Ecosystem-based Management (EBM)

Applying the ecosystem services - EBM framework to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reefs and seagrass beds

Fanning LM, Al-Naimi MNasser, Range P, Ali A-SM, Bouwmeester J, Al-Jamali F, Burt JA, Ben-Hamadou R. Applying the ecosystem services - EBM framework to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reefs and seagrass beds. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2021 ;205:105566. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096456912100051X?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Given the current natural and anthropogenic threats facing Qatar's marine environment and the consequential expected decline in ecosystem services, this paper examines the potential application of the Ecosystem Services-EBM framework developed by Granek et al. (2010) to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reef and seagrass bed ecosystems. Using interviews with stakeholders and field-collected data from sixteen coral reef sites and 6 seagrass meadows as well as secondary data, the paper presents new knowledge regarding the status of these ecosystems and the benefits they provide that are most valued by stakeholders. The research identifies existing and missing ecological and socio-economic data, as well as the processes and management strategies required to implement the five-step framework within a Qatari context. Key goals for implementing EBM identified by stakeholders include: adoption of scientific planning and valuation of marine environment, contextualizing and drafting legislation, regulations and policies in support of EBM; monitoring and enforcement of laws; and, promotion of public awareness and engagement. The article concludes with recommendations for filling remaining data gaps and highlights opportunities available to Qatar to become a leader in implementing EBM. These include maximizing the increasing role that stakeholders can play in mitigating further decline of the country's coastal ecosystems and leveraging mega events planned in Qatar, such as FIFA World Cup 2022.

Applying the ecosystem services - EBM framework to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reefs and seagrass beds

Fanning LM, Al-Naimi MNasser, Range P, Ali A-SM, Bouwmeester J, Al-Jamali F, Burt JA, Ben-Hamadou R. Applying the ecosystem services - EBM framework to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reefs and seagrass beds. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2021 ;205:105566. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096456912100051X?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Given the current natural and anthropogenic threats facing Qatar's marine environment and the consequential expected decline in ecosystem services, this paper examines the potential application of the Ecosystem Services-EBM framework developed by Granek et al. (2010) to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reef and seagrass bed ecosystems. Using interviews with stakeholders and field-collected data from sixteen coral reef sites and 6 seagrass meadows as well as secondary data, the paper presents new knowledge regarding the status of these ecosystems and the benefits they provide that are most valued by stakeholders. The research identifies existing and missing ecological and socio-economic data, as well as the processes and management strategies required to implement the five-step framework within a Qatari context. Key goals for implementing EBM identified by stakeholders include: adoption of scientific planning and valuation of marine environment, contextualizing and drafting legislation, regulations and policies in support of EBM; monitoring and enforcement of laws; and, promotion of public awareness and engagement. The article concludes with recommendations for filling remaining data gaps and highlights opportunities available to Qatar to become a leader in implementing EBM. These include maximizing the increasing role that stakeholders can play in mitigating further decline of the country's coastal ecosystems and leveraging mega events planned in Qatar, such as FIFA World Cup 2022.

Evaluating the theoretical and practical linkages between ecosystem-based fisheries management and fisheries co-management

Cucuzza M, Stoll JS, Leslie HM. Evaluating the theoretical and practical linkages between ecosystem-based fisheries management and fisheries co-management. Marine Policy [Internet]. 2021 ;126:104390. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X20310411?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) is increasingly recognized as the future of fisheries conservation and stewardship, appearing prominently in policy documents internationally. Although considerable progress has been made to translate EBFM from theory to practice, limited attention has been given to assessing the theoretical and practical linkages between EBFM and fisheries co-management. While EBFM and fisheries co-management are not new ideas, growing interest in both compels reflection on the interplay of these concepts, even though they have traditionally been viewed as disparate approaches. We report on the results of a literature review that explored the extent to which EBFM and fisheries co-management are linked. We describe the fundamental drivers, attributes, and desired outcomes commonly used to characterize these management concepts and quantify the degree of overlap in the literature. To illustrate how EBFM and co-management are integrated in practice, we present three examples. These examples highlight that these concepts exist on a continuum, with elements of co-management regularly appearing in conventional management regimes and elements of EBFM appearing in fisheries co-management initiatives.

