Freely-available Literature

Currently indexing 4386 freely-available titles

The following titles are freely-available, or include a link to a preprint or postprint.

Report of the Aspen Ocean Community Strategy Roundtable

Anon. Report of the Aspen Ocean Community Strategy Roundtable. Washington, D.C.: The Aspen Institute, Energy & Environment Program; 2014. Available from: http://www.aspeninstitute.org/policy-work/energy-environment/oceans
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

In 2013, the Aspen Institute published The Ocean Community Report, a study based on a 2012 roundtable discussion with oceans leaders at Fort Baker, California on the state of ocean conservation, as well as two research papers on marine protection advocacy, policy and management.

The report’s recommendations suggested opportunities for improving the effectiveness of collaboration among ocean conservation advocacy groups, funders and policymakers, including taking advantage of the synergies between conservation tools, reframing ocean conservation as a solution to other national issues, and promoting win-win conservation opportunities.

Building on this report, a second gathering of oceans experts was convened one year later at Aspen Wye River to assess the steps required for scaling investment in and deployment of ocean conservation tools in both small-scale coastal fisheries and large-scale MPAs. This roundtable served as a platform for the community to discuss and develop its alignment of conservation priorities with socioeconomic goals and advance innovative conservation financing opportunities.

Based on these 2013 discussions at Wye River, and Aspen’s Ocean Community Report, the following recommendations have been forwarded for continued reflection and prioritization by the ocean community:

  1. Public-Private Partnerships on ocean conservation should be built around the needs of local governments and communities—rather than solely around MPAs, MSP or biodiversity—and focus on specific local fisheries problems, food security challenges and economic needs. This approach will get at the heart of the particular goals in which that country will be more willing to invest public funds. The global replication of successful marine protection requires the development of a clear and strong value proposition, such that the conservation community becomes an agent for establishing the systems and benefits that local leaders themselves want. Moving forward, the conservation community must apply a nuanced understanding of strategies for inspiring local leadership in this way, especially in the case of initially unreceptive governments.
     
  2. Scaling marine protection to the levels required for global impact will require significant partnership with not only government but with the private sector, specifically with corporations. Where MPAs, MSP or TURFs may gain little traction, developing a stronger economic development approach of selling a specific goal (in this case, long-term conservation of marine resources) will help coastal communities to understand the product being offered and better recognize its value. The private sector—especially corporations dependent on coastal resilience—is particularly interested in the sustainability of small scale artisanal fisheries, and so will lead the way in creating sustainable ocean economies by investing in coastal resilience and implementing technologies that make enhanced marine protection and monitoring possible.
     
  3. An innovative and landscape-changing approach to replicating marine conservation is coordination by NGOs or funders using a subcontractor model of partnership and coordination, whereby a single NGO or funder entity develops the demand and commitment from local political leadership, and then delivers on the goals by establishing partnerships with those best prepared to achieve specific goals.

The High Seas and Us: Understanding the Value of High-Seas Ecosystems

Rogers AD, Sumaila UR, Hussain SS, Baulcomb C. The High Seas and Us: Understanding the Value of High-Seas Ecosystems. Oxford, UK: The Global Ocean Commission; 2014. Available from: http://www.globaloceancommission.org/news/life-in-the-high-seas-storing-500-million-tonnes-of-atmospheric-carbon-every-year/
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

The industrialisation and overuse of the high seas jeopardises the natural wealth of their ecosystems and the services they provide to people. Fishing and shipping continue to inflict harm on high-seas ecosystems. Mining for minerals and new sources of fossil fuels will likely increase the industrial use of the high seas and will further damage their ecosystems. At the same time, the governance of the high seas is fragmented, with different international institutions focusing on specific industrial activities, places, or even different parts of the ecosystems. For instance, weak fisheries governance in the high seas has led to ad hoc regulation that varies from place to place. The result has been widespread overfishing.

There is growing evidence that the ecosystem services provided by the high seas are of high social and economic value. The evidence also is clear that poor management of human activities on the high seas has eroded the natural wealth and productivity of high-seas ecosystems with negative economic and social consequences for all of us.

We examine 15 important ecosystem services provided by the high seas. These fall into the categories of provisioning services (seafood; raw materials; genetic resources; medicinal resources; ornamental resources), regulating services (air purification; climate regulation; waste treatment; biological control) habitat services (lifecycle maintenance; gene pool protection) and cultural services (recreation and leisure; aesthetic information; information for culture, art, design and for cognitive development). The quantity and quality of ecosystem services depend directly on both the living (e.g. animals, algae, microorganisms) and non-living (e.g. the shape and structure of the seabed) components of the marine ecosystems of the high seas.

To understand the potential value of high-seas ecosystem services, we describe and quantify, when possible, the provision and general nature of values provided by these 15 types of ecosystem services. We put these values in the context of the costs of improved governance and management of human activities in the high seas with a particular focus on improved marine protection.

