People’s livelihoods in tropical small-island developing states are greatly dependent on marine ecosystem services. Yet services such as fisheries and coastal buffering are being degraded at an alarming rate, thus making people increasing vulnerable to protracted and sudden environmental changes. In the context of the occurrences of extreme events such as earthquakes and tsunamis, it is vital to uncover the processes that make people in these island states resilient, or not, to environmental disruptions. This paper compares people’s perceptions of social and environmental impacts after an extreme event in the Western Solomon Islands (11 different villages on 8 different islands) to better understand how knowledge systems influence the coupling of human and natural systems. We examine the factors that contributed to perceptions of respective recovery in the environmental versus the social domains across communities with different traditional governance and modernization characteristics in a tsunami impact gradient. First, we separately assessed, at the community and individual level, the potential determinants of perceived recovery in the environmental and social domains. At the community level, the average values of the perceived environmental and social recovery were calculated for each community (1 year after the tsunami), and at the individual level, normally distributed environmental and social recovery variables (based on the difference in perceptions immediately and 1 year after the tsunami) were used as dependent variables in two General Linear Models. Results suggest that environmental and social resilience are not always coupled correspondingly and, less unexpectedly, that asymmetries during recovery can occur as a result of the underlying social and ecological context and existing adaptive capacity. More generally, the study shows how by evaluating post-disturbance perceptional data in tsunami-affected communities, we can better understand how subjective perceptions of change can affect the (de)-coupling of human and natural systems.
This study aimed to assess the suitability of the Berkowitz' (2005) social norms approach (SNA) for improving compliance behaviour amongst recreational fishers. A total of 138 recreational shore anglers were interviewed in Eastern Cape, South Africa and asked about their compliance, attitudes towards compliance, perceptions of compliance and the attitudes of other anglers. Results indicate that angler compliance for individual regulations was relatively high (75%–90%). Attitudes of anglers towards compliance was positive, with >80% feeling that “breaking any regulation is wrong.” Yet, as predicted by the SNA, interviewees often overestimated the non-compliance and negative attitudes of other anglers, particularly as their social proximity decreased. Interviewees with the greatest misperceptions were also less compliant. The social norms present in the Eastern Cape rock and surf fishery fulfil the criteria required for the application of the SNA, suggesting that this approach may provide a suitable normative intervention for improving compliance to be used in conjunction with instrumental approaches in recreational fisheries.
Ecological restoration is widely practiced as a means of rehabilitating ecosystems and habitats that have been degraded or impaired through human use or other causes. Restoration practices now are confronted by climate change, which has the potential to influence long-term restoration outcomes. Concepts and attributes from the resilience literature can help improve restoration and monitoring efforts under changing climate conditions. We systematically examined the published literature on ecological resilience to identify biological, chemical, and physical attributes that confer resilience to climate change. We identified 45 attributes explicitly related to climate change and classified them as individual- (9), population- (6), community- (7), ecosystem- (7), or process-level attributes (16). Individual studies defined resilience as resistance to change or recovery from disturbance, and only a few studies explicitly included both concepts in their definition of resilience. We found that individual and population attributes generally are suited to species- or habitat-specific restoration actions and applicable at the population scale. Community attributes are better suited to habitat-specific restoration at the site scale, or system-wide restoration at the ecosystem scale. Ecosystem and process attributes vary considerably in their type and applicability. We summarize these relationships in a decision support table and provide three example applications to illustrate how these classifications can be used to prioritize climate change resilience attributes for specific restoration actions. We suggest that (1) including resilience as an explicit planning objective could increase the success of restoration projects, (2) considering the ecological context and focal scale of a restoration action is essential in choosing appropriate resilience attributes, and (3) certain ecological attributes, such as diversity and connectivity, are more commonly considered to confer resilience because they apply to a wide variety of species and ecosystems. We propose that identifying sources of ecological resilience is a critical step in restoring ecosystems in a changing climate.
Biological invasions are a major threat to the world's biota and are considered a major cause of biodiversity loss. Therefore, world marine policy has recognized the need for more marine protected areas (MPAs) as a major tool for biodiversity conservation. The present work experimentally evaluated how protected communities from an offshore island can face the settlement and/or expansion of nonindigenous species (NIS). First, NIS colonization success in marine protected and marina communities was compared by deploying PVC settling plates at the Garajau MPA and Funchal marina (SW Madeira Island). Then, the settling plates from the MPA were transferred to Funchal marina to test their resistance to NIS invasion under high levels of NIS pressure. Results indicated that the structure and composition of fouling communities from the MPA differed from those collected in the marina. Interestingly, communities from the protected area showed lower NIS colonization success, suggesting some degree of biotic resistance against NIS invasion.
