Tools and Data

Towards a Unified Vision for Ocean Data Management in Canada: Results of an Expert Forum

Wilson L, Smit M, Wallace DWR. Towards a Unified Vision for Ocean Data Management in Canada: Results of an Expert Forum. Halifax: Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAN); 2016. Available from: http://www.meopar.ca/news/entry/workshop-report-ocean-data-management
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

The world’s oceans are a critical part of the Earth system. Sound knowledge and understanding of the oceans is essential for mitigating human impacts on the global environment and for promoting sustainable economic use of the marine environment, including: the safe and sustainable use of natural resources; the assessment of and adaptation to climate change; deep knowledge about complex and interconnected ecosystems; our understanding of the entire Earth system;

and health and public safety. Knowledge and understanding, in turn, depends on access to accurate, rich, available, and integrated ocean data, much of which is generated by regional Ocean Observing Systems (OOS) operating in our ocean and coastal zones. Such data is also increasingly relevant to stakeholders outside the oceans community, with a recent report suggesting that the industry sector engaged with ocean observation had revenues of over $7 billion in the U.S. alone, driven in part by their national OOS (NOAA, 2016). A careful re- examination of our data management practices, including how we share, access, and use data, is necessary to ensure we are leveraging Canada’s ocean data to best support scientific excellence, foster collaboration and innovation, and harness ocean data to inform decision-makers and other stakeholders.

The Expert Forum on Ocean Data Management (November 18-19, 2015 in Montreal, Canada) brought together national and international experts and stakeholders to present and evaluate international best practices in managing data from ocean observations, the current state of ocean data collected and managed in Canada, and goals and visions for the future of ocean data management (ODM) in Canada. Planned based on input from the Community of Practice on Ocean Data Management (CoP ODM), and organized and sponsored by the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) network, this forum built on previous events including a national Data Management Workshop (March, 2014) and a joint DFO-MEOPAR Workshop on Ocean Data Management in the Atlantic Canada Region (July, 2015). Over fifty participants from government, academia, and the private sector attended.

Tools for integrating environmental objectives into policy and practice: What works where?

Runhaar H. Tools for integrating environmental objectives into policy and practice: What works where?. Environmental Impact Assessment Review [Internet]. 2016 ;59:1 - 9. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195925515300366
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

An abundance of approaches, strategies, and instruments – in short: tools – have been developed that intend to stimulate or facilitate the integration of a variety of environmental objectives into development planning, national or regional sectoral policies, international agreements, business strategies, etc. These tools include legally mandatory procedures, such as Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment; more voluntary tools such as environmental indicators developed by scientists and planning tools; green budgeting, etc. A relatively underexplored question is what integration tool fits what particular purposes and contexts, in short: “what works where?”. This paper intends to contribute to answering this question, by first providing conceptual clarity about what integration entails, by suggesting and illustrating a classification of integration tools, and finally by summarising some of the lessons learned about how and why integration tools are (not) used and with what outcomes, particularly in terms of promoting the integration of environmental objectives.

Stakeholder analysis for marine conservation planning using public participation GIS

Brown G, Strickland-Munro J, Kobryn H, Moore SA. Stakeholder analysis for marine conservation planning using public participation GIS. Applied Geography [Internet]. 2016 ;67:77 - 93. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0143622815300308
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Stakeholders are presumed to represent different interests for marine and coastal areas with the potential to influence marine protected area planning and management. We implemented a public participation GIS (PPGIS) system in the remote Kimberley region of Australia to identify the spatial values and preferences for marine and coastal areas. We assessed similarities and differences in PPGIS participants (N = 578) using three operational definitions for “stakeholder” based on: (1) self-identified group, (2) self-identified future interests in the region, and (3) participant value orientation that reflects a preferred trade-off between environmental and economic outcomes. We found moderate levels of association between alternative stakeholder classifications that were logically related to general and place-specific participatory mapping behavior in the study region. We then analyzed how stakeholder classifications influence specific management preferences for proposed marine protected areas (MPAs) in the study region. Conservation-related values and preferences dominated the mapped results in all proposed marine reserves, the likely result of volunteer sampling bias by conservation stakeholder interests participating in the study. However, we suggest these results may also reflect the highly politicized process of marine conservation planning in the Kimberley where conservation efforts have recently emerged and galvanized to oppose a major offshore gas development and associated land-based infrastructure. Consistent with other participatory mapping studies, our results indicate that the chosen operational definition for stakeholder group such as group identity versus interests can influence participatory mapping outcomes, with implications for MPA designation and management. Future research is needed to better understand the strengths and limitations of participatory mapping that is framed in stakeholder perspectives, especially when sampling relies heavily on volunteer recruitment and participation methods that appear predisposed to participatory bias. In parallel, practical efforts to ensure that social research efforts such as this are included in MPA planning must remain of the highest priority for scientists and managers alike.