Few ecosystem services in the high seas can be accurately valued given currently available information. We lack scientific information about the provision and use of most high-seas ecosystem services and their quantity and nature, and even lack knowledge regarding how and where, precisely, they are produced. The high seas support economically important species that may swim, migrate or drift well beyond the physical boundaries of the high seas. This makes it difficult to disentangle the contribution of high-seas ecosystems to the services that are produced in the high seas but are enjoyed elsewhere – sometimes thousands of kilometres away. Many high-seas ecosystem services are not enjoyed directly in all contexts. Instead, in some contexts, many play an intermediate role in the creation of ecosystem services elsewhere (e.g. high-seas ecosystems support prey that are consumed by commercially important fish species which are harvested elsewhere). Clearly, there is the need for more and better science on the provision and value of high-seas ecosystem services.

We provide estimates of the economic value of two important high-seas ecosystem services: carbon storage and fisheries. Carbon is stored by high-seas ecosystems as part of naturally occurring processes in which marine organisms convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into energy and biological production. We estimate that high-seas ecosystems are responsible for nearly half of the biological productivity of the global ocean. While the science of carbon sequestration in the high seas is still evolving, we estimate that nearly half a billion tonnes of carbon, the equivalent of over 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, are captured and stored by high-seas ecosystems annually. Based on current estimates of the economic cost of additional carbon in the atmosphere (i.e. the social cost of carbon), we find that the value of carbon storage by high-seas ecosystems ranges between US$74 billion and US$222 billion annually.

Gap Analysis Report: Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment of development of the Arctic

Tedsen E, Riedel A, Weingartner K, Azzolini R, Guillon F, Longo S, Leone C, Paadar O, Leonenko A. Gap Analysis Report: Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment of development of the Arctic. Arctic Centre, University of Lapland; 2014 p. 104. Available from: www.arcticinfo.eu
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

A new report on Arctic information and communication needs (“Gap Analysis Report”) has been released as part of the Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment of development of the Arctic Preparatory Action project, funded by DG Environment of the European Commission. The Gap Analysis Report was led by Ecologic Institute in partnership with the European Science Foundation, National Research Council of Italy, Sámi Education Institute, and Tromsø Centre for Remote Sensing.

The report identifies, analyzes, and illustrates the Arctic information needs of stakeholders and policy-makers and offers recommendations on ways to improve knowledge and to improve two-way communication between information providers and users. It highlights information and communication gaps and major Arctic trends throughout a number of thematic areas and human needs in the Arctic. The Gap Analysis Report also assesses how an EU Arctic Information Centre (EUAIC) could improve information provision and communication.

“The Gap Analysis Report demonstrates that Arctic stakeholders not only desire new information, but also seek better, coordinated access to existing information sources, which a network of expert institutes operating as an EU Arctic Information Centre could help facilitate,” said Elizabeth Tedsen, Fellow at Ecologic Institute.

“The Arctic has become of global interest during the past few years, and it is important that images, decisions, and policies regarding the development of the region are based on best available information,” commented Professor Paula Kankaanpää,  Director of the Arctic Centre and Principal Investigator on the Preparatory Action.

While the report’s recommendations in the context of the Preparatory Action were necessarily limited due to its broad thematic focus, it should be seen as a building block for future efforts, including for subject-specific recommendations that draw from the wealth of knowledge of Arctic stakeholders.

Shallow water benthic habitats in the Gulf of Maine: A summary of habitat use by life stages of common marine and estuarine species

Stevenson DK, Johnson MR, Tuxbury S, Boelke C. Shallow water benthic habitats in the Gulf of Maine: A summary of habitat use by life stages of common marine and estuarine species. Gloucester, MA: NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office; 2014 p. 77. Available from: https://www.nero.noaa.gov/policyseries/index.php/GARPS/article/view/11
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

Shallow-water estuarine and coastal marine habitats in the Gulf of Maine comprise some of the most productive habitats in the northeastern United States and have been identified as Essential Fish Habitat (EFH)1 for many species of importance to commercial and recreational fisheries. However, these near-shore habitats are also the most vulnerable to human disturbances due to their proximity to coastal population centers. The purpose of this report is to describe the importance of shallow-water habitats (0-10 meters) for spawning, feeding, and growth to maturity for 16 fish and invertebrate species in the Gulf of Maine based on a literature review. The species include a mix of federally managed fishery species, state-managed fishery species and other species that are important members of the shallow-water marine ecosystem. Habitat use was assessed for individual life history stages of each species in eight shallow-water benthic habitats: mud, sand, gravel/cobble, boulder, eelgrass, macroalgae, salt marsh channels, and shellfish beds. Habitat use scores (0 = absent, 1 = present, and 2 = common or abundant) were assigned to each benthic life stage of each species known to occur in depths less than 10 meters. Scores were then summarized for all species in each habitat type. According to this evaluation, shallow-water habitats in the Gulf of Maine are used by young-of-the-year juveniles of all 16 species. Additionally, older juveniles of 12 species and adults of 11 species also rely on these habitats. Nine of the sixteen species spawn in one or more of these habitats. Further analysis shows that sand and gravel/cobble habitats are used by the most species and life stages, followed by mud, eelgrass, macroalgae, boulder, salt marsh channels, and shell (mussel) beds. Shallowwater habitats in the Gulf of Maine provide valuable ecological services for a variety of species. Mud, sand, gravel/cobble, and vegetated habitats are particularly important as juvenile nursery grounds for species such as Atlantic cod, Atlantic tomcod, American lobsters, winter flounder, soft-shell clams, and blue mussels.

