The development of the marine renewable energy (MRE) will impact traditional users of the marine resource, such as commercial fishermen. This could potentially lead to opposition and spatial conflict. The successful development of the MRE sector will heavily depend on the acceptance of projects by fishing communities. Effective stakeholder engagement is crucial to enhancing acceptance among fishermen. The consultation process is one of the key ways in which to engage fishermen and enable them to participate in decision-making. There is agreement among experts in the field that despite its importance, the consultation process is not effective and it is often carried out from the top down with little opportunity for real participation. A mixed methods research approach was used to examine the experiences of fishermen on their level of involvement in consultations and decision-making on marine renewable energy projects. In total, 104 surveys and 14 in-depth interviews were carried out with fishermen operating from ports at three case study sites around the island of Ireland where MRE projects were being developed. Just over half (56%) of those surveyed felt that they had been involved in consultations, while only 22% felt that they had been involved in decisions made on the projects. The use of participatory mapping tools in the selection of sites for MRE development provides an opportunity for fishermen to influence decisions. Designing and implementing marine spatial plans could also help to provide clarity and transparency over how trade-offs in the use of sea space are dealt with.
Effective conservation requires knowledge exchange among scientists and decision-makers to enable learning and support evidence-based decision-making. Efforts to improve knowledge exchange have been hindered by a paucity of empirically-grounded guidance to help scientists and practitioners design and implement research programs that actively facilitate knowledge exchange. To address this, we evaluated the Ningaloo Research Program (NRP), which was designed to generate new scientific knowledge to support evidence-based decisions about the management of the Ningaloo Marine Park in north-western Australia. Specifically, we evaluated (1) outcomes of the NRP, including the extent to which new knowledge informed management decisions; (2) the barriers that prevented knowledge exchange among scientists and managers; (3) the key requirements for improving knowledge exchange processes in the future; and (4) the core capacities that are required to support knowledge exchange processes. While the NRP generated expansive and multidisciplinary science outputs directly relevant to the management of the Ningaloo Marine Park, decision-makers are largely unaware of this knowledge and little has been integrated into decision-making processes. A range of barriers prevented efficient and effective knowledge exchange among scientists and decision-makers including cultural differences among the groups, institutional barriers within decision-making agencies, scientific outputs that were not translated for decision-makers and poor alignment between research design and actual knowledge needs. We identify a set of principles to be implemented routinely as part of any applied research program, including; (i) stakeholder mapping prior to the commencement of research programs to identify all stakeholders, (ii) research questions to be co-developed with stakeholders, (iii) implementation of participatory research approaches, (iv) use of a knowledge broker, and (v) tailored knowledge management systems. Finally, we articulate the individual, institutional and financial capacities that must be developed to underpin successful knowledge exchange strategies.
The Bay Institute’s major new study, San Francisco Bay: The Freshwater – Starved Estuary, documents how the ecological health of San Francisco Bay and the nearby ocean is at high risk because large-scale water diversion in the Bay’s watershed severely limits the amount of fresh water that reaches the Bay and alters the timing of that flow. Inflow to the Bay from its Central Valley watershed now averages less than half of what it would be without diversions; in some years just one-third of the runoff makes it to the Bay. The result is a nearly permanent drought for the Bay’s fish, wildlife, and their habitats. This radical alteration creates severe consequences for the Bay and marine ecosystems – and Bay Area residents pay the price.
The study shows how unsustainable diversion of the Bay’s freshwater inflow:
- Dramatically cuts production of fish and shrimp that are the food source for marine mammals, like Orca Whales, and birds;
- Allows pollutants to accumulate to dangerous levels and encourages blooms of toxic algae;
- Reduces sediment supply to Bay Area wetlands and beaches;
- Makes it easier for undesirable non-native species to successfully invade the Bay Estuary.
The San Francisco Bay Estuary is created by the mixing of fresh water from the Central Valley’s rivers with salt water from the Pacific Ocean. Dramatically reducing the inflow of fresh water generates cascading effects in the Bay’s watershed, the Bay itself, and coastal ocean waters.
