Scholars argue that conventional environmental governance approaches have not been effective in reversing or slowing the deterioration of coupled social-ecological systems (SESs). Recent research suggests that resilience thinking offers a useful framework to analyse problems in SESs and could help improve the effectiveness of associated governance systems. Much of the available literature explores this from a theoretical perspective, identifying advantages from resilience thinking to improve governance of SESs. This paper builds on this literature, creating a set of attributes that are used to assess the specific challenges of a particular multi-level Tasmanian coastal governance context, and thus clarify where intervention responses are best directed. In this context, a low level of resilience capacity was apparent across the entire governance system. At the national level, we determined that knowledge management and sharing processes, and the diversity of expertise were the only attributes contributing to resilience capacity, with other attributes insufficiently developed to support any level of resilience. The performance was similarly poor at the Tasmanian state level, with leadership, adaptive planning, organisational flexibility and a supportive legislation framework at critically low capacity. Inter-organisational attributes also required significant improvement. On the other hand, a regional natural resource management body and two coastal local governments demonstrated attributes supportive of resilience capacity, including aspects related to leadership, transparent decision-making, stakeholder engagement, organisational learning, knowledge sharing and flexibility. These findings confirm that resilience thinking can offer practical suggestions for how to improve governance of this, particularly challenging context.
There is a good understanding of past and present coastal processes as a result of coastal monitoring programmes within the UK. However, one of the key challenges for coastal managers in the face of climate change is future coastal change and vulnerability of infrastructure and communities to flooding. Drawing on a vulnerability-led and decision-centric framework (VL-DC) a Decision Support Tool (DST) is developed which, combines new observations and modelling to explore the future vulnerability to sea-level rise and storms for nuclear energy sites in Britain. The combination of these numerical projections within the DST and a Real Options Analysis (ROA) delivers essential support for: (i) improved response to extreme events and (ii) a strategy that builds climate change resilience.
Coastal wetlands are some of the most valuable ecosystems on Earth because they provide many ecological services for coastal security. However, these wetlands are seriously threatened by accelerated climate change and intensive anthropogenic activities. To understand the impacts of land reclamation on landscape change of coastal wetlands and the long-term effects of disturbances of coastal wetlands on their sustainable management, we used time-series Landsat imagery with an object-oriented classification and Digital Shoreline Analysis System to map wetland changes within a reclaimed area in the Pudong District (PD), in Shanghai, China. Our analysis indicated that from 1989 to 2013, 19,793.4 ha of coastal wetlands have been changed to inland wetlands enclosed by a seawall and dike since 1989, thereby cutting off the exchange of sediment and water flux between the wetlands and the coastal ocean. Subsequently, under the increasing threats of anthropogenic activities, the wetland ecosystem collapsed sharply, in a transformation chain of inland wetland (fresh swamp), artificial wetland (agriculture and aquaculture wetland), and non-wetland (urban land). Under this explosive utilization following coastal reclamation, only 8.9% of natural wetlands remain in the reclaimed area, which has experienced an average annual wetland loss rate of 3.8% over the past 24 years. More than 80% of the wetlands have been developed for agricultural, industrial, and urban land uses, leading to an enormous loss of associated ecological services—benefits arising from the ecological functions provided by wetland ecosystems, thereby undermining the coastal protection these wetlands provided. Nevertheless, considerable regeneration of wetlands occurred because of their inherent resilience. This paper addresses the importance of maintaining a balance between economic growth and coastal ecological protection for sustainable management. It proposes a strategy for how ecosystem-based land planning and ecological engineering should be applied to ensure the effective and sustainable management of living shorelines so that the benefits of healthy ecological functions accrue to coastal ecosystems.
There is an urgent need for an improved empirical understanding of the relationship among biodiverse marine resources, human health and development outcomes. Coral reefs are often at this intersection for developing nations in the tropics—an ecosystem targeted for biodiversity conservation and one that provides sustenance and livelihoods for many coastal communities. To explore these relationships, we use the comparative development contexts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola. We combine child nutrition data from the Demographic Health Survey with coastal proximity and coral reef habitat diversity, and condition to empirically test human benefits of marine natural resources in differing development contexts. Our results indicate that coastal children have a reduced likelihood of severe stunting in Haiti but have increased likelihoods of stunting and reduced dietary diversity in the Dominican Republic. These contrasting results are likely due to the differential in developed infrastructure and market access. Our analyses did not demonstrate an association between more diverse and less degraded coral reefs and better childhood nutrition. The results highlight the complexities of modelling interactions between the health of humans and natural systems, and indicate the next steps needed to support integrated development programming.
There are new, and increasing, pressures facing coastal communities, including socio‐economic and environmental change, exploitation of resources, urban development and the predicted impacts of climate change. The cumulative and interacting effect of these challenges may result in socio‐economic and physical decline. This paper responds to calls for more detailed investigation into coastal regeneration by providing empirical evidence (interviews, observations, policy analysis) on specific coastal resorts on the island of Ireland. In doing so it builds on an emerging area of research that suggests coastal regeneration may be theoretically and practically informed by “resilience thinking”. The case study findings highlight differing, and sometimes competing values, perceptions and priorities at the local level and highlight the challenges facing striving resorts seeking to find their contemporary identity and enhance their resilience to future change.