Climate-Smart Conservation: Putting Adaptation Principles into Practice

Stein BA, Glick P, Edelson N, Staudt A eds. Climate-Smart Conservation: Putting Adaptation Principles into Practice. Washington, D.C.: National Wildlife Federation; 2014 p. 272. Available from: http://www.nwf.org/What-We-Do/Energy-and-Climate/Climate-Smart-Conservation/Guide-to-Climate-Smart-Conservation.aspx
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

An important goal of this guidance is to help practitioners and policy-makers understand what constitutes “good” climate adaptation, how to recognize those characteristics in existing work, as well as how to design new interventions when necessary. Part I of this guide focuses on exploring climate-smart conservation, and offers a structured process for putting it into practice. To this end, we define “climate-smart conservation” as:

The intentional and deliberate consideration of climate change in natural resource management, realized through adopting forward-looking goals and explicitly linking strategies to key climate impacts and vulnerabilities.

Determining what represents appropriate and relevant adaptation is highly context specific, but there are a number of attributes that can help distinguish when and whether climate considerations are suitably being incorporated into conservation work. To assist practitioners in making that distinction, we have identified the following set of key characteristics that collectively define a climate-informed approach to conservation.

Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012

Jackson J, Donovan M, Cramer K, Lam V eds. Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012. Gland, Switzerland: Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, IUCN; 2014 p. 306. Available from: http://www.icriforum.org/caribbeanreport
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
Yes
Type: Report

Outbreaks of Acropora and Diadema diseases in the 1970s and early 1980s, overpopulation in the form of too many tourists, and overfishing are the three best predictors of the decline in Caribbean coral cover over the past 30 or more years based on the data available. Coastal pollution is undoubtedly increasingly significant but there are still too little data to tell. Increasingly warming seas pose an ominous threat but so far extreme heating events have had only localized effects and could not have been responsible for the greatest losses of Caribbean corals that had occurred throughout most of the wider Caribbean region by the early to mid 1990s.

In summary, the degradation of Caribbean reefs has unfolded in three distinct phases:

  1. Massive losses of Acropora since the mid 1970s to early 1980s due to WBD. These losses are unrelated to any obvious global environmental change and may have been due to introduced pathogens associated with enormous increases in ballast water discharge from bulk carrier shipping since the 1960s.
     
  2. Very large increase in macroalgal cover and decrease in coral cover at most overfished locations following the 1983 mass mortality of Diadema due to an unidentified and probably exotic pathogen. The phase shift in coral to macroalgal dominance reached a peak at most locations by the mid 1990s and has persisted throughout most of the Caribbean for 25 years. Numerous experiments provide a link between macroalgal increase and coral decline. Macroalgae reduce coral recruitment and growth, are commonly toxic, and may induce coral disease.
     
  3. Continuation of the patterns established in Phase 2 exacerbated by even greater overfishing, coastal pollution, explosions in tourism, and extreme warming events that in combination have been particularly severe in the northeastern Caribbean and Florida Keys where extreme bleaching followed by outbreaks of coral disease have caused the greatest declines.

Making the Best of a Pest: The Potential for Using Invasive Zebra Mussel (Dreissena Polymorpha) Biomass as a Supplement to Commercial Chicken Feed

McLaughlan C, Rose P, Aldridge DC. Making the Best of a Pest: The Potential for Using Invasive Zebra Mussel (Dreissena Polymorpha) Biomass as a Supplement to Commercial Chicken Feed. Environmental Management [Internet]. 2014 :1-8. Available from: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00267-014-0335-6
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Invasive non-native species frequently occur in very high densities. When such invaders present an economic or ecological nuisance, this biomass is typically removed and landfill is the most common destination, which is undesirable from both an economic and ecological perspective. The zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, has invaded large parts of Europe and North America, and is routinely removed from raw water systems where it creates a biofouling nuisance. We investigated the suitability of dried, whole zebra mussels as a supplement to poultry feed, thus providing a more attractive end-use than disposal to landfill. Measurable outcomes were nutrient and energy composition analyses of the feeds and production parameters of the birds over a 14 day period. Zebra mussels were a palatable feed supplement for chickens. The mussel meal contained high levels of calcium (344.9 g kg−1), essential for egg shell formation, which was absorbed and retained easily by the birds. Compared with standard feed, a mussel-supplemented diet caused no significant effects on production parameters such as egg weight and feed conversion ratio during the study period. However, protein and energy levels in the zebra mussel feed were much lower than expected from the literature. In order for zebra mussels to be a viable long-term feed supplement for poultry, flesh would need to be separated from the shells in an economically viable way. If zebra mussels were to be used with the shells remaining, it seems that the resultant mussel meal would be more suitable as a calcium supplement.

