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Science for ecosystem-based management: Narragansett Bay in the 21st century

Citation Information: 2008; New York, NY: Springer Science+Business Media, LLC; Springer Series on Environmental Management (ISSN 0172-6161)

ISBN: 0387352988

Editors: Alan Desbonnet, Barry A Costa-Pierce

Summary: In the U.S., approximately two-thirds of the coastal rivers and bays are moderately to severely degraded from nutrient pollution. The contributors to this book use long-term data sets to discuss the interactions among biological, ecological, chemical, and physical processes, and discuss what is known about nutrient inputs to the bay ecosystem, the impacts related to nutrient inputs, and how the ecosystem might respond to a sudden reduction in these inputs.

Ecosystem Services as a Common Language for Coastal Ecosystem-Based Management

Citation Information: Conservation biology; 2010 Feb., v. 24, no. 1

Authors: GRANEK, ELISE F.; POLASKY, STEPHEN; KAPPEL, CARRIE V.; REED, DENISE J.; STOMS, DAVID M.; KOCH, EVAMARIA W.; KENNEDY, CHRIS J.; CRAMER, LORI A.; HACKER, SALLY D.; BARBIER, EDWARD B.; ASWANI, SHANKAR; RUCKELSHAUS, MARY; PERILLO, GERARDO M.E.; SILLIMAN, BRIAN R.; MUTHIGA, NYAWIRA; BAEL, DAVID; WOLANSKI, ERIC

Abstract: Ecosystem-based management is logistically and politically challenging because ecosystems are inherently complex and management decisions affect a multitude of groups. Coastal ecosystems, which lie at the interface between marine and terrestrial ecosystems and provide an array of ecosystem services to different groups, aptly illustrate these challenges. Successful ecosystem-based management of coastal ecosystems requires incorporating scientific information and the knowledge and views of interested parties into the decision-making process. Estimating the provision of ecosystem services under alternative management schemes offers a systematic way to incorporate biogeophysical and socioeconomic information and the views of individuals and groups in the policy and management process. Employing ecosystem services as a common language to improve the process of ecosystem-based management presents both benefits and difficulties. Benefits include a transparent method for assessing trade-offs associated with management alternatives, a common set of facts and common currency on which to base negotiations, and improved communication among groups with competing interests or differing worldviews. Yet challenges to this approach remain, including predicting how human interventions will affect ecosystems, how such changes will affect the provision of ecosystem services, and how changes in service provision will affect the welfare of different groups in society. In a case study from Puget Sound, Washington, we illustrate the potential of applying ecosystem services as a common language for ecosystem-based management.

Ecosystem-based management for the oceans

Citation Information: 368 pp.; ISBN 978 1 59726 155 5; paperback; Washington, DC, USA/London, UK: Island Press, 2009

Editors: KAREN MCLEOD AND HEATHER LESLIE

Description: Conventional management approaches cannot meet the challenges faced by ocean and coastal ecosystems today. Consequently, national and international bodies have called for a shift toward more comprehensive ecosystem-based marine management. Synthesizing a vast amount of current knowledge,Ecosystem-Based Management for the Oceans is a comprehensive guide to utilizing this promising new approach.

At its core, ecosystem-based management (EBM) is about acknowledging connections. Instead of focusing on the impacts of single activities on the delivery of individual ecosystem services, EBM focuses on the array of services that we receive from marine systems, the interactive and cumulative effects of multiple human activities on these coupled ecological and social systems, and the importance of working towards common goals across sectors. Ecosystem-Based Management for the Oceans provides a conceptual framework for students and professionals who want to understand and utilize this powerful approach. And it employs case studies that draw on the experiences of EBM practitioners to demonstrate how EBM principles can be applied to real-world problems.

The book emphasizes the importance of understanding the factors that contribute to social and ecological resilience —the extent to which a system can maintain its structure, function, and identity in the face of disturbance. Utilizing the resilience framework, professionals can better predict how systems will respond to a variety of disturbances, as well as to a range of management alternatives. Ecosystem-Based Management for the Oceans presents the latest science of resilience, while it provides tools for the design and implementation of responsive EBM solutions.