Estimated flows and biomass in a no-take coral reef from the eastern tropical Pacific through network analysis

Calderon-Aguilera LE, Reyes-Bonilla H, Olán-González M, Castañeda-Rivero FR, Perusquía-Ardón JC. Estimated flows and biomass in a no-take coral reef from the eastern tropical Pacific through network analysis. Ecological Indicators [Internet]. 2021 ;123:107359. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1470160X21000248?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

In the southern Gulf of California, the Cabo Pulmo reef has been the focus of many studies because it is the northern-most coral reef in the eastern Pacific. It is a paragon of a well-managed marine protected area. Under the assumption that fishing mortality is negligible, we want to identify and quantify major energy flows in an ecosystem without human intervention and describe the ecosystem resources and their interactions among species, to provide a tool for ecosystem-based management. We built a trophodynamic model using Ecopath to perform network analysis. Based on fieldwork (October 2017 – May 2018) and literature review, we identified 57 functional groups comprising 51 consumers (including 15 top predators), five primary producers plus detritus, and cluster analysis of trait profiles. The connectance index (0.17) and the system omnivory index (0.22) are low, suggesting that consumers feed on a few discrete trophic levels. Biomass of primary producers (grazing food chain; 186.8 t km−2) provides 9,813 t km−2 y−1, whereas flow from detritus supply 344.9 t km−2 y−1. The transfer efficiency decreases as flows go up the food web, from 12% at TL II to 4% at TL X, and throughput cycled (including detritus) = 118.7 t km−2 y−1. In comparison with other coral reefs, we found that Cabo Pulmo complies with the attributes to resist disturbances, with an estimated total system throughput = 95,789 t km−2 y−1, a net system production = 38,535 t km−2 y−1, a large mean path length = 12.11, ascendency = 123,662 (52%) flowbits and overhead = 116,164 (48%) flowbits. The high quality of the ecosystem services provided by Cabo Pulmo and the scenic beauty appeals to developers. Although the system is resilient, unregulated human activities may impact the reef condition and decrease the residents' quality of life and that of all the people who make a living from the low impact activities currently in effect. The trophic web model presented here may help to improve the response capacity of the coalition of residents, authorities, diving companies, and NGO's to preserve the reef and be a key element to conserve the system by contributing to its best management.

From ‘clean and green’ to ‘brown and down’: A synthesis of historical changes to biodiversity and marine ecosystems in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

Urlich SC, Handley SJ. From ‘clean and green’ to ‘brown and down’: A synthesis of historical changes to biodiversity and marine ecosystems in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2020 ;198:105349. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964569120302593?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is a potential antidote to the alleviation of multiple stressors in highly-valued and contested marine environments. An understanding of the magnitude and drivers of past ecosystem changes can inform the development of realistic ecological and social outcomes for different places. These goals should aim to increase the ecological health and resilience of coastal ecosystems and their connected land- and sea-scapes by minimising anthropogenic disturbances. To address knowledge gaps, we present a marine historical synthesis of the Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand's South Island. These rias are strongly coupled to the surrounding land and inland river catchments. We took an integrated approach by examining effects of land use change on coastal ecosystems, along with case studies of the effects of exploitation on foundational marine species. We found that ecosystems have gone through a series of transformations since Māori settlement ca. 700 years ago, with localised extirpations of marine megafauna, overharvesting of exploited species, and disruption to ecological functioning through ongoing clearfelling of terrestrial and marine biogenic communities since European settlement in the 1800s. There has been a decline from great abundance of marine life to relative scarcity, which is currently evident to local people in increased effort and reduced allowable catches of fish and shellfish. Recovery of biodiversity in the short-term within the Marlborough Sounds is uncertain, given ongoing multiple and interacting stressors from unsustainable land-use and over-exploitation of marine life. Lifting baselines are possible but will require significant changes to land and marine management to restore ecological health and enhance resilience in the face of climate change. Increased marine protection, regeneration of biodiverse biogenic habitats, spatial fishing measures to increase predators of sea urchins, stricter regulation of plantation forestry and a replanting prohibition in critical erosion source areas, are all needed within an EBM framework. Large experimental areas are proposed to develop, test and integrate different management techniques, and to facilitate community understanding, participation, and support for the transition to EBM.

