October - November 2010 (4:2)

Issue PDF archive: PDF icon MEAM15.pdf

For ecosystem-based management (EBM) to be successful, science is needed to understand the natural system, social system, and governance system - as well as how each one interacts with the others. EBM, at its core, is policy based on scientific evidence and knowledge. The more robust the evidence and knowledge, the more robust the policy can be.

Science is not the only consideration in EBM decision-making, though. Politics can play a significant role, as do social values. These factors shape EBM decisions, and it is up to all parties to determine the right balance for all these considerations.

Below, MEAM asks practitioners and stakeholders for their insights on finding that balance between science and other factors, including in cases in which scientific knowledge may be unavailable or insufficient. This continues our coverage of the role of science in EBM, which began with our previous issue, MEAM 4:1. (In that issue, practitioners described how science was incorporated in EBM processes on which they worked, including on the Great Barrier Reef, European seas, and elsewhere.)

A. Mixing Western science and management with traditional knowledge and management

Shankar Aswani
University of California at Santa Barbara, US. E-mail: aswani [at] anth.ucsb.edu

(Editor's note: Shankar Aswani, an anthropologist, leads a project to establish a network of community-based MPAs in the Solomon Islands in the southwestern Pacific. The network is managed under customary sea tenure and now includes more than 30 MPAs covering 6000 hectares.)

MEAM: What are the benefits and limitations of Western marine and social science in the marine planning context of the Solomons?

Shankar Aswani: Over the last decade I have used various integrated methodological approaches for studying customary management (CM) for the purpose of designing hybrid CM-MPA (and now CM-EBM) systems in the Solomon Islands. The research has involved over one hundred months of cumulative fieldwork by me and my team members between 1992 and 2010. These human-ecological studies have used a combination of ethnographic, geographic, economic, and marine science research methods. We have delineated the dynamics of common-property institutions and various facets of indigenous ecological knowledge and associated resource exploitation strategies.

The hybrid management systems we designed have resulted in comprehensive conservation and management programs that - while not always successful socially and biologically - are better tailored to the local context. In regions like Oceania where local stakeholders retain a large measure of control over their natural resources, hybrid programs that operate at local scales are likely to be more successful than top-down, state-sponsored management plans.

The limitation of Western science, generally speaking, is that it is rarely understood in non-literate societies and hence can be alienating. Our aim has been to create hybrid forms of knowledge and management to establish a more inclusive approach to conservation.

MEAM: What are the benefits and limitations of traditional ecological knowledge?

Aswani: I lump traditional ecological knowledge with sea tenure to call it customary management. In places where forms of customary management already exist and are functional, the question becomes: Why should foreign systems of management, like EBM, be implemented?

From a hybrid management perspective, while the origins of Western resource management and customary management are different, their conceptual and operational principles can intersect in some ways. This is particularly the case with approaches such as EBM, and this creates an opportunity for their cross-fertilization. The objective, therefore, is to work with existing frameworks and not to replace them. It really boils down to an issue of practicality. Government- or NGO-sponsored management plans tend to focus on protecting biodiversity and ecosystem function, which, while they are important for sustaining and fostering ecological services, are not a major concern in many Pacific Island nations. Furthermore, local governments and stakeholders are not too receptive to government-sanctioned schemes that disregard local governance institutions and practices - particularly members of customary management systems that are still prevalent in many parts of Oceania. So really, there are not too many alternatives besides finding a hybrid solution.

B. If we invoke the precautionary approach whenever we have less than full certainty, then we will be invoking it all the time

Michael Nussman
President and CEO, American Sportfishing Association, Alexandria, Virginia, US. E-mail: MNussman [at] asafishing.org

(Editor's note: The American Sportfishing Association is the trade association for the US recreational fishing community.)

MEAM: What roles would you like to see science play in oceans management?

Michael Nussman: As a country, the US has invested far too few resources in understanding ocean and coastal science. At the American Sportfishing Association, we are focused on fishery science where many marine species that are important to the recreational community (anglers and industry alike) lack timely stock assessment. How in the world can we have successful fishery management (or ocean management in general) without the basic science?

Back in 1950, my industry realized that government by itself was unlikely to fund sufficient fishery science to ensure proper management. We supported the establishment of an excise tax on rods and reels (10 percent) that was collected by the Federal government and used for fishery management. In 1984, recognizing the increasing need, we expanded the tax to cover almost all recreational fishing products. Today this tax collects over $100 million each year for fishery management. Unfortunately, it has not been enough and much more needs to done especially in Federal waters.

MEAM: What role do you think the precautionary principle should play in cases of scientific uncertainty?