Top 10 List: 
Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM)

Challenges to interdisciplinary research in ecosystem-based management

Citation Information: Conserv Biol. 2012 Apr;26(2):315-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2011.01808.x. Epub 2012 Jan 19

Authors: Sievanen L, Campbell LM, Leslie HM.

Abstract: Despite its necessity, integration of natural and social sciences to inform conservation efforts has been difficult. We examined the views of 63 scientists and practitioners involved in marine management in Mexico's Gulf of California, the central California coast, and the western Pacific on the challenges associated with integrating social science into research efforts that support ecosystem-based management (EBM) in marine systems. We used a semistructured interview format. Questions focused on how EBM was developed for these sites and how contextual factors affected its development and outcomes. Many of the traditional challenges linked with interdisciplinary research were present in the EBM projects we studied. However, a number of contextual elements affected how mandates to include social science were interpreted and implemented as well as how easily challenges could be addressed. For example, a common challenge is that conservation organizations are often dominated by natural scientists, but for some projects it was easier to address this imbalance than for others. We also found that the management and institutional histories that came before EBM in specific cases were important features of local context. Because challenges differed among cases, we believe resolving challenges to interdisciplinary research should be context specific.

A Methodology for Evaluating and Ranking Water Quantity Indicators in Support of Ecosystem-Based Management

Citation Information: Environmental Management; Volume 49, Number 3 (2012), 703-719

DOI: 10.1007/s00267-012-9808-7

Authors: C. Andrew James, Jessi Kershner, Jameal Samhouri, Sandra O’Neill and Phillip S. Levin

Abstract: Ecosystem-based Management (EBM) is an approach that includes different management priorities and requires a balance between anthropogenic and ecological resource demands. Indicators can be used to monitor ecosystem status and trends, and assess whether projects and/or programs are leading to the achievement of management goals. As such, the careful selection of a suite of indicators is a crucial exercise. In this paper we describe an indicator evaluation and selection process designed to support the EBM approach in Puget Sound. The first step in this process was the development of a general framework for selecting indicators. The framework, designed to transparently include both scientific and policy considerations into the selection and evaluation process, was developed and then utilized in the organization and determination of a preliminary set of indicators. Next, the indicators were assessed against a set of nineteen distinct criteria that describe the model characteristics of an indicator. A literature review was performed for each indicator to determine the extent to which it satisfied each of the evaluation criteria. The result of each literature review was summarized in a numerical matrix, allowing comparison, and demonstrating the extent of scientific reliability. Finally, an approach for ranking indicators was developed to explore the effects of intended purpose on indicator selection. We identified several sets of scientifically valid and policy-relevant indicators that included metrics such as annual-7 day low flow and water system reliability, which are supportive of the EBM approach in the Puget Sound.

Advances in marine conservation: the role of marine protected areas

Citation Information: Trends in Ecology & Evolution; Volume 9, Issue 7, July 1994, Pages 267–270

Author: M. Tundi Agardy

Abstract: The world's oceans are now attracting the serious attention of conservationists. Paradoxically, as the value of marine biological diversity is recognized, the ecosystems that harbor this diversity are fast becoming degraded. New thinking about how to conserve coastal areas has resulted in protected-area models that incorporate principles of landscape ecology, adaptive and ecosystem management, and zoning in protected-area plans.

