation and greater human impact - were found to be significantly associated with higher PLs among the northern littoral countries of the Mediterranean. Such findings can inform policy makers about where efforts and investments should be directed for marine conservation.
Estimating the value of entire ecosystems in monetary units is difficult because they are complex systems composed of non-linear, interdependent components and the value of the services they produce are interdependent and overlapping. Using the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) as a case study, this paper explores a new ‘whole ecosystem’ approach to assessing both the importance (to overall quality of life) and the monetary value of various community-defined benefits, some of which align with various ecosystem services. We find that provisioning services are considered, by residents, to be less important to their overall quality of life than other ecosystem services. But our analysis suggests that many community-defined benefits are overlapping. Using statistical techniques to identify and control for these overlapping benefits, we estimate that the collective monetary value of a broad range of services provided by the GBR is likely to be between $15 billion and $20 billion AUS per annum. We acknowledge the limitations of our methods and estimates but show how they highlight the importance of the problem, and open up promising avenues for further research. With further refinement and development, radically different ‘whole ecosystem’ valuation approaches like these may eventually become viable alternatives to the more common additive approaches.