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.
The Natura 2000 network forms the cornerstone of the biodiversity conservation strategy of the European Union and is the largest coordinated network of protected areas (PAs) in the world. Here, we demonstrated that the network fails to adequately cover the marine environment and meet the conservation target of 10% set by the Convention on Biological Diversity. The relative percentage of marine surface cover varies significantly among member states. Interestingly, the relative cover of protected seascape was significantly lower for member states with larger exclusive economic zones. Our analyses demonstrated that the vast majority (93%) of the Natura 2000 sites that cover marine waters include both a terrestrial and a marine component. As a result, the majority of the protected surfaces is adjacent to the coastline, and decreases offshore; only 20% of Natura marine PAs is at depths >200 m. The lack of systematic planning processes is further reflected by the great variability in the distances among protected sites and the limited number of shared Natura sites among member states. Moreover, <40% of the marine sites have management plans, indicating the absence of active, or limited management in most sites. This work highlights the gaps in coverage and spatial design of the European conservation network in the marine environment, and raises questions on the unevenly treatment of marine vs. terrestrial areas.
Keywords: NATURA 2000 Network; Protected areas (PAs); Gaps; Challenges
Source: A. D. Mazaris, V. Almpanidou, S. Giakoumi and S. Katsanevakis (2018); “Gaps and challenges of the European network of protected sites in the marine realm”, ICES Journal of Marine Science, Volume 75, Issue 1, 1 January 2018, Pages 190 - 198; Received: 28 December 2016; Revision Received: 22 May 2017; Accepted: 14 June 2017; Published: 10 August 2017, available under DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsx125
Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is an integrated approach that recognizes the complex interactions within an ecosystem. Proper facilitation of EBM techniques require explicitly defined spatial boundaries, but biophysical processes, human activities, and the ecosystems that they influence operate at various scales. Careful thought to combine ecological, physical, and regulatory boundaries to define spatial scales of coastal regions can be a tedious yet significant early step towards the meaningful application of ecosystem-based management. We recommend nine coastal regions for the Northern Gulf of Mexico by creating both regulatory and biophysically meaningful spatial boundaries. A basic framework illustrating the utility of publicly available spatial datasets for defining the seaward, landward, and lateral boundaries of coastal regions is provided. These nine coastal regions will be key in creating spatial criteria for the Northern Gulf of Mexico, within which differences in ecosystem services can be measured, and temporal changes in ecosystem services can be tracked. The framework developed here is meant to build capacity for EBM and serve as a starting point for the continued discussion and modification of sensible ecological, geographical and political boundaries.
Keywords: Northern Gulf of Mexico; Coastal region; Ecosystem-based management (EBM).
Source: J. W. Oakley, A. M. Lawing, G. J. Guillen and F. Gelwick (2018); “Defining ecologically, geographically, and politically coherent boundaries for the Northern Gulf of Mexico coastal region: Facilitating ecosystem-based management”, Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 154, 15 March 2018, Pages 1-7; Received: 16 July 2017; Revised: 19 October 2017; Accepted: 18 December 2017; Available online: 6 January 2018 under DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2017.12.019
The San Jose Estuary is an important coastal wetland for the conservation of biodiversity, used for centuries for the local population and tourism, in the Mexican municipality with the highest population growth rate, Los Cabos. This considered coastal oasis has been appointed as State Ecological Reserve (SER), RAMSAR site and area of importance for the conservation of birds. It is also an area of beautiful landscape with the contrast environment arid of the region, by what from makes decades is considered relevant for the sustainability of the city of San Jose del Cabo, being area of recreation of local population, tourism national and international, and for activities of birds watching, just in the center of one of the most important tourist region of Mexico. In this context, the purpose of the study was to develop the social, economic, and environmental characterization of the SER, to approach the knowledge of the status of the system, its evolution in the last two decades and as a basis for the urgent management strategies for the SER. Results to date show a high environmental deterioration, which increasing the vulnerability in the last decade. The polygon of the Natural Protected Area (SER) has changed four times in 20 years, demonstrating that their secular geomorphology has been reduced by more than 40% in the last 15 years by the unplanned tourism development. This has resulted in a big deterioration that threatens the sustainable development of the contiguous population of San José de el Cabo, increasing the pollution, fires, and finally, a recent decline of tourist interest in the declared also in 2014 as the priority wetland in Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Keywords: Coastal oasis; Estuary San Jose del Cabo; Natural protected area management; Sustainable tourism.
Source: O. Arizpe, J. Juarez, P. Cruz and A. Torres (2018); “Evolution of a Coastal Oasis in a High Population Growth Rate Municipality: Los Cabos, Mexico”, International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning, Volume 13 (2018), Issue 4, Pages: 605 - 613; Available online under DOI: 10.2495/SDP-V13-N4-605-613
In the context of growing concern about the threat of flooding posed by climate change in coastal areas, the Spanish plan for coastal adaptation to climate change gave rise to stringent requirements on risk consequence estimates at the regional scale O (100 km). Within this framework, we propose a methodology that combines high space-time resolution climate information (reanalysis databases and projections), local data on exposure that accounts for the most relevant sectors, site-specific vulnerability functions, and flood risk consequence valuation, gridded at 5 m. This approach involves efficient multiple-forcing flood modeling, in which the connection between climate change and potential inundation is primarily established through the definition of a total water level index. This research tackles challenging issues, including the importance of incorporating the effects of existing coastal defenses and local wave effects in port areas, dealing with data at different spatial scales and sectors in an integrated way, and the impact of discounting. The results provide insights into the possible consequences of inaction for a range of future scenarios based on changes in climate and socio-economics over the most relevant sectors. With the goal of prioritizing adaptive action and the efficient assignment of funds, we propose a weight-based integration of the sectoral value-at-risk through the application of Bayesian techniques and expert judgment. The methodology described here was applied to a pilot case study on the coast of Asturias in northern Spain.
Source: A. Toimil, I. J. Losada, P. Díaz-Simal, C. Izaguirre and P. Camus (2017); “Multi-sectoral, high-resolution assessment of climate change consequences of coastal flooding”, Climatic Change, December 2017, Volume 145, Issue 3 - 4, pp 431 - 444; First online: 21 November 2017, under DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-017-2104-z