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.
Interest in the concept of resilience has grown significantly in recent years. The perceived strengths of resilience as a concept stem from its foundations in the sciences and humanities, and have recently gained currency amongst political actors and in policy spheres. This paper’s objective is to investigate the value of resilience as a concept when applied to the process of coastal climate change adaptation with a focus on place specificity. As applied to coastal hazards and climate change adaptation, we expect that resilience encompasses more system complexities than a traditional vulnerability or hazards approach. Our aim in this paper is achieved through carrying out a critical analysis of Irish and U.S. academic and policy literature and determining if, and to what degree, one or more of the three selected lenses of psychological, engineering and ecological resilience are applied. Through contrasting the evolution of coastal adaptation policy developments in both Ireland and the U.S. the paper highlights the importance of policy, environment and geography in the area of coastal management. It furthermore examines the question of whether the concept of resilience represents a paradigm shift, or whether it maintains the dominant anthropological perspective of earlier hazard mitigation approaches under new guise.
The increasing focus on climate adaptation as more than enhanced hazard mitigation exemplifies that shift. In the U.S. proposals for large-scale retreat programs post-Sandy are further evidence that combined ecological-anthropological approaches are gaining traction, though planning actions taken and factors considered continue to be dominated by parochialism and anthropocentric or psychological definitions of resilience. In Ireland there is a noticeable increase in the ecological resilience grounded practices of adaptive management and co-management in relation to coastal planning. The fostering of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) frameworks as well as a clear linking between climate adaption and the management of coastal regions underlines this development. Results indicate that resilience, under the three forms explored, is a concept that has recently increased in popularity. Simultaneously, there has been a discernible shift in the direction of broader inclusion of concerns about human–environment interactions, but the two are not necessarily coextensive, and concepts of resilience do not always encompass these concerns.
Source: S. Flood and J. Schechtman (2014); “The rise of resilience: Evolution of a new concept in coastal planning in Ireland and the US”, Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 102, Part A, December 2014, Pages 19 – 31; DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2014.08.015
Adaptation is defined as the planned or unplanned, reactive or anticipatory, successful or unsuccessful response of a system to a change in its environment. This paper examines the current status of adaptation to sea-level rise and climate change in the context of European coasts. Adaptation can greatly reduce the impact of sea-level rise (and other coastal changes), although it requires adjustment of coastal management policies to changing circumstances. Consequently, adaptation is a social, political, and economic process, rather than just a technical exercise, as it is often conceived. The Synthesis and Upscaling of sea-level Rise Vulnerability Assessment Studies project has shown that adaptation to sea-level rise is widely divergent among European countries. Crudely, four groups of countries were identified: Those that do not worry about accelerated sea-level rise and should not as their coasts are not susceptible; Those that do not worry as they have more urgent problems; Those that do not worry but probably should; and Those that do worry and have started to adapt.
At the European Union level, while coastal management is a focus, this effort is mainly targeted at today's problems. Hence, this paper suggests the need for a concerted effort to address adaptation in coastal zones across Europe. Sharing of experience among countries would facilitate this process.
Source: R. S. J. Tol, R. J. T. Klein and R. J. Nicholls (2008); “Towards Successful Adaptation to Sea-Level Rise along Europe's Coasts”, Journal of Coastal Research, Volume 24, Issue 2, Pages 432 – 442; Received: 19 April 2007; Accepted: 19 April 2007; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2112/07A-0016.1
This article focuses on the analysis of how identity and sense of place identified on small islands can be an opportunity to inform local population about transition to sustainability. Small islands are considered to be vulnerable territories but they are good candidates to undertake an innovative and successful transition to sustainability, and to become models for larger territories. A participative scenario building and multi-criteria methodology has been developed to explore preferences for sustainable development in the context of a small island. The article is the opportunity to analyse how Flores Island (Azores, Portugal) community perceives local sustainability issues, what is the role that identity can play in the transition to sustainability, and what is the point of view from regional decision-makers, civil servant and key informants interviewed in the project. Sustainability research findings and islanders’ preferences concern three points: (1) islanders’ low expectations of change, (2) preference for greener development, and (3) the potential role of identity and public participation in the transition to sustainability. Locals have shown awareness about sustainability issues and they have demonstrated willingness to play an active role in decision-making processes. The contributions from the research participants are also an opportunity to inform the relationship between tourism and the sustainability of the island.
Keywords: Sense of place; Flores Island; Azores; Multi-criteria appraisal; Foresight scenario.
Source: J. Benedicto (2014); “Identity and decision-making for sustainability in the context of small islands”, Journal of Integrated Coastal Zone Management 14(2):199 - 213 (2014); Submitted: 31 December 2013; Evaluated: 5 February 2014; Received: 15 May 2014; Accepted: 21 May 2014; Available On-line: 30 May 2014.
Natural World Heritage (WH) sites are globally recognized as having universal value, providing society with critical ecosystem services like biodiversity, clean water, and recreational opportunity. Every natural WH site is at risk from climate change, but the scope and nature of that risk varies widely. Climate change adaptation is a wicked problem; that is, there are no clear-cut solutions and stakeholders at each site disagree on values, norms and first steps, making adaptation difficult. Yet, delaying action poses more risks than taking action under uncertainty. I synthesize the refereed literature relevant to climate adaptation for natural WH sites. I argue that adaptation should be ecosystem based. It should begin by understanding linkages among site attributes and the surrounding landscape, and asking how off-site and on-site practices might reduce risk of negative effects of climate change on those attributes. Adaptation responses are tiered. Fine-scale, on-site responses are less expensive and easier but will have less impact than coarse-scale responses involving the surrounding community. We cannot precisely predict future conditions so we must act adaptively, designing responses, acting, evaluating results, re-designing and trying again. Action is constrained by institutional mandates focused on preserving existing conditions rather than recognizing a dynamic future. Climate change adaptation at natural WH sites should be Adaptive, Participatory and Transformative, deployed through clumsy solutions. Such solutions will require strong leadership and excellent communication, drawing together widely disparate views and iterative practices focusing on resilience. That requirement establishes the need for capacity development for climate change adaptation.
Source: J. Perry (2014); “Climate change adaptation in the world's best places: A wicked problem in need of immediate attention”, Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 133, January 2015, Pages 1 – 11; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2014.08.013