From nano-plastics to large sunken vessels, marine debris presents a threat to humans and ecosystems worldwide. Fishermen's knowledge of the sources of, and risks posed by medium to large debris derived from fishing, aquaculture, and other marine industries provides important context for debris mitigation. Public participation geographic information systems (PPGIS) can address these risks by integrating subjective and objective spatial data on human and environmental impacts and risks. We integrated fishermen's perceptions and experiences with marine debris with spatial data using PPGIS. We developed a georeferenced database of fishermen's experiences with marine debris, collected during focus groups and at various other meetings in Southwest New Brunswick. This layer was used to integrate baseline data with subjective perceptions of the ecological, economic, and navigational risks associated with marine debris in the Bay of Fundy, Canada. We also documented the physical, technical, political, and regulatory challenges to marine debris mitigation. These challenges highlight the social and environmental processes that complicate any projects that attempt to develop uncontested spatial representations of marine debris. Finally, we discuss the potential of PPGIS to address these challenges by fostering communication, coordinating various marine activities, helping stakeholders set priorities for clean-up, and implementing collaborative clean-up projects.
As climate change continues to impact socio-ecological systems, tools that assist conservation managers to understand vulnerability and target adaptations are essential. Quantitative assessments of vulnerability are rare because available frameworks are complex and lack guidance for dealing with data limitations and integrating across scales and disciplines. This paper describes a semi-quantitative method for assessing vulnerability to climate change that integrates socio-ecological factors to address management objectives and support decision-making. The method applies a framework first adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and uses a structured 10-step process. The scores for each framework element are normalized and multiplied to produce a vulnerability score and then the assessed components are ranked from high to low vulnerability. Sensitivity analyses determine which indicators most influence the analysis and the resultant decision-making process so data quality for these indicators can be reviewed to increase robustness. Prioritisation of components for conservation considers other economic, social and cultural values with vulnerability rankings to target actions that reduce vulnerability to climate change by decreasing exposure or sensitivity and/or increasing adaptive capacity. This framework provides practical decision-support and has been applied to marine ecosystems and fisheries, with two case applications provided as examples: (1) food security in Pacific Island nations under climate-driven fish declines, and (2) fisheries in the Gulf of Carpentaria, northern Australia. The step-wise process outlined here is broadly applicable and can be undertaken with minimal resources using existing data, thereby having great potential to inform adaptive natural resource management in diverse locations.
The growth of beach tourism has increased the need for acceptable, practical and sustainable policies. Overcrowding, sand loss, habitat destruction, littering, water pollution, among others problems, are commonly documented arising from booming beach activities. The objective of this paper was to identify management priorities and estimate carrying capacity of a high-use beach from tourists’ perspectives. In this way, managers can make informed decisions, leading to enhanced beach quality. Specific procedures to fulfill this objective were progressively established to identify potential actions that address the concerns facing the beach environment. A body of data was collected by means of questionnaires. Results showed that beach cleanliness, safety, information provision, sediment and habitat management, and overcrowding were considered important by tourists, reflecting the areas of priority for actions. If a policy is set to avoid tourists overcrowding, the carrying capacity limit was estimated to be 680 people at one time and 2040 people on a daily basis. In this scenario, a tourist enjoys on average 22.06 square meters of the beach space. Results from focus group discussion suggest a list of potential actions targeting these management priorities. This helps to build a participative policy approach to sustainable beach development. Finally, taking special care in putting the management priorities into practice was discussed to facilitate beach management.
Coastal communities worldwide are faced with climate change effects that include sea level rise and increases in the severity and frequency of storms. We present a framework for coastal adaptation to these impacts in planning efforts, using the landscape of the Toms River-Barnegat Bay ecosystem in New Jersey (eastern coast of United States, 90 km south of New York City) as a case study. This plan is a proof-of-concept, showing that collaborative design can improve the ability of shore regions in many regions to recover from storms and sea level rise if it uses a broad concept of the shore’s ecological and geomorphological structures. Ecological connections are maintained or restored from the sand beach through the tidal bay to the mainland Pine Barrens, allowing species to migrate inland as their ecosystems change over time. This plan also re-envisions shore tourism by attracting visitors to the larger and wider shore area, an approach that can maintain or even increase social and economic activity as sea level changes. Transportation routes connecting the changing shoreline area to inland sites help to integrate social activities throughout the region. Watershed based projects to handle stormwater runoff from severe inland storms are also required. These principles can be applied in any coastal landscape where sea level rise is expected. This approach was fostered and supported by a USHUD program – Rebuild by Design – to incorporate unique, collaborative, architectural and ecological approaches to changing climate and sea level rise in Hurricane Sandy-affected states. These ecological concepts can be adapted for use to maintain biotic and economic processes in threatened coastal communities.