Guiding ecological principles for marine spatial planning

Citation Information: Marine Policy; Volume 34, Issue 5, September 2010, Pages 955–966

Authors: Melissa M. Foley; Benjamin S. Halpern; Fiorenza Micheli; Matthew H. Armsby; Margaret R. Caldwell; Caitlin M. Crain; Erin Prahler; Nicole Rohr; Deborah Sivas; Michael W. Beck; Mark H. Carr; Larry B. Crowder; J. Emmett Duffy; Sally D. Hacker; Karen L. McLeod; Stephen R. Palumbi; Charles H. Peterson; Helen M. Regan; Mary H. Ruckelshaus; Paul A. Sandifer; Robert S. Steneck

Abstract: The declining health of marine ecosystems around the world is evidence that current piecemeal governance is inadequate to successfully support healthy coastal and ocean ecosystems and sustain human uses of the ocean. One proposed solution to this problem is ecosystem-based marine spatial planning (MSP), which is a process that informs the spatial distribution of activities in the ocean so that existing and emerging uses can be maintained, use conflicts reduced, and ecosystem health and services protected and sustained for future generations. Because a key goal of ecosystem-based MSP is to maintain the delivery of ecosystem services that humans want and need, it must be based on ecological principles that articulate the scientifically recognized attributes of healthy, functioning ecosystems. These principles should be incorporated into a decision-making framework with clearly defined targets for these ecological attributes. This paper identifies ecological principles for MSP based on a synthesis of previously suggested and/or operationalized principles, along with recommendations generated by a group of twenty ecologists and marine scientists with diverse backgrounds and perspectives on MSP. The proposed four main ecological principles to guide MSP—maintaining or restoring: native species diversity, habitat diversity and heterogeneity, key species, and connectivity—and two additional guidelines, the need to account for context and uncertainty, must be explicitly taken into account in the planning process. When applied in concert with social, economic, and governance principles, these ecological principles can inform the designation and siting of ocean uses and the management of activities in the ocean to maintain or restore healthy ecosystems, allow delivery of marine ecosystem services, and ensure sustainable economic and social benefits.

Fisheries in the context of marine spatial planning: Defining principal areas for fisheries in the German EEZ

Citation Information: Marine Policy; Volume 32, Issue 4, July 2008, Pages 728–739

Author: Heino O. Fock

Abstract: A method is presented to define principal areas for fisheries at high spatial resolution applicable to be implemented into marine spatial planning procedures. Vessel monitoring system (VMS) data from 2005 to 2006 are acquired to determine vessel-based fishing effort. Principal areas for the German exclusive economic zone (EEZ) are defined as areas in which 75% of the effort of either year is carried out. Examples are given for the 5 most abundant fisheries in the German EEZ in terms of vessel-based effort, i.e. gill netting, pelagic trawling, demersal otter board trawling and beam trawling >300 and <300 HP. A historical comparison for demersal otter board trawling shows relative stability of spatial utilization patterns in the North Sea section of the EEZ.

The missing layer: Geo-technologies, communities, and implications for marine spatial planning

Citation Information: Marine Policy; Volume 32, Issue 5, September 2008, Pages 779–786

Authors: Kevin St. Martin and Madeleine Hall-Arber

Abstract: The assessment and management of marine resources is an increasingly spatial affair dependent upon emerging geo-technologies, such as geographic information systems, and the subsequent production of diverse layers of spatial information. These rapid developments are, however, focused on biophysical processes and data collection initiatives; the social landscape of the marine environment is undocumented and remains a “missing layer” in decision-making. As a result, the resource areas upon which stakeholders and communities are dependent are neither mapped nor integrated into planning processes. We report on a participatory method to map the presence of fishing communities at-sea. The lessons learned concerning the spatial representation of communities informs not only fisheries, but other sectors struggling to incorporate similarly the human dimensions of the marine environment in assessment and planning.

Key elements and steps in the process of developing ecosystem-based marine spatial planning

Citation Information: Marine Policy; Volume 32, Issue 5, September 2008, Pages 787–796

Authors: Paul M. Gilliland and Dan Laffoley

Abstract: Marine spatial planning (MSP) is an essential tool for delivering an Ecosystem Approach and should add value to existing management measures for the marine environment. It should be based on a clear set of principles with a sustainable development purpose. Developing MSP can draw selectively on extensive experiences in terrestrial land use planning. A nested approach with appropriate planning activity at different spatial scales is recommended. Defining appropriate management units is important and particular effort will be required where these do not align with ecosystem boundaries. The timeframe for plans is tending to increase from around 10 to 20+ years, but review periods are required which enable a balance between stability and relevance. This article focuses on the key steps in the planning process of developing ecosystem-based MSP. The importance of setting specific objectives, including as a context for the full range of relevant spatial data, and determining priorities is emphasised. It is also suggested that stakeholder engagement, including the way it is undertaken, is critical to different stages of the process.

