Welcome to PAP/RAC Mediterranean Coastal Alert! This newsletter is regularly updated monthly. It contains abstracts of selected current articles and archives on various environmental themes, in particular those dealing with all aspects of coastal issues. The selection is made from the articles published in the leading international scientific journals. This newsletter is an excellent way of keeping you updated with coastal studies and processes.

In this issue Issue No. 39, 2012-02-01

Testing coastal zone management in France
(Abstract...)

Oil spill hazard and risk assessment for the shorelines of a Mediterranean coastal archipelago
(Abstract...)

Dealing with landscape fuzziness in user preference studies: Photo-based questionnaires in the Mediterranean context
(Abstract...)

Climate change effects on stream and river temperatures across the northwest U.S. from 1980–2009 and implications for salmonid fishes
(Abstract...)

Abstract

Testing coastal zone management in France

In a previous article (Deboudt et al., 2008) we analyzed the transformation of the French coastal zone planning and development policies from 1970 to 2007. The last decade has been marked by the search for a balanced development of coastal territories using Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM). Specifically, in 2005, the French government launched a Call for Proposals, which garnered 49 candidate projects from which 25 ICZM pilot projects were selected. Researchers conducted a preliminary evaluation of the objectives of these projects and then evaluated them while they were running, finishing at the end of 2007. Based on Internet research and discussions with the stakeholders involved in these projects, we conducted a final evaluation 3 years after this ICZM experimentation ended. We asked the following questions: What is the final evaluation of the experimentation conducted within the context of the call for ICZM proposals (Datar, Secrétariat Général de la Mer, 2006)? What is the final evaluation of the 25 projects selected in 2005? Was the ICZM approach extended beyond the experimental period? Was the ICZM approach implemented by the stakeholders of the non-selected projects? Although ICZM has permitted a prospective approach, an inter-communal planning approach (e.g., for determining the SCOT (Schéma de cohérence territoriale: Territorial Cohesion Scheme boundaries), and the resolution of use conflicts, our global analysis of the final evaluation of the 25 projects allowed us to distinguish several orientations to be reinforced in territorial planning projects or ICZM implementation. These orientations concern land/sea integration and the appropriation of ICZM stakes at the coastal commune scale. Over the past three years (2007 - 2010), the foundations of the French coastal planning policies have considerably evolved under the influence of European policies. After the 2002 Recommendation, which led to identifying a new governance form for defining territorial planning projects based on ICZM, the 2008 French Prime Minister must lead to reinforcing the protections for the marine environment and land/sea integration. This perspective has already been discussed at the French Grenelle Environment Forum in 2007 and at the French Grenelle Maritime Forum in 2009. This discussion is going to accelerate the institutionalization of ICZM in France.

Keywords: Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM); France; Call for Proposals; Evaluation; ICZM approach.

Source: P. Deboudt (2012); “Testing coastal zone management in France”, to appear in: Ocean and Coastal Management, Volume 57, March 2012, pages 62 – 78; Available online: 22 November 2011.

Contact: philippe.deboudt@univ-lille1.fr

Link: ScienceDirect

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Oil spill hazard and risk assessment for the shorelines of a Mediterranean coastal archipelago

Oil spill is a serious threat for all marine and coastal environments. This is even more true for areas having high environmental, social and/or touristic value. A serious and scientifically rigorous identification of the hazard and risk related to oil slicks is becoming mandatory, in order to reduce or mitigate the impact of oil dispersal at sea and its stranding. A new model based method for evaluating hazard of oil slicks contact with shorelines of the Archipelago of La Maddalena (Strait of Bonifacio, Sardinia, Italy) has been developed and applied. The core of the methodology is a coastal 3D finite elements model, able to simulate hydrodynamics and waves of the strait of Bonifacio and, through a Lagrangian module, the physical/chemical fate of the oil at sea. In order to estimate the hazard due to oil slicks for the Archipelago and Northern Sardinia shorelines, a two-years interannual experiment has been conducted. A hazard index, given by the ratio between the oil concentration reaching each predefined coastal cell and the maximum stranded concentration, has been computed and mapped by using geostatistic tools in GIS environment. Temporal and spatial variability as well as the climatological distribution of the hazard index were therefore described: this can be a useful information for local authorities in order to efficiently manage oil slick emergencies. A significant temporal and spatial variability has been observed in the distribution of the hazard index, showing highest values for winter months, in agreement with stronger wind-induced currents. Large hazard values were found mainly along westerly exposed shorelines, as expected considering the prevalence of westerly winds blowing through the Strait. In order to assess the risk, such a hazard index can be easily combined with quali-quantitative factors of vulnerability of the coastal environment, assuming the risk is the product of hazard and vulnerability. Two of the most important factors of vulnerability have been combined with the hazard index: the shores geomorphology and the level of environmental protection (proxy for the environmental value). The southern side of Spargi Island shows the highest risk values, because of coincident presence of large hazard index values, beaches presenting last classes of geomorphological vulnerability and a moderate/high level of protection.

