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. 62, 2013-12-03

Integrating local knowledge and perception for assessing vulnerability to climate change in economically dynamic coastal areas: The case of natural protected area Aiguamolls de l'Empordà, Spain
(Abstract...)

Planning for uncertainty: Local scale coastal governance
(Abstract...)

Understanding and Predicting Change in the Coastal Ecosystems of the Northern Gulf of Mexico
(Abstract...)

Sectoral interactions in the Scottish coastal zone: Measuring sustainability in theory and practice
(Abstract...)

Abstract

Integrating local knowledge and perception for assessing vulnerability to climate change in economically dynamic coastal areas: The case of natural protected area Aiguamolls de l'Empordà, Spain

Climate change seems likely that will greatly affect natural protected areas and other vulnerable areas such as Mediterranean. Thus Aiguamolls de l'Empordà can be regarded as a key case study to assess current knowledge and perceptions of the potential climate change effects on the coastal population and economies in the Spanish Mediterranean region. This study finds out that it is essential to gather and integrate local traditional knowledge with scientific knowledge in order to develop successful responses to climate change. Furthermore, it supports the position that vulnerability analysis must be participatory and must include social, cultural, environmental, economic and political dimensions, like it was the case in this research. According to the quantitative and qualitative data gathered, major climate change effects such as increase in air temperature over the past few decades, a decrease in precipitation but increase in its intensity, the increase in the severity of droughts, and the decrease in biodiversity and ecosystem services are the most pressing climate change effects and serious threats to the observed area. In addition to this, the location of the coastal municipalities (their exposure) also makes them directly vulnerable to coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion and sea level rise. Stakeholders also found that climate change adaptation is needed and this finding may suggest that even if cost of adaptation is high, further losses to the economy and ecosystems might be even higher.

Keywords: Climate change; Assessing; Vulnerability; Coastal areas; Aiguamolls de l'Empordà, Spain.

Source: S. Fatorić and R. Morén-Alegret (2013); “Integrating local knowledge and perception for assessing vulnerability to climate change in economically dynamic coastal areas: The case of natural protected area Aiguamolls de l'Empordà, Spain”, Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 85, Part A, December 2013, Pages 90 – 102; Available Online: 7 October 2013; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2013.09.010

Contact: sandra.fatoric@uab.es

Link: ScienceDirect

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Planning for uncertainty: Local scale coastal governance

This paper synthesizes key themes relating to effective coastal governance at the local government scale. The themes are expanded in each of the six papers that comprise the special issue and represent discussion points raised at the Australian Coastal Councils Conference held in 2012. The themes explored in this special issue include: (i) Developing a climate change adaptation road map for a community based organisation; (ii) Spanning the boundaries between technical climate science and coastal communities; (iii) An integrated participatory approach to coastal governance; (iv) Planning responses to climate risks and adaptation in regional coastal areas; (v) The use of science to guide coastal and estuarine management actions; and (vi) A council's approach to manage a vulnerable coast. Reflections from practitioners highlighted the complex and difficult nature of working in partnerships to communicate and act on climate change impacts. Furthermore, the legal complexities and costs associated with development in coastal areas are creating additional challenges at the local scale. The authors conclude that national leadership is required to deal with these significant challenges facing coastal communities.

Keywords: Coastal governance; Local scale.

Source: D. M. de Freitas, T. Smith and A. Stokes (2013); “Planning for uncertainty: Local scale coastal governance”, Ocean & Coastal Management, In Press, Corrected Proof; Available Online: 13 November 2013; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2013.10.011

Contact: freitas.debora@gmail.com

Link: ScienceDirect

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Understanding and Predicting Change in the Coastal Ecosystems of the Northern Gulf of Mexico

The coastal region of the northern Gulf of Mexico owes its current landscape structure to an array of tectonic, erosional and depositional, climatic, geochemical, hydrological, ecological, and human processes that have resulted in some of the world's most complex, dynamic, productive, and threatened ecosystems. Catastrophic hurricane landfalls, ongoing subsidence and erosion exacerbated by sea-level rise, disintegration of barrier island chains, and high rates of wetland loss have called attention to the vulnerability of northern Gulf coast ecosystems, habitats, built infrastructure, and economy to natural and anthropogenic threats. The devastating hurricanes of 2005 (Katrina and Rita) motivated the U.S. Geological Survey Coastal and Marine Geology Program and partnering researchers to pursue studies aimed at understanding and predicting landscape change and the associated storm hazard vulnerability of northern Gulf coast region ecosystems and human communities. Attaining this science goal requires increased knowledge of landscape evolution on geologic, historical, and human time scales, and analysis of the implications of such changes in the natural and built components of the landscape for hurricane impact susceptibility. This Special Issue of the Journal of Coastal Research communicates northern Gulf of Mexico research results that (1) improve knowledge of prior climates and depositional environments, (2) assess broad regional ecosystem structure and change over Holocene to human time scales, (3) undertake process studies and change analyses of dynamic landscape components, and (4) integrate framework, climate, variable time and spatial scale mapping, monitoring, and discipline-specific process investigations within interdisciplinary studies.

Keywords: Sea-level rise; Hurricanes; Vulnerability; Modeling; Wetland loss; Mapping; Erosion; Paleoclimate; Sedimentation; Marsh.

Source: J. C. Brock, J. A. Barras and S. J. Williams (2013); Introduction to the Special Issue on “Understanding and Predicting Change in the Coastal Ecosystems of the Northern Gulf of Mexico”, Journal of Coastal Research: Special Issue 63 - Understanding and Predicting Change in the Coastal Ecosystems of the Northern Gulf of Mexico, Pages 1 – 5; Received: 1 March, 2013; Accepted: 18 March 2013; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2112/SI63-001.1

Contact: jbrock@usgs.gov

Link: JCR

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Sectoral interactions in the Scottish coastal zone: Measuring sustainability in theory and practice

A recent survey carried out by Scottish Local Coastal Partnerships (LCPs) records sectoral interactions between coastal stakeholders using a colour-coded Sectoral Interactions Matrix (SIM). Stakeholders are encouraged to categorise their interactions with other sub-sectors, based on whether they felt conflicting, competitive, neutral or positive interactions were occurring. The term “managed competition”, a phrase which emerged from the SIM work, is defined in this paper as an interaction where conflicting or competing coastal sectors co-operate to achieve a positive or neutral interaction which does not impact negatively on the wider coastal environment. Managed competition requires both targeted stakeholder communication, to allow resolution of inter-sectoral conflict, and scientific understanding, to find a balance that is also sustainable within the constraints of the natural carrying capacity of the environment. In successive SIM exercises, a reduction in the proportion of interactions categorised as competitive or conflicting with one another, matched by an increased percentage of positive or neutral interactions facilitated by managed competition, would represent a move to greater sustainability at the coast. Therefore, it is suggested that the SIM can be used as a measurement of sustainability at the coast, whilst managed competition can be used as a tool to achieve sustainability through resolving inter-sectoral conflict and ensuring that sectoral activities do not impact negatively on the wider coastal environment. Managed competition in practice is described using the illustrative case study of Montrose Bay at the northern extremity of the Tay Estuary Forum LCP region in east-central Scotland.

Keywords: Sectoral interactions; Coastal stakeholders; Managed competition.

Source: L. Booth, F. D. Milne and R. W. Duck (2013); “Sectoral interactions in the Scottish coastal zone: Measuring sustainability in theory and practice”, Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 85, Part A, December 2013, Pages 39 – 45; Available Online: 2 October 2013; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2013.09.003

Contact: TayEstuaryForum@dundee.ac.uk

Link: ScienceDirect

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