The purpose of this study is to assess the resilience of socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS) of Lefke Region in North Cyprus in the face of disturbance factors (e.g. drought, urbanization and land abandonment) by adopting a set of indicators. The main objectives of the study include measurement of the respective resilience of the ecological, social and agricultural systems of the SEPLS by using relevant indicators. The method of the study consists of three parts: (i) conceptualization of the resilience of the SEPLS of Lefke Region to address the key systems (ecosystem, agricultural and social), their hierarchical structures, components and interrelations; (ii) development of a set of suitable resilience assessment indicators for these systems; (iii) for the development of resilience assessment indicators a participatory approach was designated to collect the relevant data. Accordingly, a multiple-choice questionnaire – consisting of 5 choices – was prepared and relevant data were collected from December 2015 to March 2016 in 12 villages through personal interviews with 106 respondents.
The respondents have expressed their preferences by selecting the most suitable choice in 5 which were ordered from the lowest to the highest degree of resilience (1–5 point scale). The results of the evaluation revealed that the average values (importance) of the ecological, agricultural and social resilience are respectively 2,87 (low), 3,44 (moderate) and 2,53 (low) out of maximum 5-points. The overall resilience of the SEPLS was estimated to be low with a 2,94 magnitude. Finally, some conclusions (e.g. integrated landscape management) for strengthening the resilience of the SEPLS in Lefke Region in terms of biodiversity conservation, agricultural production and sustainable livelihood development were drawn based on the major findings of the study.
It is expected that the findings and conclusions of this study can draw attention of policy makers and natural resource managers on building and strengthening the resilience of the SEPLS of Lefke Region in terms of biodiversity conservation, sustainable agricultural production and livelihood development.
Protected Areas (PAs) are one effective means to address biodiversity loss. Unfortunately, the history of PA establishment includes forced removal of people from lands that become parks and restrictions on access and use of lands and waters by local people. Relationships between PA managers, stakeholders, including local people, remain in many instances, difficult. This challenges the ability to create new PAs in Canada, where consent by local residents and other stakeholders is critical for PA establishment. This research examines governance of PAs as a means to improve relationships between PA authorities and local communities. Determining how much power communities wish to have over decision-making and their preferred methods for sharing power permits greater understanding of how to build relationships with communities, stakeholders and partners that are respectful, trustworthy and sustainable. Pukaskwa National Park and Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) both in Northwestern, Ontario on the North Shore of Lake Superior, were studied along with their relationships to the nearby communities of Marathon and Terrace Bay, respectively. Pukaskwa, has been present on the landscape for over thirty years, while Lake Superior NMCA is in the process of establishment. The proximity of the PAs to each other and the communities to the PAs, along with the evolution of the respective guiding legislations, offered uniquely complex circumstances to investigate. A mixed methods approach to the research was employed involving the analysis of 190 community surveys and oral interviews with members of Town Councils from both communities. Few studies in Canada have examined governance of PAs and no study has examined governance of federally PAs in Northern Ontario. The results indicate that residents of the communities of Marathon and Terrace Bay, support the purposes of the PAs and multiple means of communicating with them about decisions made about the PAs. Clearly favouring the involvement of local people in decision-making about the PAs, respondents also recognized the importance of involving PA staff and scientists in decision-making. Visitors to Pukaskwa were also found to be important to decision-making. The findings further show that community members are resolute that Parks Canada have some control over decision-making. Marathon residents are comfortable with less collaboration and power sharing with Parks Canada than are residents of Terrace Bay. The results are sentinel to achieving approaches to citizen involvement in decision-making about PAs in ways that are meaningful to local residents. Achieving local support for PAs secures an option for governments to use that is critical to addressing biodiversity loss, important for improving human health and maintaining society’s connection to nature.
Global biodiversity is in decline, with the marine environment experiencing significant and increasing anthropogenic pressures. In response marine protected areas (MPAs) have increasingly been adopted as the flagship approach to marine conservation, many covering enormous areas. At present, however, the lack of biological sampling makes prioritising which regions of the ocean to protect, especially over large spatial scales, particularly problematic. Here we present an interdisciplinary approach to marine landscape mapping at the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia as an effective protocol for underpinning large-scale (105–106 km2) MPA designations. We have developed a new high-resolution (100 m) digital elevation model (DEM) of the region and integrated this DEM with bathymetry-derived parameters, modelled oceanographic data, and satellite primary productivity data. These interdisciplinary datasets were used to apply an objective statistical approach to hierarchically partition and map the benthic environment into physical habitats types. We assess the potential application of physical habitat classifications as proxies for biological structuring and the application of the landscape mapping for informing on marine spatial planning.