Understanding global patterns of biodiversity change is crucial for conservation research, policies and practices. However, for most ecosystems, the lack of systematically collected data at a global level limits our understanding of biodiversity changes and their local-scale drivers. Here we address this challenge by focusing on wetlands, which are among the most biodiverse and productive of any environments1,2 and which provide essential ecosystem services3,4, but are also amongst the most seriously threatened ecosystems3,5. Using birds as an indicator taxon of wetland biodiversity, we model time-series abundance data for 461 waterbird species at 25,769 survey sites across the globe. We show that the strongest predictor of changes in waterbird abundance, and of conservation efforts having beneficial effects, is the effective governance of a country. In areas in which governance is on average less effective, such as western and central Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and South America, waterbird declines are particularly pronounced; a higher protected area coverage of wetland environments facilitates waterbird increases, but only in countries with more effective governance. Our findings highlight that sociopolitical instability can lead to biodiversity loss and undermine the benefit of existing conservation efforts, such as the expansion of protected area coverage. Furthermore, data deficiencies in areas with less effective governance could lead to underestimations of the extent of the current biodiversity crisis.
Governance and Legal Frameworks
Scientific literature calls for a shift from exclusively technical towards enhanced social processes in risk management to cope with the challenges of increased complex governance regimes wherein different interests of contrasting institutions need to be considered, balanced and negotiated. However, practical implementation of this integrative perspective is still a major challenge – underlined amongst others by the recently published Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030.
By proposing an Integrated Risk Management Approach (IRMA) we contribute to simplified conditions in the transfer from scientific debates into practical implementation. Looking in particular on coastal regions, IRMA focus the user’s view on the essential challenges in terms of enhanced multi-sectoral structures and improved social and flexible processes, as much as it gives advice on its methodical realization. Using our practical experiences in the trilateral Wadden Sea Region, we disclose IRMA’s contribution on enhanced consideration of historical framing, risk perceptions, risk awareness and enhanced multi-stakeholder participation. Multi-stakeholder participation, institutionalised in multi-stakeholder partnerships, makes an essential contribution towards enhanced collaborative processes between scientists, policy-makers and affected communities.
While some progress has been made, Europe is far from achieving its policy objective of healthy aquatic ecosystems. This paper presents an integrated assessment of how EU policies influence aquatic biodiversity, in order to determine how EU policies and laws contribute to achieving and/or hindering EU and international biodiversity targets. The paper also discusses whether European policy has a synergistic or conflicting mix of instruments to address the main problems facing aquatic biodiversity, and whether gaps in the existing policy framework exist. The integrated policy review assessment presented in this paper is based on the application of the drivers–pressures–state–impact–responses (DPSIR) framework to six known pressures on aquatic biodiversity, selected to provide a representative range: nitrogen pollution, species extraction, invasive alien species, water abstraction, alterations to morphology, and plastic waste. The DPSIR framework is used to characterize these pressures and how they are influenced by underpinning socio-economic drivers and major European policies. The conclusions highlight that the policy framework is most developed when it comes to defining environmental targets and sets a number of instruments to reduce pressures by encouraging the adoption of more resource-efficient practices, but it becomes less specific when tackling sectors (drivers) and supporting more environmental sound economic development
A State-of-the-Art review of scientific literature related with beach governance is presented by utilizing the Tree of Science® tool – ToS. In a search conducted in November 2016, 47 papers were found in the Web of Science® with the combination of words ‘beach’ and ‘governance’. Papers were classified by ToS in roots (high input degree; n = 8), trunks (high intermediation degree; n = 9) and leaves (high output degree; n = 30). The Ocean and Coastal Management Journal was the most relevant journal, with 10 articles published (21,3%), and Elsevier was the most relevant publisher in this topic (n = 25; 53%). About authors, E. Ariza was the most relevant author, with articles in roots, trunks and leaves and participation in four of papers revised. Analysis by country of authors’ affiliation shows a leading by USA (n = 28; 18%), closely followed by the UK (n = 22; 14%) and Spain (n = 17; 11%). A general overview identifies a growing ToS in beach governance, with some strong references in trunks and leaves, and several other references receiving less attention by the scientific community. Finally, a prospective analysis from branches suggest that the scientific community is researching around four subtopics (Policy and legal framework, Participation/co-management, Resources Management, Public/Common Rights), which in the near future could be a new ToS in the forest of beach management theme.
This article presents an innovative collaborative approach, which aims to reinforce and institutionalize the field of the political anthropology of the sea combined with the natural sciences. It begins by relating the evolution in coastal areas, from integrated coastal zone management to the notion of adaptive co-management. It then sets out what contribution the social sciences of politics may bring to our understanding of the government/governance of the sea in terms of sustainable development, starting with political science and then highlighting the importance of a deep anthropological and socio-historical approach. Finally, it gives us a glimpse of the benefits of combining the human and social sciences with the natural sciences to produce a critical analysis of the categories of thought and action associated with the systemic management of the environment, especially the coastal areas.
