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.
Coastal zones have the characteristics of rich biodiversity and high biological productivity. Based on TM images of 1990 and ETM images of 2000 and 2010, land-use in the coastal zone of Nantong (China) was classified as tidal salt marshes, silty beaches, shoals, aquaculture farms, construction land and other land-use types. Changes of land-use area and pattern were analyzed by land-use mapping and the corresponding statistical data. In 1990–2010, the terrestrial area increased notably and the land-sea demarcation line moved evidently in the direction of the ocean. Terrestrial expansion brought by natural silting was considerable and the overall trends of land-use pattern evolutions in the region were consistent with the guidance and strength of coastal development schemes in 1990–2010. Despite the fact that reclaiming along the coastal region can increase land resources, it may also cause serious damages to environmental quality and ecological health. In Jiangsu's coastal development, we should be cautious about the scope, speed, strength and mode of the schemes so as to avoid irreversible damages to coastal ecosystem.
Source: H. Yao (2012); “Characterizing land-use changes in 1990–2010 in the coastal zone of Nantong, Jiangsu province, China”, Ocean & Coastal Management, In Press, Volume 71, January 2013, Pages 108–115; Available Online: 5 October 2012, under DOI: org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.09.007 .
Groundwater resources of the Tarsus coastal plain (Mersin, Turkey) are being exploited heavily for a variety of purposes and they are under a serious threat from nonpoint source pollution from the conflicting land-use practices and saltwater intrusion due to overpumping. In this study, vulnerability of groundwater to nonpoint source pollution was assessed using GIS techniques and employing both Generic and Pesticide DRASTIC models. Calculated vulnerability indices ranged between 68–206 and 69–236 for Generic and Pesticide DRASTIC, respectively. Areas lying between “moderately high” to “high” vulnerability categories extend along the coastline in areas covered by the recent Eolian sand dunes where saltwater intrusion is prevalent. The “low” vulnerability category is restricted to a small portion of the area in the NW, and it is represented by poorly drained soils with topographic gradients above 18%. A sizeable portion of the area was classified into “moderately low” to “moderate” vulnerability category, which is typified by low topographic gradients (<2%) and fairly uniform distributions of hydraulic conductivity, net recharge and depth to water table. The validation of the DRASTIC models was accomplished through pairwise comparison of DRASTIC vulnerability maps (using Pearson's r correlation coefficient) with a total of 18 raster layers representing original DRASTIC input data, land use/land cover (LULC) features, and groundwater Cl− and data. Results from the correlation analysis indicate a significant association between high groundwater concentrations and distances from certain LULC types, including open-field farms, citrus orchards, industrial complexes, and residential buildings.
Source: C. Güler, M. Ali Kurt and R. Nabi Korkut (2012); “Assessment of groundwater vulnerability to nonpoint source pollution in a Mediterranean coastal zone (Mersin, Turkey) under conflicting land-use practices”, Ocean & Coastal Management, In Press, Volume 71, January 2013, Pages 141–152; Available Online: 23 October 2012, under DOI: org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.10.010
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami drastically altered the coastal zone of Aceh, Indonesia. Tsunami induced erosion of the coast, including aquaculture farms (tambak) and mangrove forests, destroyed livelihood opportunities and access to coastal resources. The following paper discusses impacts of the tsunami on coastal resources and the associated coastal and disaster management implications. Data is drawn from a time series of digitised mean high water marks (MHWM's) sourced from Google Earth imagery, along with areal measurements of tambak, mangrove and casuarina cover and qualitative interviews with local residents. Two sites, namely, the Banda Aceh west coast and Lhok Nga Bay were studied. The results reveal that within these study sites 68% of mangroves and 92% of tambak ponds have not recovered since the tsunami resulting in the loss of between 241 and 725 tambak livelihoods and mangrove supplied resources including food, wood and shelter. Unique coastal environments respond to, and recover from, tsunami differently depending on factors such as tsunami characteristics, wave climate, sediment supply, vegetation, morphology and level of pre-disturbance human modification. While the study supports recent findings that mangrove and casuarina forests do not substantially mitigate the impact of large tsunamis, it strongly encourages their conservation for the environmental and economic sustainability of coastal communities. The study recommends that better integrated management of coastal resources such as mangroves and tambak, considering disaster management, environmental and economic concerns, will strengthen the resiliency of vulnerable coastal communities such as those in Aceh to future disaster.
Keywords: Tsunami; Coastal zone; Indian Ocean; Aceh, Indonesia.
Source: C. Griffin, D. Ellis, S. Beavis and D. Zoleta-Nantes (2012); “Coastal resources, livelihoods and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia”, Ocean & Coastal Management, In Press, Volume 71, January 2013, Pages 176–186; Available Online: 2 November 2012, under DOI: org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.10.017.
Modified, more severe fire regimes are developing in the Mediterranean basin as a result of changes in land-use and climate. Current fire management privileges fire suppression and tends to ignore land management issues, which may further accelerate the transition to a more fire-prone future and magnify the problem. Fire-smart management aims to control the fire regime by intervening on vegetation (fuel) to foster more fire-resistant (less flammable) and/or fire-resilient environments. Scientific knowledge supporting the creation and maintenance of fire-smart wildlands is critically reviewed, considering the landscape and the forest stand scales. Fuel management strategies (isolation, structural modification, and type conversion) are discussed in regards to their current and future potential to buffer the effects of global change on the extent and severity of fires. Uncertainty in the outcomes of fire-smart management arises mainly from insufficient understanding of the relative weights of fuel and weather-drought on the fire regime. Likewise, linkage between global change processes and the fire regime is not straightforward. Shrublands and, in general, open and dry vegetation types will prevail even more in future landscapes. Decrease in biomass will limit fire incidence over parts of the Mediterranean. However, the fire regime will be largely driven by weather, advising concentration of fuel management efforts in wildland–urban interfaces and in forests and their vicinity; decrease of landscape fire severity rather than area burned as the objective; prescribed burning as the treatment of choice, except in the wildland-urban interface; and focus on forest types that are fire-resilient irrespective of flammability.
Keywords: Fire risk; Fire resiliency; Fuel management; Fuel treatments; Climate change; Land use change.
Source: P. M. Fernandes (2012); “Fire-smart management of forest landscapes in the Mediterranean basin under global change”, Landscape and Urban Planning, In Press, Corrected Proof; Received: 23 September 2012; Received in revised form: 19 August 2012; Accepted: 23 October 2012; Available Online: 14 November 2012, under DOI: org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2012.10.014 .