The mullet fishery system encompasses a complex arrange of ecological and socioeconomic factors interacting in multiple scales on the Southern-Southeastern Brazilian coast. Similarly, to other fisheries in developing countries, overfishing and poor governance have been threatening the resilience of the mullet fishery. In this paper, we explore aspects related to fisheries management from the perspective of the concept of resilience. The industrial and artisanal fishery sectors represent the different stakeholders. The main issues of concern are related to failures in the fisheries management to properly address equity in resource access and resource use sustainability among stakeholders. Asymmetry in technology and political and economic power affect food security and income generation especially for subsistence and small-scale fishing. Despite changes in rules-in-use, overfishing and conflicts between resource users are still relevant. Fishery dynamics and resource availability are greatly affected locally by forces such as pollution, urbanization, non-selective fishing, and regionally, by the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and industrial (purse-seine) fishery. Considering the influence of ENSO on this fishery, a time span of at least 7 years to investigate this system could provide better answers to improve the management. Effective resilient fisheries should rely on three aspects. First, there should be a flexible fish allocation system based on ecosystem variability. Secondly, fish allocation should prioritize food security and poverty alleviation. Thirdly, a monitoring system should be implemented that takes into consideration ecosystem, fisheries and human dimensions to support a flexible and adaptive fisheries management, with resilient fisheries as an ultimate goal.
Fishermen seek to maximize profits so when choosing where to fish, they must consider interactions among the environment, costs, and fish prices. We examined catcher vessels in the U.S. Bering Sea fishery for walleye pollock (2003- 2015) to characterize fisher responses to environmental change (e.g., abundance and water temperature). When pollock were abundant and water warm, the fleet fished in similar locations. When temperatures were cooler or pollock abundance declined, two fishing strategies emerged, depending on the processor where a vessel delivered. One vessel group, whose catches were more likely to become fillets, often made shorter trips, requiring less fuel and time at-sea. A second vessel group, whose catches were more likely to become surimi, traveled farther from port, to regions with higher catch rates but generally smaller fish. By fishing in different locations to satisfy different markets, the fleet sustained revenues and buffered against environmental change. We identify a suite of socioeconomic indicators of the impacts of ecosystem change and illustrate that a one-vessel-fits-all approach may be insufficient for assessing the resilience of fleets.
Disturbances such as disease can reshape communities through interruption of ecological interactions. Changes to population demographics alter how effectively a species performs its ecological role. While a population may recover in density, this may not translate to recovery of ecological function. In 2013, a sea star wasting syndrome outbreak caused mass mortality of the keystone predator Pisaster ochraceus on the North American Pacific coast. We analyzed sea star counts, biomass, size distributions, and recruitment from long‐term intertidal monitoring sites from San Diego to Alaska to assess regional trends in sea star recovery following the outbreak. Recruitment, an indicator of population recovery, has been spatially patchy and varied within and among regions of the coast. Despite sea star counts approaching predisease numbers, sea star biomass, a measure of predation potential on the mussel Mytilus californianus, has remained low. This indicates that post‐outbreak populations have not regained their full predation pressure. The regional variability in percent of recovering sites suggested differences in factors promoting sea star recovery between regions but did not show consistent patterns in postoutbreak recruitment on a coast‐wide scale. These results shape predictions of where changes in community composition are likely to occur in years following the disease outbreak and provide insight into how populations of keystone species resume their ecological roles following mortality‐inducing disturbances.
To describe, model and assess the relative importance of environmental and climatic factors likely influencing the regional distribution of coral cover and assemblages with contrasting life histories and susceptibilities to bleaching.
We compiled the first comprehensive empirical dataset for coral communities in the south-eastern Indian Ocean (SEIO), incorporating information from 392 sites along the western coast of Australia and offshore atolls/islands across ~19° of latitude.
We assessed hard coral cover and community composition to genus using point-intercept transects or point-count analysis of digital images taken along transects. We explored spatial variation in environmental conditions and in composition of corals with contrasting life histories. After de-trending the temporal patterns, we assessed the relative importance of environmental metrics to coral cover, life histories and bleaching susceptibility using a full subsets model-selection approach with generalized additive mixed models, accounting for both temporal and among site variation.
The distribution of temperature, light, the frequency of temperature anomalies and tropical cyclones appear to be drivers of coral community structure. Functional diversity of low- to mid-latitude coral communities may convey some resilience to thermal stress, while higher latitude communities dominated by Competitive and Bleaching-Susceptible taxa may lack this functional resilience. These patterns likely reflect varying historical exposure to cyclones and temperature anomalies.
As evident in recent years, changing background conditions and regimes of disturbance in coming decades will shift the distribution, functional diversity and resilience of coral reefs throughout the SEIO. The rate and magnitude of environmental change will ultimately determine the future of the tropical reefs and whether the higher latitude reefs provide some refuge from climate change. Our study highlights the need to quantify the distributional properties of key environmental metrics to better understand and predict reef condition through coming decades.
Ecosystem services have become an important component of planning discussions at local, state, national and international levels. These services have also more recently figured into discussions of community resilience to hazard events. For the majority of ecosystem services, some contribution of human capital inputs, which we term Enabling Economic Inputs (EEIs) in this paper, are necessary to convert the raw ecosystem service flow into an ecosystem service benefit obtained by people. This paper evaluates a subset of EEIs related to coastal ecosystem services associated with (1) fishing and shellfishing; (2) recreational boating; and (3) recreational beach use. After developing a conceptual approach for EEIs, this research develops a methodology for spatially evaluating EEIs. Using a hot-spot analysis of establishments based on the North American Industrial Classification System codes, nodes in the supply chain for ecosystem services within the Long Island region are identified and analyzed. The paper concludes with an evaluation of how information on the supply chain of ecosystem services may assist in resiliency planning in coastal communities. Further research is needed to fully evaluate the conveyance system that translocates ecosystem services from supply areas to demand areas, and this research is an initial step in that direction.