Comparing feedback and spatial approaches to advance ecosystem-based fisheries management in a changing Antarctic

Klein ES, Watters GM. Comparing feedback and spatial approaches to advance ecosystem-based fisheries management in a changing Antarctic Ropert-Coudert Y. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2020 ;15(9):e0231954. Available from: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0231954
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

To implement ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management, decision makers need insight on the potential costs and benefits of the policy options available to them. In the Southern Ocean, two such options for addressing trade-offs between krill-dependent predators and the krill fishery include “feedback management” (FBM) strategies and marine protected areas (MPAs); in theory, the first adjusts to change, while the latter is robust to change. We compared two possible FBM options to a proposed MPA in the Antarctic Peninsula and Scotia Sea given a changing climate. One of our feedback options, based on the density of Antarctic krill (Euphasia superba), projected modest increases in the abundances of some populations of krill predators, whereas outcomes from our second FBM option, based on changes in the abundances of penguins, were more mixed, with some areas projecting predator population declines. The MPA resulted in greater increases in some, but not all, predator populations than either feedback strategy. We conclude that these differing outcomes relate to the ways the options separate fishing and predator foraging, either by continually shifting the spatial distribution of fishing away from potentially vulnerable populations (FBM) or by permanently closing areas to fishing (the MPA). For the krill fishery, we show that total catches could be maintained using an FBM approach or slightly increased with the MPA, but the fishery would be forced to adjust fishing locations and sometimes fish in areas of relatively low krill density–both potentially significant costs. Our work demonstrates the potential to shift, rather than avoid, ecological risks and the likely costs of fishing, indicating trade-offs for decision makers to consider.

Marine Heatwave Stress Test of Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management in the Gulf of Alaska Pacific Cod Fishery

Barbeaux SJ, Holsman K, Zador S. Marine Heatwave Stress Test of Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management in the Gulf of Alaska Pacific Cod Fishery. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00703/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1418755_45_Marine_20200903_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

In 2014–2016 an unprecedented warming event in the North Pacific Ocean triggered changes in ecosystem of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) impacting fisheries management. The marine heatwave was noteworthy in its geographical extent, depth range, and persistence, with evidence of shifts in species distribution and reduced productivity. In 2017 a groundfish survey indicated that GOA Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) had experienced a 71% decline in abundance from the previous 2015 survey. The GOA Pacific cod fishery supports a $103 million fishery which is 29% of the groundfish harvest value in the GOA. In this paper, we demonstrate that an increase in metabolic demand during this extended marine heatwave as well as a reduced prey supply can explain the decline in GOA Pacific cod biomass. Although increased mortality likely led to the decline in the Pacific cod population, historically low recruitment concurrent with the heatwave portends a slow recovery for the stock and gives a preview of impacts facing this region due to climate change. We evaluate the intersection of climate change with ecosystem-based fisheries management in the context of GOA Pacific cod with a description of the sensitivities of the ecosystem, how the changes in the ecosystem affected the Pacific cod stock, and a description of how the management system in the North Pacific handled this shock. We also provide suggestions on how fisheries management systems could be improved to better contend with the impacts of climate change such as the effects of heatwaves like that experienced in 2014–2016.

 

Shorebirds Affect Ecosystem Functioning on an Intertidal Mudflat

Booty JM, Underwood GJC, Parris A, Davies RG, Tolhurst TJ. Shorebirds Affect Ecosystem Functioning on an Intertidal Mudflat. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00685/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1418755_45_Marine_20200903_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Ecosystem functioning and services have provided a rationale for conservation over the past decades. Intertidal muddy sediments, and the microphytobenthic biofilms that inhabit them, perform crucial ecosystem functions including erosion protection, nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration. It has been suggested that predation on sediment macrofauna by shorebirds may impact biofilms, and shorebirds are known to consume biofilm, potentially causing significant top-down effects on mudflat ecosystem functioning. We carried out an exclusion experiment on the Colne Estuary, Essex, to examine whether shorebird presence significantly affects sediment erodibility measured with a Cohesive Strength Meter (CSM) and microphytobenthos biomass measured using PAM fluorescence (Fo) and chlorophyll a content. We also tested for treatment effects on sediment-water nutrient fluxes [nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, phosphate and dissolved organic carbon (DOC)] during periods of both dark and light incubation. Excluding shorebirds caused statistically significant changes in regulating and provisioning ecosystem functions, including mudflat erodibility and nutrient fluxes. The presence of shorebirds lowered the sediment critical erosion threshold τcr, reduced nitrate fluxes into the sediment under illumination, lowered nitrate efflux, and reduced phosphate uptake, compared to sediments where birds were excluded. There were no significant differences in macrofauna community composition within the sediment between treatments after 45 days of bird exclusion, suggesting a direct link between shorebird presence or absence and the significant differences in biofilm-related variables. This study introduces previously unknown effects of shorebird presence on ecosystem functions within this system and highlights an area of shorebird science that could aid joint conservation and human provisioning action.

