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. 56, 2013-06-04

Social capital and climate change mitigation in coastal areas: A review of current debates and identification of future research directions
(Abstract...)

Integrated assessment of chemical pollution in the Mediterranean Sea: Driver-Pressures-State-Welfare analysis
(Abstract...)

Changing of the Guard: Adaptation Options That Maintain Ecologically Resilient Sandy Beach Ecosystems
(Abstract...)

Generic framework for meso-scale assessment of climate change hazards in coastal environments
(Abstract...)

Abstract

Social capital and climate change mitigation in coastal areas: A review of current debates and identification of future research directions

To develop public policies that respond to climate change demands examination of multiple physical and social variables. In the context of coastal zone management, these range from addressing prevailing environmental conditions, to accommodating the socio-economic needs of local communities and acknowledging the attitudes, norms and environmental behaviours of individuals. This paper focuses on these social aspects and develops an explanatory framework to model the effectiveness of coastal management policies based on the role of social capital. Although some studies have emphasised the positive influence of social capital on natural resources management, so far little research has been undertaken linking social capital as a multi-dimensional characteristic with the level of public receptiveness to policies seeking to mitigate risk at the coast. This paper analyzes the influence of three social capital elements on public responsiveness: social trust, institutional trust and social networks. The paper postulates that higher levels of social and institutional trust result in more positive community perceptions of proposed policies for coastal management. Similar reactions are expected in communities where dense social networks lead to higher levels of environmental awareness. The paper then identifies potential new areas of research that might address the current lack of consideration of non-economic social costs and benefits on public acceptability of coastal management policies. A principal claim made here is that higher levels of policy acceptability are generally evident in coastal communities with strong social capital, as such communities tend to perceive low social costs and high benefits arising from policy intervention.

Keywords: Social capital; Climate change; Coastal Zone Management.

Source: N. Jones and J.R.A. Clark (2013); “Social capital and climate change mitigation in coastal areas: A review of current debates and identification of future research directions”, Ocean & Coastal Management, Vol. 80, August 2013, pages 12 – 19; Available online: 27 March 2013; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2013.03.009.

Contact: n.jones.2@bham.ac.uk

Link: ScienceDirect

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Integrated assessment of chemical pollution in the Mediterranean Sea: Driver-Pressures-State-Welfare analysis

The Mediterranean region is under the threats of chemical hazardous substances that may reach the sea through direct discharge to marine waters, or indirectly through rivers and run-off from soil or atmospheric deposition. Over the last decades, several regulatory frameworks calling for the development of tools for the sustainable use and management of the marine environment have been adopted, notably the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea and the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008/56/EC (MSFD). These initiatives establish that Coastal States must take the necessary measures to achieve or maintain the Good Environmental Status (GEnS) of the marine environment through the application of an Ecosystem-based Approach (EA) to marine management. With the above in mind, we developed a conceptual model for the chemical contamination of the Mediterranean region and attempt to make an integrated assessment for a case study of chemical pollution by mercury and PAHs. Main gaps requiring improvement of knowledge and further monitoring, as well as the key challenges for the implementation of policies that are relevant for the Mediterranean Sea, have also been analysed.

Keywords: Chemical pollution; The Mediterranean; Driver-Pressures-State-Welfare analysis.

Source: S. Cinnirella, M. Graziano, J. Pon, C. Murciano, J. Albaigés and N. Pirrone (2013); “Integrated assessment of chemical pollution in the Mediterranean Sea: Driver-Pressures-State-Welfare analysis”, Ocean & Coastal Management, Vol. 80, August 2013, pages: 36 – 45; Available online; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2013.02.022.

Contact: s.cinnirella@iia.cnr.it

Link: ScienceDirect

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Changing of the Guard: Adaptation Options That Maintain Ecologically Resilient Sandy Beach Ecosystems

Sandy beach ecosystems adapt to sea-level rise by retreating landward. Retreat enables a sandy beach ecosystem to adapt while maintaining structure and function over various spatial and temporal scales. However, adaptation options, such as engineered barriers to shoreline retreat, reduce adaptive capacity and, therefore, ecological resilience to sea-level rise. Species richness and diversity becomes threatened when sandy beaches are squeezed between “fortifications” and increasing sea levels. Unidimensional management gives precedence to the protection of coastal investments at the expense of ecological resilience. This article provides a critical assessment of adaptation options to identify those capable of maintaining the ecological resilience of sandy beach ecosystems to sea-level rise. Hard- and soft-engineered options impede sand transport and storage systems and prevent retreat from advancing seas. In contrast, ecosystem conservation and setbacks enable coastal processes to continue and thereby maintain ecological resilience to sea-level rise. Managing sandy beach ecosystems from multidimensional perspectives allows coastal managers to better understand the consequences of implementing adaptation options. However, political, economic, and social necessity often dictates coastal managers employ unidimensional adaptation options to achieve quick results. This article proposes a four-dimensional lens through which sandy beach ecosystems can be viewed and managed. Longitudinal, transverse, vertical, and temporal dimensions characterise the function and structure of sandy beach ecosystems. A staged approach to adaptive management that takes a long-term view and considers a range of adaptation options tailored to achieve ecologically resilient sandy beach ecosystems is discussed.

Keywords: Ecological resilience; Sandy beach ecosystems; Sea-level rise; Engineered options.

Source: A. Berry, S. Fahey and N. Meyers (2013); “Changing of the Guard: Adaptation Options That Maintain Ecologically Resilient Sandy Beach Ecosystems”, Journal of Coastal Research In-Press; Received: 2 August 2012; Accepted: 5 October 2012; Published online: 18 January 2013; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-12-00150.1.

Contact: aberry@usc.edu.au

Link: JCR online

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Generic framework for meso-scale assessment of climate change hazards in coastal environments

This paper presents a generic framework for assessing inherent climate change hazards in coastal environments through a combined coastal classification and hazard evaluation system. The framework is developed to be used at scales relevant for regional and national planning and aims to cover all coastal environments worldwide through a specially designed coastal classification system containing 113 generic coastal types. The framework provides information on the degree to which key climate change hazards are inherent in a particular coastal environment, and covers the hazards of ecosystem disruption, gradual inundation, salt water intrusion, erosion and flooding. The system includes a total of 565 individual hazard evaluations, each graduated into four different hazard levels based on a scientific literature review. The framework uses a simple assessment methodology with limited data and computing requirements, allowing for application in developing country settings. It is presented as a graphical tool - the Coastal Hazard Wheel - to ease its application for planning purposes.

Keywords: Coastal management; Coastal classification; Climate change; Hazard assessment.

Source: L. R. Appelquist (2013); “Generic framework for meso-scale assessment of climate change hazards in coastal environments”, Journal of Coastal Conservation, Vol. 17, Issue 1, pages: 59 – 74; Received: 30 March 2012; Accepted: 17 September 2012; Published online: 17 October 2012; DOI: 10.1007/s11852-012-0218-z.

Contact: lrap@dtu.dk

Link: Springer

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