Assessing Social – Ecological Trade-Offs to Advance Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management

Voss R, Quaas MF, Schmidt JO, Tahvonen O, Lindegren M, Möllmann C. Assessing Social – Ecological Trade-Offs to Advance Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2014 ;9(9):e107811. Available from: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0107811
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Modern resource management faces trade-offs in the provision of various ecosystem goods and services to humanity. For fisheries management to develop into an ecosystem-based approach, the goal is not only to maximize economic profits, but to consider equally important conservation and social equity goals. We introduce such a triple-bottom line approach to the management of multi-species fisheries using the Baltic Sea as a case study. We apply a coupled ecological-economic optimization model to address the actual fisheries management challenge of trading-off the recovery of collapsed cod stocks versus the health of ecologically important forage fish populations. Management strategies based on profit maximization would rebuild the cod stock to high levels but may cause the risk of stock collapse for forage species with low market value, such as Baltic sprat (Fig. 1A). Economically efficient conservation efforts to protect sprat would be borne almost exclusively by the forage fishery as sprat fishing effort and profits would strongly be reduced. Unless compensation is paid, this would challenge equity between fishing sectors (Fig. 1B). Optimizing equity while respecting sprat biomass precautionary levels would reduce potential profits of the overall Baltic fishery, but may offer an acceptable balance between overall profits, species conservation and social equity (Fig. 1C). Our case study shows a practical example of how an ecosystem-based fisheries management will be able to offer society options to solve common conflicts between different resource uses. Adding equity considerations to the traditional trade-off between economy and ecology will greatly enhance credibility and hence compliance to management decisions, a further footstep towards healthy fish stocks and sustainable fisheries in the world ocean.

Regional Scale Prioritisation for Key Ecosystem Services, Renewable Energy Production and Urban Development

Casalegno S, Bennie JJ, Inger R, Gaston KJ. Regional Scale Prioritisation for Key Ecosystem Services, Renewable Energy Production and Urban Development. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2014 ;9(9):e107822. Available from: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0107822
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Although the importance of addressing ecosystem service benefits in regional land use planning and decision-making is evident, substantial practical challenges remain. In particular, methods to identify priority areas for the provision of key ecosystem services and other environmental services (benefits from the environment not directly linked to the function of ecosystems) need to be developed. Priority areas are locations which provide disproportionally high benefits from one or more service. Here we map a set of ecosystem and environmental services and delineate priority areas according to different scenarios. Each scenario is produced by a set of weightings allocated to different services and corresponds to different landscape management strategies which decision makers could undertake. Using the county of Cornwall, U.K., as a case study, we processed gridded maps of key ecosystem services and environmental services, including renewable energy production and urban development. We explored their spatial distribution patterns and their spatial covariance and spatial stationarity within the region. Finally we applied a complementarity-based priority ranking algorithm (zonation) using different weighting schemes. Our conclusions are that (i) there are two main patterns of service distribution in this region, clustered services (including agriculture, carbon stocks, urban development and plant production) and dispersed services (including cultural services, energy production and floods mitigation); (ii) more than half of the services are spatially correlated and there is high non-stationarity in the spatial covariance between services; and (iii) it is important to consider both ecosystem services and other environmental services in identifying priority areas. Different weighting schemes provoke drastic changes in the delineation of priority areas and therefore decision making processes need to carefully consider the relative values attributed to different services.

Reducing Uncertainty in Fisheries Management: The Time for Fishers' Ecological Knowledge

Carr L. Reducing Uncertainty in Fisheries Management: The Time for Fishers' Ecological Knowledge. Texas A&M University; 2012 p. 171. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/1969.1/ETD-TAMU-2012-05-11034
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Thesis

This dissertation work presents a novel method for addressing system uncertainty to improve management of a small-scale fishery in St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands. Using fishers' ecological knowledge (FEK), this research examines existing perspectives and biases through the Q-Method to identify regulatory inefficiencies in the management framework and strengthen the rationale for including fishers into the management process, develops a coupled behavior-economics model to predict the likelihood of fishing the preferred grounds under a range of physical and regulatory conditions, establishes a baseline assessment of a spawning aggregation of mutton snapper following sixteen years of protection through a no-take marine protected area, and conducts a discrete choice method test to examine likely public support for FEK-based proposed regulatory alternatives. This work contributes to an under-studied and much-needed area of fisheries management, that of incorporating socioeconomic motivations within an ecosystem-based framework. As fisheries management efforts begin to embrace ecosystem-based approaches, the need for understanding and incorporating the knowledge and behavior of fishers into management has never been greater. Ecological goals of fishery sustainability and continued habitat function cannot be achieved without first understanding how fishers view and respond to any regulatory environment and then developing a framework that achieves the greatest support for those regulations. The time has come for incorporating FEK into ecosystem-based fisheries management.

