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. 2, 2009-01-29

Overview of integrative tools and methods in assessing ecological integrity in estuarine and coastal systems worldwide
(Abstract...)

British Tourists' Valuation of a Turkish Beach Using Contingent Valuation and Travel Cost Methods
(Abstract...)

Economic Growth, Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss: Distributive Justice for the Global North and South
(Abstract...)

Assessing the environmental quality status in estuarine and coastal systems: Comparing methodologies and indices
(Abstract...)

Abstract

Overview of integrative tools and methods in assessing ecological integrity in estuarine and coastal systems worldwide

In recent years, several sets of legislation worldwide (Oceans Act in USA, Australia or Canada; Water Framework Directive or Marine Strategy in Europe, National Water Act in South Africa, etc.) have been developed in order to address ecological quality or integrity, within estuarine and coastal systems. Most such legislation seeks to define quality in an integrative way, by using several biological elements, together with physico-chemical and pollution elements. Such an approach allows assessment of ecological status at the ecosystem level ('ecosystem approach' or 'holistic approach' methodologies), rather than at species level (e.g. mussel biomonitoring or Mussel Watch) or just at chemical level (i.e. quality objectives) alone. Increasing attention has been paid to the development of tools for different physico-chemical or biological (phytoplankton, zooplankton, benthos, algae, phanerogams, fishes) elements of the ecosystems. However, few methodologies integrate all the elements into a single evaluation of a water body. The need for such integrative tools to assess ecosystem quality is very important, both from a scientific and stakeholder point of view. Politicians and managers need information from simple and pragmatic, but scientifically sound methodologies, in order to show to society the evolution of a zone (estuary, coastal area, etc.), taking into account human pressures or recovery processes. These approaches include: (i) multidisciplinarity, inherent in the teams involved in their implementation; (ii) integration of biotic and abiotic factors; (iii) accurate and validated methods in determining ecological integrity; and (iv) adequate indicators to follow the evolution of the monitored ecosystems. While some countries increasingly use the establishment of marine parks to conserve marine biodiversity and ecological integrity, there is awareness (e.g. in Australia) that conservation and management of marine ecosystems cannot be restricted to Marine Protected Areas but must include areas outside such reserves. This contribution reviews the current situation of integrative ecological assessment worldwide, by presenting several examples from each of the continents: Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North America.

Keywords: Ecological integrity; Integrative assessment; Ecological status; Environmental quality; Marine parks

Source: Borja, A. et al. (2008), "Overview of integrative tools and methods in assessing ecological integrity in estuarine and coastal systems worldwide", Marine Pollution Bulletin, Vol. 56, No. 9, P. 1519-1537.

Contact: aborja@pas.azti.es

Link: ScienceDirect

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British Tourists' Valuation of a Turkish Beach Using Contingent Valuation and Travel Cost Methods

This paper surveyed tourist users primarily on Olu Deniz beach, Turkey. The majority (70%) were British who used the beach for both recreation activity and to enjoy open space and scenery. Major dislikes were found to be litter (41%), water quality (31%), and dogs' faeces (24%). A positive willingness to pay (WTP) was expressed by 87% of British respondents. British tourists expressing a WTP were prepared to pay L1.03 per adult per visit, giving a mean of L0.90 for the whole sample. Diminishing marginal utility is apparent in the WTP valuation with increased use of the beach. WTP valuation also varies significantly with beach rating. Variables found not to be significant in predicting WTP were: age, gender, income levels, social class, and the contribution the beach experience made to the enjoyment of the total holiday. The WTP valuations given by respondentstended to be round numbers, which may not be full market valuations but do represent revenue raising opportunities for coastal zone managers. The vehicle of payment selected by 72% of respondents was "adults paying per visit." Nearly all (99%) the respondents thought that children should not pay any contribution. The consumer surplus for enjoying the beach was L1.11 per adult per visit. Understanding tourists' values and acting in accordance with them may be paramount for the successful introduction of tourist ecotaxes. The reported reduction in visitors to the Balearic Islands (10%) following the imposition of a tourist ecotax of circa Euro 1 per person per day is similar to the proportion of respondents who were not willing to pay to maintain or improve the beach. This reduction in demand may reflect a refusal to pay tourism ecotaxes on principle or a simple market reaction to an increased price or charge.

Keywords: Consumer surplus; Willingness to pay; Olu Deniz; Ecotax

Source: Blakemore, F. and Williams, A. (2008), "British Tourists' Valuation of a Turkish Beach Using Contingent Valuation and Travel Cost Methods", Journal of Coastal Research, Vol. 24, No. 6, P. 1469-1480.

Contact: fbblakem@glam.ac.uk

Link: BioOne

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Economic Growth, Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss: Distributive Justice for the Global North and South

Economic growth-the increase in production and consumption of goods and services-must be considered within its biophysical context. Economic growth is fueled by biophysical inputs and its outputs degrade ecological processes, such as the global climate system. Economic growth is currently the principal cause of increased climate change, and climate change is a primary mechanism of biodiversity loss. Therefore, economic growth is a prime catalyst of biodiversity loss. Because people desire economic growth for dissimilar reasons-some for the increased accumulation of wealth, others for basic needs-how we limit economic growth becomes an ethical problem. Principles of distributive justice can help construct an international climate-change regime based on principles of equity. An equity-based framework that caps economic growth in the most polluting economies will lessen human impact on biodiversity. When coupled with a cap-and-trade mechanism, the framework can also provide a powerful tool for redistribution of wealth. Such an equity-based framework promises to be more inclusive and therefore more effective because it accounts for the disparate developmental conditions of the global north and south.

Keywords: Biodiversity; Climate change; Distributive justice; Economic growth; Equity; Per capita emissions

Source: Rosales, J. (2008), "Economic Growth, Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss: Distributive Justice for the Global North and South", Conservation Biology, Vol. 22, No. 6, P. 1409-1417.

Contact: jrosales@stlawu.edu

Link: InterScience

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Assessing the environmental quality status in estuarine and coastal systems: Comparing methodologies and indices

Increasingly on a worldwide scale, legislation has been adopted to determine the ecological integrity of surface waters including streams, rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters. An integral part of determining ecological integrity is the measurement of biological integrity, typically emphasizing analyses of plankton, benthos, macroalgae and fish. In the development of protocols for evaluating biological integrity, benthic macroinvertebrate communities are the most consistently emphasized biotic component of aquatic ecosystems. A plethora of methodologies with hundreds of indices, metrics and evaluation tools are presently available. An ecologically parsimonious approach dictates that investigators should place greater emphasis on evaluating the suitability of indices that already exist prior to developing new ones. Hence, the authors organized within the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography 2006 Summer Meeting, 4-9 June 2006, in Victoria, BC, Canada, a special session with the objective to compare methodologies, applications and interpretations existing in various countries and attempting to contribute to an improved understanding of the suitability of such approaches when using benthic communities. From the 25 contributions presented in this session, eight manuscripts were selected to be included in this special issue of Ecological Indicators including new index development, novel validation approaches, assessment of spatio-temporal applications, interpretations relative to management needs and potential adaptive management modifications to maximize the robustness, sensitivity, and representativeness of environmental information conveyed to management.

Keywords: Ecological integrity; Biotic indices; Comparison of methods; Aquatic systems; Benthic communities; Indicator development; Indicator application; Indicator interpretation

Source: Borja, A. and Dauer, D. M. (2008), "Assessing the environmental quality status in estuarine and coastal systems: Comparing methodologies and indices", Ecological Indicators, Vol. 8, No. 4, P. 331-337.

Contact: aborja@pas.azti.es; ddauer@odu.edu

Link: ScienceDirect

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