The Marine Protected Area Governance (MPAG) framework was developed to offer a structured, empirical approach for analysing governance and has been applied to marine protected areas (MPAs) around the world. This study sees the novel application of the MPAG framework to a small-scale mangrove crab fishery in northwest Madagascar. The country typifies developing country environmental governance challenges, due to its poverty, political instability and lack of state capacity, with bottom-up approaches often identified as a potential solution. In this context, small-scale fisheries (SSF) play a vital role in food security and poverty alleviation but are vulnerable to over-exploitation. The case study examines community-based management, including the role of three nascent fishing association managing portions of the fishery, within a mangrove ecosystem. Despite issues with underrepresentation of fishers in local resource management organizations that have partial responsibility for the mangrove habitats, some management measures and incentives have been applied, including the replantation of mangroves and fishery-wide gear restrictions. However, the analysis highlights market forces and migration are drivers with negative synergistic effects that cannot be controlled by bottom-up management. Incentives identified as needed or in need or strengthening require the support of external actors, the state, industry and or NGO(s). Thus, governance approaches should seek integration and move away from polarised solutions (top-down vs- bottom-up). As shown by other MPAG case studies, effective governance is dependent on achieving 'resilience through diversity', in terms of the diversity of both the actors and the incentives they are able to collectively employ.
The present importance of oceanic topics -fishery included- is characterized by the existence of conflicts at a global, not compartmentalized, level that no country can keep out of. The greatest awareness about questions linked to fishery resource sustainability - such as the need to arbitrate acts designed to regulate fishery access conditions; the application of different business strategies and conflicts among both national and international jurisdictions (high sea and transzonal areas). That is why the need of implementing new enhancements regarding behavior codes applied by producers, as well as regarding the decisions adopted by public authorities within the framework of fishery regulation, in the context of a Global Sustainable Development.
The main objective of this work is reviewing the successive policies related to the management of the fishery resources, as well as to determine the key elements of the governance, in relation to the behavior of the actors involved in this activity. Fisheries management is also taken into consideration from the institutional level and from the actors involved. The information analyzed was obtained from an extensive review of the academic literature and through interviews with companies and personalities related to the fishing activity. As a conclusion, some measures are proposed to promote a better organizational functioning of the sector, eliminating the existing dysfunctional ones and reconciling conflicting interests. These measures suggest incorporating dimensions from ecosystems, socio-economic systems and institutional aspects. We conclude that management systems should be institutional agreements and administrative processes with the capacity to articulate a fisheries policy.
This article reports on new research that finds certain messages reduce fear of sharks, key to promoting conservation-minded responses to shark bites. Here it is argued that the sophistication in public feelings toward these highly emotional events has allowed new actors to mobilize and given rise to the ‘Save the Sharks’ movement. In a unique experiment coupling randomly assigned intent-based priming messages with exposure to sharks in a ‘shark tunnel’, a potential path to reduce public fear of sharks and alter policy preferences is investigated. Priming for the absence of intent yielded significant fear extinction effects, providing a viable means of increasing support for non-lethal policy options following shark bite incidents. High levels of pride and low levels of blame for bite incidents are also found. In all, this article provides a step towards improving our understanding of fear and fear reduction in public policy.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has set targets for the total area of marine protected areas (MPAs), as well as targets to encourage a participatory approach to governance with equitable sharing of benefits of these areas to multiple stakeholders. These targets have contributed to a considerable volume of research in MPA governance, and in the ecological effectiveness of MPAs. However, examining the literature demonstrates there is very little joined up research to show that any particular governance approach results in improved ecological indices of fish stocks or biodiversity. Indeed, some of the well-cited examples of participatory governance implying improved ecological metrics are either incorrect (as data do not relate to MPAs under participatory governance systems), or do not provide any ecological data other than opinions of fishers to back up the claims. Evidence suggests that participatory governance approaches with equitable sharing of benefits can help the establishment and management of MPAs, and as such, there should be urgent further work assessing the ecological benefits that arise as a result of the establishment of MPAs with participatory and equitable governance approaches.
The European Union requires that major legislative actions undergo an impact assessment (IA), but this methodology is often not adapted to policy measures in complex situations, as the coexistence of marine protected areas and small scale fisheries.
The appropriateness of the IA methodology currently in use is tested on the example of a small scale fishery in a protected area in the German coast in the Baltic Sea (Fehmarn island). The impact of the fisheries management measures is first assessed using the available data and the results are then checked with the local fishermen and a producer organization representative using a focus group. Given the discrepancies identified in the focus group, additional methodologies are explored.
By performing a literature review and a workshop with scientists, fishermen representatives, environmental organizations and managers, inputs from political science (the “wicked problem” approach) and philosophy of science (the NUSAP matrix) are applied to cope with the context of high uncertainty driven by poor ecological, economic and social data.
This case study brings the opportunity to identify challenges as the assessment of biodiversity and potentially conflictive differences in national policy objectives under different EU policies (including the Common Fisheries Policy), in a way that goes beyond the contribution of other commonly used management tools as impact assessment and spatial planning. The usefulness of the approach resides both in a better identification of impacts on small scale fisheries and the unveiling of hidden governance conflicts that prevent the fulfilment of the objectives of policy measures.