Keywords: Oil spill hazard; Risk assessment; Mediterranean coastal archipelago; Coastal 3D finite elements model.

Source: A. Olita, A. Cucco, S. Simeone, A. Ribotti, L. Fazioli, B. Sorgente and R. Sorgente (2012); “Oil spill hazard and risk assessment for the shorelines of a Mediterranean coastal archipelago”, to appear in: Ocean and Coastal Management, Volume 57, March 2012, pages 44 - 52; Available online: 25 November 2011.

Contact: antonio.olita@iamc.cnr.it

Link: ScienceDirect

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Dealing with landscape fuzziness in user preference studies: Photo-based questionnaires in the Mediterranean context

Mediterranean landscapes reveal extremely adequate conditions for the development of other functions besides production (nature conservation, recreation, life quality, local identity). These functions support the provision of public goods and services increasingly recognized by society. With this goal, the production of knowledge that may support decision is highly needed. In Mediterranean extensively used areas, the analysis of landscape features and related public preferences is complex, as the landscape pattern is highly fuzzy and land cover classes are often mixed. Resulting from multiple research developments, this paper demonstrates how photo-based surveys can be a suitable tool for assessing landscape preferences by specific public groups. Landscape functions addressed are closely linked to land cover patterns, as resulting from land cover systems. Thus using photographs in landscape questionnaires is useful in focusing the discussion on specific aspects, related with the variations in land cover and in their combinations with other specific landscape features. But the photos shown need to be clear and easily perceivable by the respondents. In order to cope with the underlying fuzziness of these landscapes, manipulation of images has been developed as the best solution so that the variations shown to respondents are adequately controlled in the study and landscape features are easily recognized by the respondents. The methodological approach as well as the results of applied approaches, of two studies on the users preferences, applied to a case-study area in Alentejo region, Portugal, are presented. The issues concerned with photo manipulation are a particular focus of discussion.

Keywords: Landscape preferences; Visualization tools; Photo manipulation; Mediterranean landscapes; Photo-based questionnaires; Landscape fuzziness.

Source: F. L. Barroso, T. Pinto-Correia, I. L. Ramos, D. Surová and H. Menezes (2012); “Dealing with landscape fuzziness in user preference studies: Photo-based questionnaires in the Mediterranean context”, to appear in: Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 104, Issues 3 – 4, 15 March 2012, pages 329 – 342; Received: 16 February 2011; Received in revised form: 27 August 2011; Accepted: 11 November 2011; Available online: 23 December 2011.

Contact: filipelbarroso@gmail.com

Link: ScienceDirect

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Climate change effects on stream and river temperatures across the northwest U.S. from 1980–2009 and implications for salmonid fishes

Thermal regimes in rivers and streams are fundamentally important to aquatic ecosystems and are expected to change in response to climate forcing as the Earth’s temperature warms. Description and attribution of stream temperature changes are key to understanding how these ecosystems may be affected by climate change, but difficult given the rarity of long-term monitoring data. We assembled 18 temperature time-series from sites on regulated and unregulated streams in the northwest U.S. to describe historical trends from 1980–2009 and assess thermal consistency between these stream categories. Statistically significant temperature trends were detected across seven sites on unregulated streams during all seasons of the year, with a cooling trend apparent during the spring and warming trends during the summer, fall, and winter. The amount of warming more than compensated for spring cooling to cause a net temperature increase, and rates of warming were highest during the summer (raw trend = 0.17°C/decade; reconstructed trend = 0.22°C/decade). Air temperature was the dominant factor explaining long-term stream temperature trends (82–94% of trends) and inter-annual variability (48–86% of variability), except during the summer when discharge accounted for approximately half (52%) of the inter-annual variation in stream temperatures. Seasonal temperature trends at eleven sites on regulated streams were qualitatively similar to those at unregulated sites if two sites managed to reduce summer and fall temperatures were excluded from the analysis. However, these trends were never statistically significant due to greater variation among sites that resulted from local water management policies and effects of upstream reservoirs. Despite serious deficiencies in the stream temperature monitoring record, our results suggest many streams in the northwest U.S. are exhibiting a regionally coherent response to climate forcing. More extensive monitoring efforts are needed as are techniques for short-term sensitivity analysis and reconstructing historical temperature trends so that spatial and temporal patterns of warming can be better understood. Continuation of warming trends this century will increasingly stress important regional salmon and trout resources and hamper efforts to recover these species, so comprehensive vulnerability assessments are needed to provide strategic frameworks for prioritizing conservation efforts.

Keywords: Climate change; Stream and river temperatures; Thermal regimes; Aquatic ecosystems.

Source: D. J. Isaak, S. Wollrab, D. Horan and G. Chandler (2011); “Climate change effects on stream and river temperatures across the northwest U.S. from 1980–2009 and implications for salmonid fishes”, Climatic Change Journal; Received: 27 November 2010; Accepted: 9 October 2011; Published online: 4 November 2011, under DOI: 10.1007/s10584-011-0326-z.

Contact: disaak@fs.fed.us

Link: SpringerLink

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