Nussman: We would all like a world with more certainty, whether it's in decisions regarding ocean resources or in the allocations for our retirement savings accounts. Unfortunately, there never seem to be enough good data, and thus we deal with uncertainty in many of our decisions. With that as a given, I think the US Ocean Policy Task Force [on whose recommendations the new US ocean policy is based] got it right when it defined the precautionary approach: that is, "Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation." While I'm not a scientist, several terms from the definition stand out to me, specifically "lack of full scientific certainty" and "cost-effective measures".

If I remember my philosophy of science course from many years ago, I believe it was Karl Popper who asserted that scientific theories cannot be verified but only refuted. While that may be overly simplistic, there is a broad agreement that science is not a series of facts that can be known with "full scientific certainty". If we invoke the precautionary approach whenever we have less than full certainty, then we will be invoking it all the time.

My understanding of current scholarly work in environmental policy is that instead of attempting the impossible task of removing all scientific uncertainty, the role of science is to help bound possible solutions. But as the Task Force's report reminds us when it refers to "cost effective measures", other factors are also critical in bounding policy solutions. Integrating science-based knowledge with economics, values, and societal goals is at the heart of the ecosystem services framework that has been embraced by scientists and policy makers alike.

C. Balancing protection and development requires negotiation

Kurt Derbyshire
Principal Fisheries Resource Officer (Marine Habitat), Fisheries Queensland, Australia. E-mail: kurt.derbyshire [at] deedi.qld.gov.au

(Editor's note: Kurt Derbyshire assists in the management of Queensland's declared Fish Habitat Areas, a system of multiple-use MPAs that protect natural fish habitats from alteration and degradation related to development.)

MEAM: How do you balance ecological science with other considerations in planning and managing the system of declared Fish Habitat Areas (FHAs)?

Kurt Derbyshire: As a starting point, we are required to balance ecology with social and economic factors by the legislation under which we declare and manage FHAs - the Queensland Fisheries Act 1994 and Fisheries Regulation 2008, which are based on the principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD). The Act outlines what the principles of ESD are and what must be balanced, including use of the precautionary principle.

The key objective is to protect fish habitats (the term can be considered as the equivalent to 'wetlands') from the threats and impacts of coastal development. Part of the determination of draft boundaries for an Area of Interest Plan (used in the first round of consultation) includes a review of existing development and proposed development to avoid inclusion of such activities. This also sets boundaries for where such development can occur (i.e., outside the area that is finally declared). The process of balancing protection of fish habitats and the needs - perceived or real - for future development includes direct negotiation with local and state government agencies responsible for promoting development. A key consideration for the local community is that fishing remains as a legitimate activity within each FHA.

BOX: In Europe, a "huge step forward in science" for EBM

Two developments in Europe are helping to strengthen the scientific groundwork for implementing EBM:

  • A new report, Science dimensions of an Ecosystem Approach to Management of Biotic Ocean Resources (SEAMBOR), offers independent scientific input to current EU policy-making on the marine environment, such as the European Commission's new Marine Strategy Framework Directive. The Directive aims to achieve "Good Environmental Status" of all European seas by 2020. The SEAMBOR report - produced by a working group of three regional marine science organizations (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea [ICES], the European Fisheries and Aquaculture Research Organisation, and the Marine Board of the European Science Foundation) - identifies knowledge gaps in understanding ecosystems, human impacts, management effectiveness, and more. Then it offers a workplan for improving the science base. The report is at www.esf.org/research-areas/marine-sciences/publications.html.
  • A series of reports on defining and managing descriptors of Good Environmental Status for marine waters - from biological diversity, to food webs, to seafloor integrity, and more - has been produced through a joint effort of ICES and the EU Joint Research Centre. The reports are atwww.ices.dk/projects/projects.asp#MSFD.

Jake Rice, chair of the SEAMBOR working group, says these two developments represent major progress for the field. "Together, these mark a huge step forward in the science basis for integrated approaches to marine ecosystem management," he says.

Dear MEAM,

Your August/September 2010 issue provides an excellent summary of the appropriate use of science in planning and management. It might surprise you that we used the methodologies so well described by Leanne Fernandes and Tundi Agardy in the original planning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Those same methodologies are also outlined in IUCN's Guidelines for Marine Protected Areas.

While it is true that in the original zoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park only 3.3% was absolutely "no-take", it should be recognized that:

  1. In other areas, commercial fishing was prohibited while amateur fishing (using only one line and no more than 6 hooks) was permitted; and
  2. The total area in which bottom trawling was prohibited amounted to about 27% of the whole Marine Park area. This was because the Authority was aware that bottom trawling affects not only fish stock but also habitat - i.e., it has a very detrimental effect on an ecosystem.