The engagement of stakeholders in the marine spatial planning process

Citation Information: Marine Policy; Volume 32, Issue 5, September 2008, Pages 816–822

Authors: Robert Pomeroy and Fanny Douvere

Abstract: Due to the interdependency that exists between the ecosystem resources and its users, successful implementation of ecosystem-based management depends on the identification and understanding of different stakeholders, their practices, expectations and interests. Today, many scientists and resource managers agree that the involvement of stakeholders is a key factor for a successful management regime in the marine environment. The way stakeholders are involved in the process must reflect, or at least address, the existing complexity of the specific context. A comprehensive method that allows doing this is by use of stakeholder analysis and mapping. This article will focus on the various types and stages of stakeholder participation in a marine spatial planning process, and will illustrate how to conduct a stakeholder analysis that allows the involvement of stakeholders in an adequate way that is sustainable over time.

The role of marine spatial planning in sea use management: The Belgian case

Citation Information: Marine Policy; Volume 31, Issue 2, March 2007, Pages 182–191

Authors: F. Douvere; F. Maes; A. Vanhulle; J. Schrijvers

Abstract: The expansion of offshore activities and the increasing need to meet international and national commitments to biodiversity conservation have led to an enhanced interest in marinespatialplanning (MSP) as a tool for sea use management. Several European countries, on their own initiative or driven by European legislation and policy, have taken global leadership in implementing MSP. This article will discuss the Belgian experiences with MSP. It will give a short historical overview based on legal developments and review the implementation process of a ‘Master Plan’ as a spatial management policy for the Belgian Part of the North Sea. Additionally, this article will reflect on the research that has been done in Belgium to apply a land-use planning approach to the marine environment. The MSP process in Belgium shows that a spatial approach to sea use management is possible despite the lack of a legal zoning framework. However, it concludes that a legal basis for MSP, in addition to the current permit system, would provide a more strategic and integrated framework for ecosystem-based, sea use management.

Top 10 List: 
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP)

Essential ecological insights for marine ecosystem-based management and marine spatial planning

Citation Information: Marine Policy; Volume 32, Issue 5, September 2008, Pages 772–778

Authors: Larry Crowder, Elliott Norse

Abstract: The abrupt decline in the sea's capacity to provide crucial ecosystem services requires a new ecosystem-based approach for maintaining and recovering biodiversity and integrity. Ecosystems are places, so marinespatial planners and managers must understand the heterogeneity of biological communities and their key components (especially apex predators and structure-forming species), and of key processes (e.g., population connectivity, interaction webs, biogeochemistry) that maintain them, as well as heterogeneity of human uses. Maintaining resistance and resilience to stressors is crucial. Because marine populations and ecosystems exhibit complex system behaviors, managers cannot safely assume they will recover when stressors are reduced, so prevention is a far more robust management strategy than seeking a cure for degraded systems.

The importance of marine spatial planning in advancing ecosystem-based sea use management

Citation Information: Marine Policy; Volume 32, Issue 5, September 2008, Pages 762–771

Author: Fanny Douvere

Abstract: During the past 10 years, the evolution of marine spatial planning (MSP) and ocean zoning has become a crucial step in making ecosystem-based, sea use management a reality. The idea was initially stimulated by international and national interest in developing marine protected areas, e.g., the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. More recent attention has been placed on managing the multiple use of marine space, especially in areas where conflicts among users and the environment are already clear, e.g., in the North Sea. Even more recent concern has focused on the need to conserve nature, especially ecologically and biologically sensitive areas, in the context of multi-use planning of ocean space. Despite academic discussions and the fact that some countries already have started implementation, the scope of MSP has not been clearly defined. Terms such as integrated management, marine spatial management, and ocean zoning are all used inconsistently. This is one of the reasons why its importance is not more seriously reflected at the levels of policy and decision-making in most countries. This article attempts to deal with this problem. It describes why MSP is an essential step to achieve ecosystem-based sea use management, how it can be defined and what its core objectives are. The article concludes with an analysis of the use and achievements of MSP worldwide, with particular focus on new approaches in Europe.