Negotiation and Decision Making with Collaborative Software: How MarineMap ‘Changed the Game’ in California’s Marine Life Protected Act Initiative

Cravens AE. Negotiation and Decision Making with Collaborative Software: How MarineMap ‘Changed the Game’ in California’s Marine Life Protected Act Initiative. Environmental Management [Internet]. 2015 . Available from: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00267-015-0615-9
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Environmental managers and planners have become increasingly enthusiastic about the potential of decision support tools (DSTs) to improve environmental decision-making processes as information technology transforms many aspects of daily life. Discussions about DSTs, however, rarely recognize the range of ways software can influence users’ negotiation, problem-solving, or decision-making strategies and incentives, in part because there are few empirical studies of completed processes that used technology. This mixed-methods study—which draws on data from approximately 60 semi-structured interviews and an online survey—examines how one geospatial DST influenced participants’ experiences during a multi-year marine planning process in California. Results suggest that DSTs can facilitate communication by creating a common language, help users understand the geography and scientific criteria in play during the process, aid stakeholders in identifying shared or diverging interests, and facilitate joint problem solving. The same design features that enabled the tool to aid in decision making, however, also presented surprising challenges in certain circumstances by, for example, making it difficult for participants to discuss information that was not spatially represented on the map-based interface. The study also highlights the importance of the social context in which software is developed and implemented, suggesting that the relationship between the software development team and other participants may be as important as technical software design in shaping how DSTs add value. The paper concludes with considerations to inform the future use of DSTs in environmental decision-making processes.

Geographic Information System in a Multi-Criteria Tool for Mariculture Site Selection

Micael J, Costa AC, Aguiar P, Medeiros A, Calado H. Geographic Information System in a Multi-Criteria Tool for Mariculture Site Selection. Coastal Management [Internet]. 2015 ;43(1):52 - 66. Available from: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08920753.2014.985178
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The continuous growth in fish consumption and related activities is stressing the fishing industry worldwide. To counteract this, mariculture might represent an opportunity for consumers, industry and marine resource sustainability, as long as careful site selection is taken into consideration. The current study was developed to assess potential sites for the implementation of marine fish-cage industries on the Azores Archipelago (North Atlantic), through the application of a multi-criteria approach based on geographic information. Descriptors that may have either direct or indirect influences on the development of mariculture activity in the Açores were discriminated into factors and constraints and grouped into environmental, socioeconomic, and administrative categories. Factors were weighted and data integrated using geographic information system (GIS) methods. Suitability maps were generated and a total area of 17.7 km2 was identified as suitable for mariculture in São Miguel Island, segmented into different option levels. This multiple criteria approach provides the information necessary for stakeholders to realize the effects of each descriptor in possible implementation sites for mariculture. This will be a useful tool to improve environmental planning, management and decision-making for mariculture activities.

Coping with climate change: The role of spatial decision support tools in facilitating community adaptation

Lieske DJ. Coping with climate change: The role of spatial decision support tools in facilitating community adaptation. Environmental Modelling & Software [Internet]. 2015 ;68:98 - 109. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364815215000547
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Climate change challenges communities to visualize spatial patterns of risk, assess their vulnerability to those risks, and prepare adaptation plans to lower vulnerability. This paper outlines the design and implementation of a prototype web-based spatial decision support system (SDSS), referred to as the Community Adaptation Viewer (CAV), to assist adaptation planning. Thin-client, Javascript enabled web-SDSS software was constructed to allow interaction with urban infrastructure, and support “on-the-fly” assessment of social and economic vulnerability. Facilitated, decision-making workshops were conducted with small groups of stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness of the prototype. The test case illustrates that high levels of information integration are practical to achieve, and that the SDSS can significantly enhance the ability of communities to conduct elaborate, geographically-specific climate change adaptation planning. Given the long time frame required to fulfil some adaptation plans, it is crucial that communities begin to develop and invest in adaptation strategies as soon as possible.

Evaluating conservation and fisheries management strategies by linking spatial prioritization software and ecosystem and fisheries modelling tools