Breathing Life into a Dormant Statute: Using the Case of the Pink Dolphins to Forge a Path Forward for Environmental Legal Protections in Hong Kong

Leitner L. Breathing Life into a Dormant Statute: Using the Case of the Pink Dolphins to Forge a Path Forward for Environmental Legal Protections in Hong Kong. UCLA Journal of Environmental Law and Policy [Internet]. 2014 ;32(2):382 - 421. Available from: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/38p412ck
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Hong Kong’s pink dolphins are majestic, intelligent, and beautiful. Unfortunately, Hong Kong’s coastal waters are no longer suitable for pink dolphin populations. Vessel traffic, water pollution, land reclamation projects, and localized constructionblasting activity all contribute to the declining stability of their habitat. These destructive impacts on the marine environment derive from Hong Kong’s generally inadequate political and regulatory protections, increased tourist use of polluting river boats to view the dolphins, ambivalent local perceptions of the problem, and a growing human population, which together make environmental protection increasingly more difficult. Despite this unequivocally bleak future, legal tools exist that can help improve and preserve their habitat. Although litigation under Hong Kong’s environmental statutes is rare, bringing suit under existing laws can create meaningful change for the pink dolphin. The Wild Animals Protection Ordinance contains provisions that may lead to a prohibition of local vessels navigating through dolphin marine habitat.

In order to carry out this litigation strategy and others like it, parties need more exposure and a better understanding of the legal actions available to them. This comment demonstrates how parties can successfully litigate under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance for the protection of pink dolphins despite Hong Kong’s current political climate. Part II describes the Hong Kong pink dolphin and major threats to dolphin populations. Part III analyzes Hong Kong’s history of delayed proactivity, regulation, litigation, and enforcement of environmental and animal welfare matters. Part IV develops a potential case under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance for better protection of Hong Kong’s pink dolphins. Part V summarizes other legal avenues available for protection of pink dolphins and other marine species. Finally, Part VI concludes by encouraging government agencies and private parties to bring novice environmental cases under existing legislation and to press for statutory amendments where necessary to better protect Hong Kong’s natural resources, habitat, and species.

Development and application of mass-balanced ecological network models for kelp forest ecosystems

Beas-Luna R. Development and application of mass-balanced ecological network models for kelp forest ecosystems. University of California, Santa Cruz; 2014. Available from: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/5ws5r0rj
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Thesis

California kelp forests are highly productive and species rich ecosystems. However, ecosystem-wide consequences of fishing higher tropic levels (fishes) and the effect of climate on primary producers such as the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, are not well understood. I develop and apply mass-balanced ecological network models, Ecopath with Ecosim, to explore separately how fishing and the dynamics of giant kelp influence ecosystem functions (e.g., species interactions, biomass dynamics), structure (e.g., the distribution of biomass density among species or species groups) and their dynamics. Faced with the difficulty of synthesizing information required to construct these models, I develop and apply an online database (http://kelpforest.ucsc.edu/) to facilitate the accessibility of such information. It is the first online database designed specifically to inform development of ecological network models. To explore ecosystem-wide effects of fishing in giant kelp forests, I examine (i) the extent to which changes in species interactions and biomass of nodes caused by fishing extend across the ecological network, how these changes vary with (ii) levels of fishing mortality, (iii) fishing of six different species of fishes, and (iv) when all six species are fished simultaneously. Results suggest that fished species differ markedly in the extent to which species interactions and biomass densities are altered across the ecosystem and these responses vary with different levels of fishing mortality. I also used the models to predict ecosystem-wide responses to different dynamics of giant kelp biomass. I test the hypotheses that different scenarios of dynamics of giant kelp biomass will influence (i) total network biomass, (ii) distribution of biomass density across nodes, (iii) temporal variation in biomass density of nodes, and (iv) how this variation differs among trophic levels. Results suggest that both the mean and the variability of giant kelp biomass alter the direction and magnitude of change in total network biomass. Variation is greater for lower trophic levels. Although all inferences of these models are based solely on trophic interactions, they illustrate the value of ecosystem models to generate hypotheses and predictions of ecosystem responses to one or more changes in kelp forests.

