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. 42, 2012-05-01

The Spanish approach to marine spatial planning. Marine Strategy Framework Directive vs. EU Integrated Maritime Policy
(Abstract...)

A shoreline management plan for Iranian coastlines
(Abstract...)

Exploring pathways for sustainable water management in river deltas in a changing environment
(Abstract...)

Relative sea-level rise in the Basque coast (N Spain): Different environmental consequences on the coastal area
(Abstract...)

Abstract

The Spanish approach to marine spatial planning. Marine Strategy Framework Directive vs. EU Integrated Maritime Policy

The coming into effect of the Directive 2008/56/EC (Marine Strategy Framework Directive - MSFD) will induce European Union member States to create mechanisms for managing maritime space in order to comply with the goals set out in this binding legislation. This leads one to think that marine spatial planning in various countries in the EU will be directed at complying with the Directive's environmental goals, as is the case in Spain, rather than undertaking proactive planning for developing the maritime sectors. To put the case of Spain into perspective, a review is conducted of the initiatives taken, especially in Europe and the European Union, exploring the correlations between the main focuses of the maritime sectors and the planning systems. The analysis of the Spanish initiative demonstrates how the maritime economy model and geopolitical factors explain the planning options for the marine environment. In other respects, with the coming into effect of the MSFD, a dual institutional course for marine spatial planning seems to be opening up in the EU: Integrated Maritime Policy vs. the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Keywords: Marine Spatial Planning; Marine Strategy Framework Directive; Spain; Maritime Economy.

Source: J.L.S. de Vivero and J.C.R. Mateos (2012); “The Spanish approach to marine spatial planning. Marine Strategy Framework Directive vs. EU Integrated Maritime Policy”, Marine Policy, Volume 36, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 18 – 27; Received: 25 January 2011; Revised: 3 March 2011; Accepted: 4 March 2011; Available online: 30 March 2011.

Contact: vivero@us.es

Link: ScienceDirect

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A shoreline management plan for Iranian coastlines

Iran has close to 5,000 km of shoreline bordering the Oman Sea and the Persian Gulf and more than 800 km of shoreline bordering the Caspian Sea. Iranian shorelines have been exposed to rapid development over the past three decades, resulting in an urgent need for a shoreline management program to optimize the use of coastal resources and prevent or minimize the impact of various projects. The present paper describes a national Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) recently developed for the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran to address existing coastal problems and set policies for sustainable development. The proposed SMP consists of two main components: Hazard Management, and Ecosystem-based Development Management. In this context, coastal hazard maps were prepared showing prone-to-hazard areas and required management strategies to address those hazards. Opportunities and threats along the entire Iranian coastlines were also identified so that they may be considered by managers in planning future developments within an ecosystem-based framework provided by the Environmental Management Plan.

Keywords: Shoreline Management Plan (SMP); Iran; Coastal problems; Sustainable development policies.

Source: M. Dibajnia, M. Soltanpour, V. Vafai, S. M. H. J. Shoushtari and A. Kebriaee (2012); “A shoreline management plan for Iranian coastlines”, Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 63, July 2012, Pages 1 – 15; Available online: 9 March 2012, under DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.02.012.

Contact: mdibajnia@baird.com

Link: ScienceDirect

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Exploring pathways for sustainable water management in river deltas in a changing environment

Exploring adaptation pathways into an uncertain future can support decision making in achieving sustainable water management in a changing environment. Our objective is to develop and test a method to identify such pathways by including dynamics from natural variability and the interaction between the water system and society. Present planning studies on long-term water management often use a few plausible futures for one or two projection years, ignoring the dynamic aspect of adaptation through the interaction between the water system and society. Our approach is to explore pathways using multiple realisations of transient scenarios with an Integrated Assessment Meta Model (IAMM). This paper presents the first application of the method using a hypothetical case study. The case study shows how to explore and evaluate adaptation pathways. With the pathways it is possible to identify opportunities, threats, timing and sequence of policy options, which can be used by policymakers to develop water management roadmaps into the future. By including the dynamics between the water system and society, the influence of uncertainties in both systems becomes clearer. The results show, among others, that climate variability rather than climate change appears to be important for taking decisions in water management.

Keywords: Sustainable water management; River deltas; Integrated Assessment Meta Model (IAMM).

Source: M. Haasnoot, H. Middelkoop, A. Offermans, E. van Beek and W. P. A. van Deursen (2012); “Exploring pathways for sustainable water management in river deltas in a changing environment”, Climatic Change Journal No. 10584; Received: 27 July 201o; Accepted: 8 March 2012; Published online: 24 March 2012, under DOI: DOI: 10.1007/s10584-012-0444-2.

Contact: marjolijn.haasnoot@deltares.nl

Link: SpringerLink

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Relative sea-level rise in the Basque coast (N Spain): Different environmental consequences on the coastal area

Short sediment cores taken from (i) a recently regenerated salt marsh (Plentzia estuary), (ii) an incipient marsh and (iii) a pristine marsh (Urdaibai estuary), have been interpreted for evidence of environmental impacts and sea-level change on the basis of microfaunal and geochemical determinations and historical land management data. Under the current relative sea-level rise scenario, it might be expected that salt marsh ecosystems lose their ability to keep up with tidal flooding and drown following a transgressional pattern where marsh vegetation replaces woody plant species. With more frequent inundation from rising sea level, the change would progress from high marsh through a transition to the low marsh state. Ultimately this would lead to the development of a mud flat when sea level rises beyond low marsh accretion rates, with important coastal management implications. Geological observations from the south-eastern Bay of Biscay, however, suggest that this model does not always apply. Evidence indicates that reclaimed areas rapidly gain elevation due to very high sedimentation rates and are colonized by salt marsh vegetation within a few decades, pristine salt marshes in this case have kept up with current sea-level rise, but more importantly, due to high sedimentation rates, even former intertidal mud flats have gained elevation over the last 50 years allowing salt marsh vegetation to colonize new areas. This recent evolution, however, has to be considered in a context of anthropogenic impacts in river catchments wherein sediment supply has been enhanced by human activity.

Keywords: Sea-level rise; Basque coast.

Source: E. Leorri, A. Cearreta, A. García-Artola, M. Jesús Irabien and W. H. Blake (2012); “Relative sea-level rise in the Basque coast (N Spain): Different environmental consequences on the coastal area“, Ocean & Coastal Management, In Press, Corrected Proof; Available online: 14 February 2012, under DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.02.007.

Contact: leorrie@ecu.edu

Link: ScienceDirect

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