Top 10 List: 
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP)

A benthic classification system to aid in the implementation of marine protected area networks in the deep/high seas of the NE Atlantic

Citation Information: Biological conservation. 2010 May, v. 143, no. 5

Author: Kerry L. Howell

Abstract: Internationally there is political momentum to establish networks of representative marine protected areas for the conservation of biodiversity. Mapping the distributions of all species, to ensure representation is achieved within a given network, is not possible. Thus surrogates are frequently used in mapping efforts as measures of biological diversity. For practical purposes these surrogates are often organised into a classification system. A number of classifications systems have been developed that are applicable to the deep-sea. However the biological relevance of both the surrogates used and the divisions or classes defined within each surrogate are often unknown or merely assumed. This study discusses the biological relevance of the five most commonly used surrogates (biogeography, depth, geomorphology, substrate, biological assemblages) to the deep-sea fauna. For each surrogate an extensive literature review of benthic faunal studies from the region is used to construct categories within that surrogate that represent the principal known variation in the faunal composition. A hierarchical classification system is described based on four surrogates that are useful at progressively finer spatial scales: biogeography, depth, substrate, biological assemblages. Geomorphological surrogates, although acknowledged as both useful and relevant in deep-sea work, are omitted as the link between geomorphology and biology needs clarification. Descriptions of 40 benthic megafaunal assemblages are provided as an appendix.

Impacts of marine protected areas on fishing communities

Citation Information: Conserv Biol. 2010 Oct;24(5):1424-9.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01523.x.

Authors: Mascia MB, Claus CA, Naidoo R.

Abstract: Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a popular conservation strategy, but their impacts on human welfare are poorly understood. To inform future research and policy decisions, we reviewed the scientific literature to assess MPA impacts on five indicators of human welfare: food security, resource rights, employment, community organization, and income. Following MPA establishment, food security generally remained stable or increased in older and smaller MPAs. The ability of most fishing groups to govern MPA resources changed. Increased resource rights were positively correlated with MPA zoning and compliance with MPA regulations. Small sample sizes precluded statistical tests of the impacts of MPAs on employment, community organization, and income. Our results demonstrate that MPAs shape the social well-being and political power of fishing communities; impacts (positive and negative) vary within and among social groups; and social impacts are correlated with some--but not all--commonly hypothesized explanatory factors. Accordingly, MPAs may represent a viable strategy for enhancing food security and empowering local communities, but current practices negatively affect at least a minority of fishers. To inform policy making, further research must better document and explain variation in the positive and negative social impacts of MPAs.

The establishment of marine protected areas in Senegal: untangling the interactions between international institutions and national actors

Citation Information: Environ Manage. 2011 Apr;47(4):564-72. Epub 2011 Jan 25.

Authors: Ferraro G, Brans M, Dème M, Failler P.

Abstract: International institutions, understood as sets of rules contained in international agreements, are aimed at orienting national governments towards specific policy options. Nevertheless, they can determine a change in national policies and practices only if states are willing and capable of incorporating international obligations into their national legislations and ensuring their application and enforcement in areas that follow completely under national jurisdiction. The establishment of marine protected areas promoted by international agreements as a tool for the protection of marine resources represents an interesting case for revealing the complex interactions between international institutions and national actors. Particularly, the establishment of these areas in Senegal shows the salience of domestic constellations of actors who may support or undercut national commitments to international regimes: political elites, bureaucracies, the general public and target groups. By anchoring the empirical analysis to an actor-centred institutionalist perspective, the article explains how dynamic constellations of actors can distort the penetration of international objectives in the national policy framework. Different constellations of national actors can indeed bend international institutions at different moments: during the formulation of a new law in line with international obligations; in the definition of its implementation framework; and in the enforcement of national policies.