Ecosystem-Based Harvest Control Rules for Norwegian and US Ecosystems

Kaplan IC, Hansen C, Morzaria-Luna HNalini, Girardin R, Marshall KN. Ecosystem-Based Harvest Control Rules for Norwegian and US Ecosystems. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00652/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1406443_45_Marine_20200818_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Management strategy evaluation (MSE) provides a simulation framework to test the performance of living marine resource management. MSE has now been adopted broadly for use in single-species fishery management, often using a relatively simple “operating model” that projects population dynamics of one species forward in time. However, many challenges in ecosystem-based management involve tradeoffs between multiple species and interactions of multiple stressors. Here we use complex operating models, multi-species ecosystem models of the California Current and Nordic and Barents Seas, to test threshold harvest control rules that explicitly address the linkage between predators and prey, and between the forage needs of predators and fisheries. Specifically, within Atlantis ecosystem models we focus on how forage (zooplankton) availability affects the performance of harvest rules for target fish, and how these harvest rules for fish can account for environmentally-driven fluctuations in zooplankton. Our investigation led to three main results. First, consistent with studies based on single-species operating models, we found that compared to constant F = FMSY policies, threshold rules led to higher target stock biomass for Pacific hake (Merluccius productus) in the California Current and mackerel (Scomber scombrus) in the Nordic and Barents Seas. Performance in terms of catch of these species varied depending partly on the biomass and recovery trajectory for the simulated stock. Secondly, the multi-species operating models and the harvest control rules that linked fishing mortality rates to prey biomass (zooplankton) led to increased catch variability; this stemmed directly from the harvest rule that frequently adjusted Pacific hake or mackerel fishing rates in response to zooplankton, which are quite variable in these two ecosystems. Thirdly, tests suggested that threshold rules that increased fishing when productivity (zooplankton) declined had the potential for strong ecosystem effects on other species. These effects were most apparent in the Nordic and Barents Seas simulations. The tests of harvest control rules here do not include uncertainty in monitoring of fish and zooplankton, nor do they include uncertainty in stock assessment and implementation; these would be required for full MSE. Additionally, we intentionally chose target fish with strong mechanistic links to particular zooplankton groups, with the simplifying assumption that zooplankton biomass followed a forced time series. Further developing and testing of ecosystem-level considerations can be achieved with end-to-end ecosystem models, such as the Atlantis models applied here, which have the added benefit of tracking the follow-on effects of the harvest control rule on the broader ecosystem.

Global hotspots for coastal ecosystem-based adaptation

Jones HP, Nickel B, Srebotnjak T, Turner W, Gonzalez-Roglich M, Zavaleta E, Hole DG. Global hotspots for coastal ecosystem-based adaptation Villamayor-Tomas S. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2020 ;15(5):e0233005. Available from: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0233005
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Helping the world’s coastal communities adapt to climate change impacts requires evaluating the vulnerability of coastal communities and assessing adaptation options. This includes understanding the potential for ‘natural’ infrastructure (ecosystems and the biodiversity that underpins them) to reduce communities’ vulnerability, alongside more traditional ‘hard’ infrastructure approaches. Here we present a spatially explicit global evaluation of the vulnerability of coastal-dwelling human populations to key climate change exposures and explore the potential for coastal ecosystems to help people adapt to climate change (ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA)). We find that mangroves and coral reefs are particularly well situated to help people cope with current weather extremes, a function that will only increase in importance as people adapt to climate change now and in coming decades. We find that around 30.9 million people living within 2km of the coast are highly vulnerable to tropical storms and sea-level rise (SLR). Mangroves and coral reefs overlap these threats to at least 5.3 and 3.4 million people, respectively, with substantial potential to dissipate storm surges and improve resilience against SLR effects. Significant co-benefits from mangroves also accrue, with 896 million metric tons of carbon stored in their soils and above- and below-ground biomass. Our framework offers a tool for prioritizing ‘hotspots’ of coastal EbA potential for further, national and local analyses to quantify risk reduction and, thereby, guide investment in coastal ecosystems to help people adapt to climate change. In doing so, it underscores the global role that conserving and restoring ecosystems can play in protecting human lives and livelihoods, as well as biodiversity, in the face of climate change.

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