Designing Marine Protected Areas for the South American Sea Lion (Otaria byronia) in the Argentine Patagonia

Padula CGabriela. Designing Marine Protected Areas for the South American Sea Lion (Otaria byronia) in the Argentine Patagonia. University of California, Santa Cruz; 2014. Available from: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/99g424m2
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Thesis

This work looks into the conservation of South American sea lions (SSL), Otaria byronia by advancing a process of Marine Protected Area (MPA) design targeted for reproductive females during the first weeks of lactation. Focusing on protection of a single species may result in the establishment of a more comprehensive and ecologically functional system for management. SSL is distributed in the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts of South America. Along the coast of the Argentine Patagonian coast, 73 colonies were described, 42 % of which are reproductive. Breeding females give birth during the austral summer (January) and lactation lasts ca. one year. Critical to the annual cycle are the few weeks after birth, when mothers spend 2-3 days nursing and a similar or longer time at sea foraging, while pups remain alone on shore. Satellite tracking and dive recording instruments indicate that females are either coastal or pelagic in their feeding habits, but the latter travel relatively short distances from colony (mean 152 km). SSL are bottom foragers that dive to maximum depths of approximately 80 m. Optimizing travel and foraging time is critical for these animals, as pups left alone fast and are threatened by both starvation and being accidentally crushed by fighting adult males. Foraging areas overlap with fishing grounds, sea lions are caught in fishing gear and competition for food cannot be ignored. Yet, although 20 of the 31 existing breeding colonies are within coastal protected areas, none of the foraging areas have been considered for protection to minimize the consequences of interactions with fisheries. This work draws from very limited data to advance a process of design of Marine Protected Areas that is eminently practical, thus affordable to government wildlife administrators. I selected the most important colonies, based on location and abundance, integrated satellite locations at sea, analyzed potential associations with physical variables, and proposed criteria to decide important marine areas based on distribution at sea. Finally, I estimated the cost for fisheries to comply with the proposed conservation intervention scenarios. Foraging distribution did not follow a pattern consistent with physical oceanographic variables (sea surface temperature, productivity, bathymetry and seafloor composition) to guide conservation intervention. Bathymetry was the best proxy to help in the design of protected areas. Most of the conservation scenarios based on distribution at sea of lactating females did not strongly overlap with fisheries to justify conservation intervention. The colonies that did, however, involved the largest breeding colonies of Argentine Patagonia and Uruguay. In a context of closing the fisheries for the area of overlap and compensate for the loses during one month, I estimate a conservation cost of 2-3 million dollars, as the impact is on the most profitable of all Argentine Patagonian fisheries, targeting Argentine red shrimp, Pleoticus muelleri. I conclude that management that includes MPAs for this species requires a priori spatial planning considerations. Once a fishery is operational, the costs for conservation will not be affordable for the administrators. I identified some areas where an a priori approach would be practical, effective and feasible.

Improving the Outlook for Caribbean Coral Reefs: A Regional Plan of Action 2014 – 2019

Marshall P, Dowd A, Catzim N, Nichols K eds. Improving the Outlook for Caribbean Coral Reefs: A Regional Plan of Action 2014 – 2019. Townsville: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority; 2014 p. 32.
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

A key element of the Caribbean region’s vulnerability to climate change is the threat to coral reef ecosystems. Regional Heads of Government throughout the Caribbean have recognized the important role that coral reefs play in national economies and their crucial contribution to sustainable development. Accordingly, governments, regional leaders and coastal communities have begun to take measures to address the region’s vulnerability and build resilience to climate change.

The Coral Reef Plan of Action provides a roadmap for navigating the challenges of sustainably managing coral reefs to protect biological diversity while sustaining provision of goods and services that these ecosystems provide to the people of the Caribbean.

The plan presents a set of objectives for improving the outlook for Caribbean reefs by 2018. These are the result of regional consultations that identified the priority needs expressed by regional leaders, stakeholders, officials and experts who together have accumulated the experience required for tackling the issues faced in the sustainable management of Caribbean coral reefs. The objectives are grouped under four goals:

  1. Improve the health and resilience of Caribbean coral reefs
  2. Strengthen adaptive capacity of communities
  3. Build foundations for national and regional action
  4. Advocate globally for stronger action on climate change

Investment in achieving the goals and objectives in this plan will be further guided through development of an associated implementation plan, and a program of monitoring, evaluation and reporting. With the support of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism will lead implementation of this plan to ensure it has the best chance of building the resilience of coral reefs to the impacts of climate variability and change in the Caribbean region.

This Coral Reef Plan of Action is aligned with relevant initiatives, sub-regional strategies and plans targeted at Caribbean coral reefs. These include the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism’s Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Strategy and Action Plan, the 2012 Report Card for the Mesoamerican Reef, and the Strategic Action Programme for the Sustainable Management of the Shared Living Marine Resources of the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystems and Adjacent Regions (CLME+SAP).

The Plan supports the vision articulated in the Liliendaal Declaration and contributes to strategic elements and goals elaborated in the Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change (Regional Framework) and its associated Implementation Plan (see Appendix 1). Through an integrated approach across these strategic initiatives, the Coral Reef Plan of Action will help build regional coordination and national commitment, motivate actions and stimulate much-needed support and investment from the international community in a coordinated effort to improve the outlook for Caribbean coral reefs.

