The increasing technological efficiency of harvesting equipment has been identified as one of the main causes of overcapacity and overexploitation of natural resources. In this paper, a formal model is developed which studies the effects of technological efficiency as an endogenous variable within a bioeconomic system. We model capital investments in a fishery, where investment decisions are made less frequently than the allocation of variable inputs. We study how the possibility to invest in capital affects open access dynamics, and also the evolution of cooperative harvesting norms. We find that the possibility to make large capital investments can destabilize cooperation, especially if enforcement capacity is low. Further, we find that communities can preserve cooperation by agreeing on a resource level that is lower than socially-optimal. This reduces the incentive to deviate from the cooperative strategy and invest in capital.
Social-Ecological Systems and Human Wellbeing
The framework proposed by Ostrom (2009) has become one of the most utilized tools to address the complexity of social-ecological systems. Most cases use this framework to analyze the systems from the perspective of a single resource unit. However, the livelihoods in several coastal communities are diverse, so that the users interact with multiple common-pool resources, which makes their analysis difficult. In this sense, it is important to identify the key elements of management to achieve the sustainable use of the resources. In this study, we were able to do this in a coastal community where commercial fishing, ecotourism, and recreational fishing coexist. The system of interest, located in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, was subdivided by resource type using a multi-method approach to data collection including surveys, interviews, and records review. A conceptual map was developed that shows how the second-tier variables are integrated through the governance and actors with the biophysical system. The actors involved in lobster fishing achieved a more complex governance system, followed by the ecotourism and recreational fishing; the complexity of the governance was related with the equity level of the actors. The analysis revealed the research gaps to develop management strategies and improve the sustainability of the system.
Sustainable landscape planning and management of coastal habitats has become an integral part of the global agenda due to anthroprogenic pressures and climate change-induced events. As an example of human-engineered infrastructure that enhances the sustainability and resilience of coastal social-ecological systems (SES), we have presented the dumbeong system, a farmer-engineered and managed irrigation system based on Korean traditional ecological knowledge. We analyzed the spatial relationship of dumbeongs with coastal landscape attributes and droughts in Goseong County in South Korea. We used generalized linear models (GLMs) to examine the effects of land cover and recent (2001–2010) standardized precipitation index (SPI) on the abundance of dumbeongs. Then, we projected near future (2020–2050) changes in the SPI-based drought risk for the dumbeong system using representative concentration pathway (RCP) climate scenarios. We found that forest and marine water areas have positive relations with dumbeong abundance, whereas SPI has a negative relation, indicating that the dumbeongs are more abundant in areas close to sea water and forests, and with higher incidences of drought. Derived climate change scenarios show that the study region will experience higher incidence of drought. Our findings provide empirical evidence for the dumbeongsystem as an effective community designed and driven adaptive response to local hydrological processes and climatic conditions, and as climate-resilient infrastructure that strengthens sustainability and resilience of coastal SES. Based on our findings, we provide recommendations for sustainable landscape management and optimal use of the dumbeong system in coastal regions.
Tourism plays a vital role in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Achieving sustainable tourism is a continuous process, requiring the informed participation of all relevant stakeholders, as well as strong political leadership to ensure broad participation and consensus building (Making Tourism More Sustainable - A Guide for Policy Makers, United Nations Environment Programme and United Nations World Tourism Organization, 2005, p.11–12).
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are special areas of the marine environment specifically established and managed, through legal or other effective mechanisms, to “achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values” (Day et al., International Union for Conservation of Nature, 2012). Tourism development has been considered a key accompanying strategy in creating alternative livelihood options for communities living adjacent to MPAs, particularly in Nha Trang Bay (NTB), where the first MPA was...
In search for sustainability of the oceans, the concept of resilience arises as a necessary perspective from which to analyse what course of action to take. Resilience refers to the capacity of a system to absorb change, but also to adapt and develop in face of those changes. Resilience thinking has recently permeated the sphere of legal studies, and the two fields have been interested in exploring the impact they have on one another. To explore this interaction further in the context of the management of the oceans, the present paper looks at areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) as a socio-ecological system. It argues that the law can be a tool for improving the resilience of a system, but that it must, for that purpose, be able to ensure at least some adaptive capacity. In light of the upcoming, consolidated regime for the sustainable management of biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) through the development of an internationally legally binding agreement on the topic, and considering the uncertainty surrounding our knowledge of ABNJ, this paper suggests to look at the BBNJ agreement from the perspective of resilience thinking. The paper explores how this perspective could bring new insights to the development of the BBNJ agreement, as well as the emerging literature linking law and resilience.