The coasts hold great potential for ‘Blue Growth’, and major industrial and infrastructural developments are already happening there. Such growth, however, comes with risks to marine ecosystems and coastal communities. Competition for space and resources intensifies, turning the coast into an area of social and political conflict, including contestation about knowledge. I argue that there is a need for institutional innovation that allows knowledge integration and conflict resolution to be more interactive and synergistic. The paper critically analyses discourses and practices of interactive governance and co-management while visiting Foucault’s power/knowledge concept for investigating the normativity and effects of participation discourses and practices. This is followed by a discussion of multiple governance paths and their different combinations of resources and forms of expert and local social and ecological knowledge so as to see how they can help resolve conflicts, and enhance governability within maritime spatial planning (MSP) in a way that also serves to create a level playing field for all stakeholders. A particular focus will be on the small-scale fisheries sector, which is the lest powerful stakeholder and the most vulnerable to external pressures. Will MSP help to empower or further marginalize small-scale fishers and fisheries communities?
The protection of species requires an understanding of their habitat requirements and how habitat characteristics affect their distribution, survival and growth. This need is especially important in areas where anthropogenic pressures can not only have a significant direct impact on the survival of the species but also damage their habitat. The Firth of Clyde in southwestern Scotland was an important commercial fishing area for a variety of demersal fish species up until 1973. However, stocks rapidly declined thereafter and the catch of targeted species ceased in 2005, despite fisheries measures put in place to aid recovery. Changes in the availability and quality of fish habitat are possible explanations for this lack of recovery. Here, we report on stereo baited remote underwater video surveys in the Firth of Clyde between June and September in 2013 and 2014 to determine the habitat of juvenile Atlantic cod Gadus morhua, haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus and whiting Merlangius merlangus. Habitat predictor variables explored included substratum type, depth, wave fetch, and epibenthic and demersal fauna diversity. G. morhua were most abundant in shallow, sheltered areas composed of gravel-pebble containing maerl. M. aeglefinus and M. merlangus predominated over deeper sand and mud. Ontogenetic shifts in all 3 species were also observed. Relative abundances of G. morhua and M. merlangus were positively related to the diversity of epibenthic and demersal fauna. Our results indicate that spatial conservation measures to benefit demersal fish should be advised by patterns of epibenthic and demersal fauna diversity as well as physical substratum types.
The exploitation status of marine fisheries stocks worldwide is of critical importance for food security, ecosystem conservation, and fishery sustainability. Applying a suite of data-limited methods to global catch data, combined through an ensemble modeling approach, we provide quantitative estimates of exploitation status for 785 fish stocks. Fifty six percent (439 stocks) are below BMSY and of these, 261 are estimated to be below 80% of the BMSYlevel. While the 178 stocks above 80% of BMSY are conventionally considered “fully exploited”, stocks staying at this level for many years, forego substantial yield. Our results enable managers to consider more detailed information than simply a categorization of stocks as “fully” or “over” exploited. Our approach is reproducible, allows consistent application to a broad range of stocks, and can be easily updated as new data become available. Applied on an ongoing basis, this approach can provide critical, more detailed information for resource management for more exploited fish stocks than currently available.
Humanity is facing a biodiversity crisis. To solve environmental problems, we bring people from Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority to the same table. Conservation efforts are beneficial for all communities and facilitate constructive dialog across divides in conflict zones. This pleads for the integration of nature conservation into peacebuilding interventions.
Dredging can have significant impacts on benthic marine organisms through mechanisms such as sedimentation and reduction in light availability as a result of increased suspension of sediments. Phototrophic marine organisms and those with limited mobility are particularly at risk from the effects of dredging. The potential impacts of dredging on benthic species depend on biological processes including feeding mechanism, mobility, life history characteristics (LHCs), stage of development and environmental conditions. Environmental windows (EWs) are a management technique in which dredging activities are permitted during specific periods throughout the year; avoiding periods of increased vulnerability for particular organisms in specific locations. In this review we identify these critical ecological processes for temperate and tropical marine benthic organisms; and examine if EWs could be used to mitigate dredging impacts using Western Australia (WA) as a case study. We examined LHCs for a range of marine taxa and identified, where possible, their vulnerability to dredging. Large gaps in knowledge exist for the timing of LHCs for major species of marine invertebrates, seagrasses and macroalgae, increasing uncertainty around their vulnerability to an increase in suspended sediments or light attenuation. We conclude that there is currently insufficient scientific basis to justify the adoption of generic EWs for dredging operations in WA for any group of organisms other than corals and possibly for temperate seagrasses. This is due to; 1) the temporal and spatial variation in the timing of known critical life history stages of different species; and 2) our current level of knowledge and understanding of the critical life history stages and characteristics for most taxa and for most areas being largely inadequate to justify any meaningful EW selection. As such, we suggest that EWs are only considered on a case-by-case basis to protect ecologically or economically important species for which sufficient location-specific information is available, with consideration of probable exposures associated with a given mode of dredging.