Factors Influencing Success of Marine Protected Areas in the Visayas, Philippines as Related to Increasing Protected Area Coverage

Citation Information: Environmental Management, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp.584-592; 04/2011

Authors: Pollnac, Richard; Seara, Tarsila

Abstract: Throughout the world there is a general consensus among environmentalists that there should be an increase in the amount of marine area that should be reserved in marine protected areas (MPAs). In fact, the 1998 Philippines Fishery Code indicates a need for designation of at least 15% of municipal waters for fish refuges or sanctuaries. Such an increase in area would take productive fishing areas away from fishing communities that can ill-afford the loss. The larger the protected area, there will be a greater number of people impacted. This article examines the relationship between factors that influence the success of Community Based MPA (CBMPA) performance in the Visayas, Philippines and their significance in efforts to increase the size of protected areas.

Rock lobster movement patterns and population structure within a Tasmanian Marine Protected Area inform fishery and conservation management

Citation Informaiton: Marine & freshwater research. 2009, v. 60, no. 5

Authors: Barrett, Neville; Buxton, Colin; Gardner, Caleb

Abstract: As reference sites to better understand characteristics such as movement patterns, depletion of natural resources and ecosystem interactions, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are crucial in fishery and conservation management. The southern rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii) is an important reef predator in temperate Australasia and subject to heavy exploitation. In a Tasmanian MPA, 90% of individuals were recaptured less than 200 m from the point of release over weekly to annual time scales, regardless of size or sex. This lack of movement resulted in a substantial build-up of biomass and of large mature individuals in the MPA relative to adjacent fished locations. Although there was little spillover of individuals to the fishery, a 4-fold increase in female fecundity potentially enhanced larval export. Comparison of fished and unfished biomass of legal-sized animals suggested that exploitation had reduced biomass in the adjacent fishery to <10% of natural values. Overall, the demographic and movement patterns illustrate the extent of depletion of stocks in the absence of historical baseline data and the potential need for spatial management resulting from limited movement. Our data indicate that within MPAs, this predator can potentially recover in abundance to natural levels despite adjacent fishing pressure.

A framework for practical and rigorous impact monitoring by field managers of marine protected areas

Citation Information: Environ Monit Assess. 2011 Sep;180(1-4):557-72. Epub 2010 Dec 10.

Authors: Rouphael AB, Abdulla A, Said Y.

Abstract: Monitoring is a crucial component of conservation in marine protected areas (MPAs) as it allows managers to detect changes to biodiversity and to infer cause of change. However, the complexities of sampling designs and associated statistical analyses can impede implementation of monitoring by managers. Two monitoring frameworks commonly used in marine environments are statistical testing and parameter estimation. For many managers these two approaches fail to help them detect change and infer causation for one or more reasons: the complexity of the statistical test, no decision-making structure and a sampling design that is suboptimal. In collaboration with marine park rangers in Egypt, we instigated a monitoring framework to detect impacts by snorkelers in a pragmatic but scientifically rigorous way. First, we used a literature review to define causal criteria to facilitate inference. This was essential because our sampling design was suboptimal due to a lack of baseline data and there was only one impact site. Second, we established a threshold level of coral damage that if exceeded would trigger management to reduce the impact of snorkelers. This provided a clear decision-making structure. Third, we estimated effect sizes with confidence intervals to detect change. For the field managers, this approach to detection was easier to understand than assessing a null hypothesis and provided critical information for decision making. At no stage during the short study period did snorkelers cause damage that exceeded the threshold and thus mitigation was not required. In situations of technical and financial constraints this framework will increase the implementation of effective impact monitoring for many activities in MPAs and enhance management of marine biodiversity.

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