Guidelines for Integrating Human Dimensions into MPA Planning and Management

Sowman M, Raemaekers S, Sunde J. Guidelines for Integrating Human Dimensions into MPA Planning and Management. WWF-SA and the University of Cape Town; 2014 p. 140.
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are one of the key tools used to achieve conservation, biodiversity and fisheries management objectives around the world. Increasingly though, conservation planners, MPA managers, researchers and local communities are calling for a more people-centred approach to MPA planning and management, recognising that long-term conservation and fisheries management objectives will not be realised unless human dimensions and societal concerns are adequately addressed.

To date, many MPAs have been established, planned and managed with little consideration of the human dimensions – social, cultural, economic, political and governance issues – and impact of the MPA on local communities. In order to address this challenge, WWF South Africa and the Environmental Evaluation Unit (EEU) at the University of Cape Town, undertook a three year long project looking at how to integrate human and ecological dimensions in MPA governance.

Funded by the WWF Nedbank Green Trust and based on a number of Phd and Masters dissertations, the EEU have developed a comprehensive and collaborative set of guidelines which was finalised in March 2014 around MPA planning, titled ‘Integrating Human Dimensions into MPA Planning and Management’.

This project explores how MPAs can become more meaningful to society in terms of addressing social, economic and ecological objectives. It highlights the importance of considering issues such as human values, aspirations, lifestyles, cultural heritage, livelihoods, local economic activities and institutional arrangements in the development of MPAs and their management strategies. Provided in a short and long form, the guidelines are available for download and use by all.

Seychelles Marine Spatial Planning Initiative Workshop #2

Anon. Seychelles Marine Spatial Planning Initiative Workshop #2. Seychelles Marine Spatial Planning Initiative; 2014 p. 26.
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

The Seychelles Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Initiative is a public process focused on planning for, and management of, the sustainable and long-term use and health of the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a marine area covering 1,374,000 km2 and 115 islands. The MSP Initiative is a government-led process, with planning and facilitation managed by a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, the Government of Seychelles, and the United Nations Development Programme - Global Environment Facility Programme Coordinating Unit. Funding for the Initiative is being provided by UNDP-GEF grants to the Government of Seychelles, and an Oceans 5 grant to The Nature Conservancy.

Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) provides a participatory and transparent way to focus on sustainable uses for the Seychelles marine environment and minimise spatial conflicts between uses. The Seychelles MSP Initiative takes an integrated, multi-sector approach and will balance ecological, social, cultural and economic objectives. The participatory nature of MSP encourages communities and private sector partners to provide advice, information and input to the Seychelles Initiative.

Article 38 of the Constitution of Seychelles provides the authority for planning and the guiding principles, vision and goals of the Seychelles Sustainable Development Strategy (SSDS) helps provide the framework for the MSP Initiative. The Initiative will develop an integrated, multi-use marine zoning and climate change adaptation plan to optimise the sustainable use and effective management of the Seychelles marine environment while ensuring and improving the social, cultural and economic wellbeing of its people. This marine plan will serve as the basis for guiding the strategies and decisions of the Seychelles Conservation & Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) that was established by the Government of Seychelles for a Debt-for-Climate-Change-Adaptation swap. Phase I of the MSP Initiative (February 2014 – June 2015) will produce a suite of design options, tools and management strategies as a basis for further development and implementation of the national multi-use plan.

The Seychelles MSP Initiative was launched at a workshop on 4-5 February 2014 in Victoria. The key objectives of that workshop were to introduce the MSP Initiative being facilitated by The Nature Conservancy, and identify the key components that will support the Seychelles Blue Economy. People at the workshop identified seven sectors important to the scope of the planning process (in no particular order): biodiversity conservation, cultural heritage, fisheries, marine transportation, petroleum (mineral & aggregate) extraction, renewable energy, and tourism. Focusing on the seven sectors, participants were led through a 10-20 year visioning exercise to describe what they did and did not want to see for these sectors over this time scale. The results of the visioning exercise were refined into general goals by the workshop participants and ranked in order of low, medium, and high priority.

A website is currently being developed for the MSP Initiative (www.seychellesmarinespatialplanning.com) that will host all the relevant background documents, reports and presentations. The website will be used to keep all stakeholders updated on progress of the process and should be accessible by early July. In the interim, all related handouts and documents are included in the annex section.

Towards Reef Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods: a handbook for Caribbean reef managers

Mumby PJ, Flower J, Chollett I, Box SJ, Bozec Y-M, Fitzsimmons C, Forster J, Gill D, Griffith-Mumby R, Oxenford HA, et al. Towards Reef Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods: a handbook for Caribbean reef managers. Exeter: University of Exeter; 2014 p. 176.
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

The project has produced a handbook that aims to provide reef managers with tools, information and recommendations on management of coral reef ecosystems. The handbook sections range from ecological history and biogeography, resilience as well as climate change issues to fisheries, governance and the monitoring of coral reef ecosystems.