Metcalfe K, Vaz S, Engelhard GH, Villanueva MChing, Smith RJ, Mackinson S. Evaluating conservation and fisheries management strategies by linking spatial prioritization software and ecosystem and fisheries modelling tools Punt A. Journal of Applied Ecology [Internet]. 2015 . Available from: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/1365-2664.12404
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article
  1. Well-designed marine protected area (MPA) networks can deliver a range of ecological, economic and social benefits, and so a great deal of research has focused on developing spatial conservation prioritization tools to help identify important areas.
  2. However, whilst these software tools are designed to identify MPA networks that both represent biodiversity and minimize impacts on stakeholders, they do not consider complex ecological processes. Thus, it is difficult to determine the impacts that proposed MPAs could have on marine ecosystem health, fisheries and fisheries sustainability.
  3. Using the eastern English Channel as a case study, this paper explores an approach to address these issues by identifying a series of MPA networks using the Marxan and Marxan with Zones conservation planning software and linking them with a spatially explicit ecosystem model developed in Ecopath with Ecosim. We then use these to investigate potential trade-offs associated with adopting different MPA management strategies.
  4. Limited-take MPAs, which restrict the use of some fishing gears, could have positive benefits for conservation and fisheries in the eastern English Channel, even though they generally receive far less attention in research on MPA network design.
  5. Our findings, however, also clearly indicate that no-take MPAs should form an integral component of proposed MPA networks in the eastern English Channel, as they not only result in substantial increases in ecosystem biomass, fisheries catches and the biomass of commercially valuable target species, but are fundamental to maintaining the sustainability of the fisheries.
  6. Synthesis and applications. Using the existing software tools Marxan with Zones and Ecopath with Ecosim in combination provides a powerful policy-screening approach. This could help inform marine spatial planning by identifying potential conflicts and by designing new regulations that better balance conservation objectives and stakeholder interests. In addition, it highlights that appropriate combinations of no-take and limited-take marine protected areas might be the most effective when making trade-offs between long-term ecological benefits and short-term political acceptability.

An Operational Web-Based Indicator System for Integrated Coastal Zone Management

Hansen H, Fuglsang M. An Operational Web-Based Indicator System for Integrated Coastal Zone Management. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information [Internet]. 2014 ;3(1):326 - 344. Available from: http://www.mdpi.com/2220-9964/3/1/326/
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Coastal zones are under severe pressure from anthropogenic activities, as well as on-going climate change with associated sea level rise and increased storminess. These challenges call for integrated and forward looking solutions. The concept on Integrated Coastal Zone Management, as defined during the last twenty years, provides the overall policy frames, but tools to support the planning and management efforts are almost lacking. Furthermore, the forward-looking dimension to embrace the effects of climate change is nearly absent in most implementations. The BLAST project, financed by the European Union Regional Fund through the INTERREG IV North Sea Region Programme, aimed at developing a web-based decision support system to assist Integrated Coastal Zone Management from a climate change perspective, and the current paper describes the methods used and the computing platform for implementing a decision support system. The software applied in developing the system is mainly Open Source components, thus, facilitating a more widespread use of the system.

Intra-annual wave resource characterization for energy exploitation: A new decision-aid tool

Carballo R, Sánchez M, Ramos V, Fraguela JA, Iglesias G. Intra-annual wave resource characterization for energy exploitation: A new decision-aid tool. Energy Conversion and Management [Internet]. 2015 ;93:1 - 8. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0196890414011078
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The wave energy resource is usually characterized by a significant variability throughout the year. In estimating the power performance of a Wave Energy Converter (WEC) it is fundamental to take into account this variability; indeed, an estimate based on mean annual values may well result in a wrong decision making. In this work, a novel decision-aid tool, iWEDGE (intra-annual Wave Energy Diagram GEnerator) is developed and implemented to a coastal region of interest, the Death Coast (Spain), one of the regions in Europe with the largest wave resource. Following a comprehensive procedure, and based on deep water wave data and high-resolution numerical modelling, this tool provides the monthly high-resolution characterization matrices (or energy diagrams) for any location of interest. In other words, the information required for the accurate computation of the intra-annual performance of any WEC at any location within the region covered is made available. Finally, an application of iWEDGE to the site of a proposed wave farm is presented. The results obtained highlight the importance of the decision-aid tool herein provided for wave energy exploitation.

A decision-support tool to facilitate discussion of no-take boundaries for Marine Protected Areas during stakeholder consultation processes

Stortini CH, Shackell NL, O’Dor RK. A decision-support tool to facilitate discussion of no-take boundaries for Marine Protected Areas during stakeholder consultation processes. Journal for Nature Conservation [Internet]. 2015 . Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1617138114000831
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are proposed to help conserve marine biodiversity and ecological integrity. There is much guidance on the optimal design of MPAs but once potential MPAs are identified there is little guidance on defining the final no-take boundaries. This is especially problematic in temperate zones where ecological boundaries are “fuzzy”, which can be quite complicated during a consultation process involving the government and divergent stakeholder groups. More decision-support tools are needed to help stakeholders and government agencies objectively compare conservation and socio-economic trade-offs among proposed boundary options. To that end, we developed a method to identify which boundary minimizes spatial overlap of highly vulnerable species and a dominant stressor. We used the recently proposed boundary options of a candidate MPA in Atlantic Canada to illustrate our method. We evaluated the vulnerability of 23 key species to bottom trawling, the most prevalent stressor in the area. We then compared the spatial overlap of the most vulnerable species and the 2002–2011 footprint of bottom trawling among boundary options. The best boundary option was identified as that which minimized spatial overlap and total area. This approach identifies boundary options which provide the greatest protection of vulnerable species from their most significant stressor, at limited socio-economic cost. It is an objective decision-support tool to help stakeholders agree on final boundaries for MPAs.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Tools and Data