I remind you of the following statement:

"How complex and unexpected are the checks and relations between organic beings, which have to struggle together in the same country." (Darwin, 1882)

This applies not only to non-humans but to human communities as well. It follows that managers have to take this complexity into account in decision-making, and cannot decide only on the basis of natural scientific knowledge. Both Leanne's and Tundi's comments reflect this.

Graeme Kelleher AO.
Canberra, Australia. E-mail: graempa [at] home.netspeed.com.au

Graeme Kelleher is former Chairman and CEO of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

By Tundi Agardy, MEAM Contributing Editor (tundiagardy [at] earthlink.net)

Of all the principles that serve as the foundation for EBM, the precautionary approach may be the most inherently problematic. It presents several paradoxes:

  • Its premise is pure logic...yet its articulation is often so complex as to be incomprehensible;
  • It grows out of an attempt to make conservation more rigorous, objective, and science-based...yet it is often invoked as an excuse to err subjectively on the side of conservation; and
  • It is meant to address uncertainty head-on by providing a framework for making decisions when information is lacking...yet the thresholds for uncertainty (i.e., when information can be considered lacking enough to be called "uncertainty") remain uncertain.

This all leaves us with the sorry situation that it is difficult to know when to invoke the precautionary principle.

Thinking and writing about the precautionary principle is challenging, and I leave it to other contributors with greater mental acuity than mine to discuss its implications for EBM. Instead, I'd like to focus on a related topic: shifting the burden of proof.

Discussions about burden of proof rest on the precautionary assumption that only activities that can be proven not to adversely impact ecosystems should be permitted. However, in the face of an inability to predict exactly what the ecological, environmental, economic, and social consequences of an activity will be, the decision framework for managing uses of the sea becomes muddied. Institutions that support decision-making by providing information must scramble to find the data to evaluate trade-offs and make informed choices. Government agencies contract with such institutions and then manage the information they provide. This is done against the backdrop of squeezed budgets and limited capacities for day-to-day operations.

Since uncertainties about the consequences of development are generally huge in the marine sphere, there has been an outcry to shift the burden of proof - from the public to the private sector. That is, industries that propose new development (or an increase in resource use for already permitted activities) should bear the costs of amassing information to show their activity will not cause undue harm to ecosystems or people.

Under this scenario, the fishing industry would shoulder the costs of collecting data and doing analyses to show that an increase in quota would not adversely affect stocks, food webs, and biodiversity. Similarly, a marina developer proposing to convert coastal estuary and wetlands would finance the studies to show the development would not adversely impact the delivery of ecosystem services (such as provision of fish nursery areas, filtering of pollutants, maintaining hydrological balances, etc.). Likewise, the energy industry would be responsible for providing the information needed to evaluate the risks - set against the potential benefits - of a certain installation in a particular place.

Cynics will immediately decry such assessments as tainted: in other words, science is being "bought" to support profit-making. But there is a difference between subsidizing research and conducting research in-house. Shifting the burden of proof would allow roadblocks posed by uncertainties to be overcome, without further stressing marine management agencies and their budgets.

Although this may seem obvious, virtually all international agreements calling for an ecosystem approach and invoking the precautionary principle (e.g., UN Conference on Law of the Sea, UN Fish Stocks Agreement, FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, Convention on Biological Diversity) leave the burden of evaluating risk in the face of uncertainty to the States. Given how financially strapped these coastal countries already are, it is doubtful that systematic and rational assessments will be sufficiently performed.

The good news is that the global march toward EBM - and with it the use of marine spatial planning and ocean zoning - provides greater security for development interests to make such investments in research and analysis. As regulatory frameworks adapt to the new EBM realities, it is likely that industries will be required to underwrite information-gathering. Such frameworks will remove much of the confusion plaguing ocean industries, including uncertainties regarding permitting procedures and durability of use rights. Thus industries may be more inclined to accept the burdens of proof moving their way.

In July, President Obama signed an executive order establishing a national ocean policy for the US (www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/oceans). The policy launches a process of coastal and marine spatial planning for the nation, carried out on a phased basis across nine regions (MEAM 4:1).

Marine protected areas are often viewed as examples of marine spatial planning on a limited geographic scale. MEAM spoke with Joe Uravitch, director of the US National Marine Protected Areas Center, about the implications of the new US ocean policy for the nation's MPAs.

MEAM: In what ways will existing MPAs in the US be affected by the new national ocean policy?

Joe Uravitch: The new national ocean policy has the potential to benefit existing MPAs significantly since it places them in a larger, comprehensive, proactive planning context that did not exist in the past. Lines of authority and responsibility in the oceans often have been fragmented, unclear, and uncoordinated. Consultations with MPA managers often took place only when a major action potentially affecting MPA resources was proposed - often way into the sectoral use planning process. Under the new policy of using existing authority to strengthen ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes stewardship, MPAs are part of the process and their concerns can be addressed earlier as an integral part of a larger picture. This should lead to better conservation decisions.

