Turning the wheel away from biophysical indicators in coastal zone management: Towards a stakeholder-based systemic framework

Last modified: 
March 16, 2021 - 1:05pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2021
Date published: 06/2021
Authors: David Smith, Beatriz Rodríguez-Labajos
Journal title: Ecological Indicators
Volume: 125
Pages: 107527
ISSN: 1470160X

Coastal zone management is a pressing matter, especially in developing countries, which are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Human systems are underrepresented in the vast array of indicators aimed at assisting coastal zone management decisions. Clearly, there is room to better capture natural and human system relationships and interactions in coastal area assessments. A case in point is the well-known Coastal Hazard Wheel (CHW). Hence three main objectives guide this paper: (i) Analysing the existing set of indicator themes and categories in coastal areas; (ii) Contrasting this set of indicators with the perceived needs of local coastal stakeholders from a developing country; and (iii) Proposing indicator categories to be included as part of a systemic coastal zone management framework. To this end, we undertook an automated content analysis of 1116 peer-reviewed articles on the subject matter. The analysis and a stringent set of criteria led to 40 articles that were reviewed to identify suitable indicators. In parallel, field research in Ghana allowed for a set of indicators from the quadruple helix stakeholders operating in coastal zones to be elicited. Contrasting the two sets of indicators resulted in three situations. The first involves 14 indicator categories that co-occur in the literature and the detected needs from local coastal stakeholders. In the second situation, the categories mentioned in the literature were those not mentioned at local level. A third situation appeared when the local coastal stakeholders mentioned categories of indicators that were not identified in the reviewed literature. After examining each case, we advocate for the indicators in the first situation to be incorporated into the current coastal indicator monitoring frameworks (for example by upgrading the CHW). The unique contribution of this paper is the combination of literature and stakeholder-based indicator sub-categories that should be added to the current set of coastal monitoring frameworks.

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