Studies of commercial fishing have shown that it is a hazardous occupation with high rates of injury and fatal accidents. Research has also identified a range of other health risks faced by fishers, yet the general health outcomes of fishers have not been compared to those of workers in other industries. This study aimed to assess self-reported health outcomes among workers in the fishing industry, and to compare this to those working in other industries. Drawing on 2011 census data for England and Wales we used generalised linear models to compare self-reported measures of 1) general health and 2) limiting long-term illness across industry categories, calculating odds ratios adjusted for age, geographic region and socio-economic profile of local authorities. Of the population working in 87 industry classes, those in category ‘03 Fishing and aquaculture’ had the fifth highest rate of poor general health (2.8% reported ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ health) and the sixth highest rate of reporting limiting long-term illness (10.3% reported their activities to be limited ‘a lot’ or ‘a little’). Odds ratios adjusted for age, geographic region and socio-economic profile of local authorities showed that only two other industries demonstrated statistical evidence for higher odds of poor general health or limiting long-term illness than workers in fishing and aquaculture. This study demonstrates that fishing is among the industries with the poorest general health and limiting long-term illness outcomes in the UK, demonstrating the need for tailored occupational health services to support UK fishing communities.
Despite extensive recent research elucidating the complex relationship between ecosystem services and human wellbeing, little work has sought to understand howecosystem services contribute to wellbeing and poverty alleviation. This paper adopts concepts from the “Theory of Human Need” and the “Capability Approach” to both identify the multitude of links occurring between ecosystem services and wellbeing domains, and to understand the mechanisms through which ecosystem services contribute to wellbeing. Focus Group Discussions (N = 40) were carried out at 8 sites in Mozambique and Kenya to elicit how, why, and to what extent benefits derived from ecosystem services contribute to different wellbeing domains. Our results highlight three types of mechanisms through which ecosystem services contribute to wellbeing, monetary, use and experience. The consideration of these mechanisms can inform the development of interventions that aim to protect or improve flows of benefits to people. Firstly, interventions that support multiple types of mechanisms will likely support multiple domains of wellbeing. Secondly, overemphasising certain types of mechanism over others could lead to negative social feedbacks, threatening the future flows of ecosystem services. Finally, the three mechanism types are interlinked and can act synergistically to enhance the capacities of individuals to convert ecosystem services to wellbeing.
While hydrocarbon exploration and extraction in the Arctic ebb and flow, reduced sea ice has opened new travel routes across the Arctic. The opening of the Northwest Passage has allowed larger ships (including oil tankers) and higher traffic into remote regions. More ice loss is expected in the future. With this comes the potential for hydrocarbon spills. To quantify the ecosystem impacts of a spill in the Alaska North Slope region, an Ecospace model using the Ecopath with Ecosim software was developed. We highlight the impacts of four potential hydrocarbon contamination scenarios: a subsurface crude oil pipeline release, a surface platform oil spill, a surface cruise ship diesel spill, and a surface tanker oil spill. Hydrocarbon contamination was modeled using SIMAP (Spill Impact Model Analysis Package), which was developed from the oil fate sub-model in the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Model for the US Department of the Interior and under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). Spatial-temporal SIMAP results were coupled to the Ecospace model. We show that in all four hydrocarbon contamination scenarios, there are spatial changes in harvested species resulting in long-term declines in harvest levels for the communities within the model area (Nuiqsut, Kaktovik, and Barrow Alaska), depending on the severity of the scenario. Responses to hydrocarbon events are likely to be slow in the Arctic, limited by the ice-free season. We highlight this area for scenario testing as ecological impacts are also an issue of food security to the local communities and human health issue.
“Forecasting and Understanding Trends, Uncertainty and Responses of North Pacific Marine Ecosystems” (FUTURE) is the flagship integrative Scientific Program undertaken by the member nations and affiliates of the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES). A principal goal of FUTURE is to develop a framework for investigating interactions across disciplinary dimensions in order to most effectively understand large-scale ecosystem changes and resulting impacts on coastal communities. These interactions are complex, often nonlinear, occur across a range of spatial and temporal scales, and can complicate management approaches to shared and trans-boundary problems. Here, we present a Social–Ecological–Environmental Systems (SEES) framework to coordinate and integrate marine science within PICES. We demonstrate the application of this framework by applying it to four “crisis” case studies: (a) species alternation in the western North Pacific; (b) ecosystem impacts of an extreme heat wave in the eastern North Pacific; (c) jellyfish blooms in the western North Pacific; and (d) Pacific basin-scale warming and species distributional shifts. Our approach fosters a common transdisciplinary language and knowledge base across diverse expertise, providing the basis for developing better integrated end-to-end models. PICES provides the structure required to address these and other multi-national, inter-disciplinary issues we face in the North Pacific. An effective and comprehensive SEES approach is broadly applicable to understanding and maintaining resilient marine ecosystems within a changing climate.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are among the most widely accepted methods of marine management. MPAs are not, however, always placed such that they can maximize impact on conservation and livelihoods. Current MPA guidelines fall short in focusing primarily on biophysical criteria, overlooking interrelated socioeconomic factors. We identified 32 socioeconomic factors that influence whether MPA placement has an impact on biodiversity and/or livelihoods and weighted the quality of evidence using a novel “Evidence for Impact” Score. Results suggest that stakeholder engagement, poverty, population density, and strong leadership have most potential to positively impact biodiversity and/or livelihoods, but the direction of impact (i.e., positive or negative) can be context-dependent. We found a generally poor evidence base for impact evaluation of socioeconomic factors: though some factors were highly cited, few studies actually evaluate impact. Results indicate the need for a more interdisciplinary approach to MPA placement and more empirical studies that assess impact.