Within each section are practical stand-alone ‘briefs’. These briefs offer concise information on particular reef-related issues, utilising some of the most recent scientific research to inform management actions. Each of the briefings is a unique grab-and-go resource. The accessible format also provides a useful resource for students, researchers, policy-makers and anyone interested in the future of Caribbean coral reefs.

Towards Investment in Sustainable Fisheries: A framework for financing the transition

Bonzon K, de Vos K, Holmes L, Strauss K. Towards Investment in Sustainable Fisheries: A framework for financing the transition. Environmental Defense Fund and The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit; 2014 p. 86.
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

Research suggest three key enablers of sustainable and profitable fisheries that, together, provide the basis for increased value: 

  • Secure tenure aligns the incentives and empowers the fishing industry to pursue sustainable use of the resource and is a vital first step in the transition
  • Sustainable harvests determine how much fish can be caught sustainably and enable the creation of both management and investment frameworks
  • Monitoring and enforcement provide assurance that fishers will comply with sustainable management and reduce the chance of illegal activity that could undermine the transition

These conditions, particularly establishing secure tenure, provide the platform for unlocking greater social, economic and environmental value in fisheries and are vital to investment activities. With the conditions described above in place, investment can be channelled towards the three key drivers of increased fisheries value:

  • Improving stock health leads to higher long-term yields and makes fish less costly to find and catch
  • Increasing operational efficiency reduces fishing and delivery-related costs, improving profit margins and thus improving the returns from fishing as a whole
  • Increasing market value through improved market access, certification, branding and long-term partnerships returns more value to fishers 
  • A clear business case for the transition that includes a contextual analysis of the project as well as a bioeconomic and financial model of the investment proposition
  • Investable entities to act as counterparty to the investment; these can be existing, modified, or newly created entities
  • Mechanisms for capturing return from the beneficiaries of the transition to share the upside of a transitioned fishery with the investor, such as dividends, taxes, or fees
  • Risk management through appropriate identification and articulation of risks, as well as efforts to mitigate or manage risk

Structuring the investment to align and coordinate sources of capital can create a financially sustainable transition and match investors to the financial, environmental and social returns that fisheries provide. Project developers can consider two key points:

  • Sources of capital, or investors, fall along a spectrum based on, among other things, target returns, type of investment and target terms. Traditionally, fishery transitions have been funded by ‘impact-only’ investors who expect no return or little financial return
  • Combining capital to sequence, blend or layer investment structures can effectively reduce and spread risk, while leveraging larger pools of capital. Including different types of investors will ultimately unlock the resources needed to start to address the scale of the challenge that lies ahead

A Review of Conservation Trust Funds for Sustainable Marine Resources Management: Conditions for Success

Bladon A, Mohammed EYassin, Milner-Gulland EJ. A Review of Conservation Trust Funds for Sustainable Marine Resources Management: Conditions for Success. London: IIED; 2014 p. 42. Available from: http://pubs.iied.org/16574IIED
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

Conservation Trust Funds (CTFs) are a source of sustainable financing for long-term biodiversity conservation, in particular for protected areas management. Through a review of 12 case studies from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Australasia, this research report provides a broad overview of how to create a CTF, describing its legal and institutional structure, fund generation and delivery, and identifying when it might be an appropriate tool. The lessons learnt from the case studies provide guidance on best practice and an insight into the conditions for the sustainability and success of the funds, and thereby their value to conservation.

A Guide to Evaluating Marine Spatial Plans

Ehler C. A Guide to Evaluating Marine Spatial Plans. Paris: UNESCO; 2014 p. 98.
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

This guide on performance monitoring and evaluation (evaluation) is intended for practitioners responsible for planning and managing marine areas. Practitioners are the managers and stakeholders who are responsible for designing, planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating marine management plans. While its focus is on the performance monitoring and evaluation of MSP, planners and managers should know how to incorporate monitoring and evaluation considerations into the MSP process from its very beginning, and not wait until a plan is completed before thinking about how to measure “success”. Effective performance monitoring and evaluation is only possible when management objectives and expected outcomes are written in a way that is measurable, either quantitatively or qualitatively.

This guide builds on the general approach and structure of the previous UNESCO’s IOC guide, Marine Spatial Planning: a step-by-step approach toward ecosystem-based management (Ehler & Douvere 2009) available at: www.unesco-ioc-marinesp.be. Similar in organization to the first MSP guide, this one presents a logical sequence of eight steps to monitoring and evaluating the performance of management plans (and their related management actions) that are important outputs of any MSP process.

View the online Interactive Compendium to the guide here on OpenChannels at https://www.openchannels.org/msp-eval-guide.

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