MEAM: Could lessons learned from the planning of MPAs be useful in the nation's forthcoming coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) effort?

Uravitch: I believe previous experience in developing MPAs and updating MPA management plans can provide valuable lessons for the CMSP process. The key to success is to ensure the opportunity for active involvement by as many interested parties as are willing to be involved and a clear understanding of the desired outcome of the planning process. Regarding what can be learned from MPA processes, while the scales may differ, there are many similarities in process, engagement, use of scientific information, and tools, such as GIS applications that apply across scales. One major difficulty may come in the translation of a process focused on a targeted specific task: i.e., the development or updating of an MPA where there is a specific intended outcome versus the CMSP process which will be "completed" with a more generalized set of ends. The key will be to define what those ends are.

MEAM: Do you anticipate the CMSP process could result in designation of new MPAs?

Uravitch: As I understand this work in progress, the CMSP process does not have the authority to legally designate specific places for conservation, resource extraction, resource use, or other purposes. However, it seems likely that the more comprehensive planning and analysis process provided by CMSP will result in the identification of important places requiring protection, either through MPAs or some other management tool.

For more information:
Joe Uravitch
, National MPA Center, Silver Spring, Maryland, US. E-mail: Joseph.Uravitch [at] noaa.gov

BOX: Comparing two ocean policy approaches: The new US ocean policy and President Bush's Ocean Action Plan

When President Obama instituted a national ocean policy for the US this year, his administration described it as the first comprehensive, integrated policy for stewardship of the country's coasts and oceans. However, it is not the first presidential initiative to try to coordinate US ocean policy.

In December 2004, former President George W. Bush instituted an Ocean Action Plan, consisting of 88 action items that responded to recommendations from a national commission on ocean policy. The action items were diverse, pertaining to fisheries, MPAs, invasive species, watershed management, marine transportation, research, and more. The first item on the list was the creation of a Cabinet-level committee on ocean policy to coordinate the activities of federal departments on ocean-related matters. In 2008 at the end of his second and final term in office, President Bush announced that 87 of the 88 action items had been achieved (all except Congressional approval of the UN Law of the Sea Treaty).

The respective efforts of Presidents Bush and Obama offer a contrast in how an ocean policy can be crafted. President Bush said his Ocean Action Plan was about "setting clear goals and meeting those goals," and his policy amounted to the sum of its discrete parts (e.g., "Establish mandatory ballast water management program", "Promote international sea turtle conservation"). In comparison the Obama policy aims to provide an overarching framework within which future planning of US ocean use and conservation may occur.

Bush Ocean Action Plan:

Obama Executive Order, establishing the new national ocean policy:

Editor's note: Jeff Ardron, author of the following essay, is director of the High Seas Program at MCBI (Marine Conservation Biology Institute) in the US. He is also president of the board for PacMARA (Pacific Marine Analysis and Research Association) and an active member of the science board for the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI).

Disclaimer: the views expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and do not reflect upon any bodies with which he may be associated.

By Jeff Ardron (jeff.ardron [at] mcbi.org)

What is it about maritime planning and its fickle love of acronyms? Last year, I was in a forum about communicating science and was informed that ecosystem-based management (EBM) was no longer a good thing to say. Apparently it was too broad and too vague, which I understand. But this was clearly bad news for all of us who had previously supported the concept. Instead, we were now supposed to talk about concrete things, like marine spatial planning (MSP). Just a few more years ago, you may recall, integrated coastal management (ICM) was passé, and we were singing praises to EBM. Have we come full circle? Is this flitting from acronym to acronym helpful?

It doesn't stop there. The US Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force evidently felt compelled to create a new variant to MSP. That is, CMSP. The Executive Order from the President states:

"The term 'coastal and marine spatial planning' means a comprehensive, adaptive, integrated, ecosystem-based, and transparent spatial planning process, based on sound science, for analyzing current and anticipated uses of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes areas."

Elements of EBM and ICM have been rolled into this new definition, clearly. As a result, EBM, ICM, and MSP can all start to look very much alike. These acronyms have become imbued with meanings outside of their common usage. To most laypeople, spatial planning is simply spatial planning.

"'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.'" (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There)

To what advantage is this Humpty Dumpty naming of marine planning acronyms? Here is a suggestion: instead of expecting each new acronym to be the vessel that contains the myriad of our marine planning desires, why not look at them as a whole? Let's start with the most expansive:

Ecosystem-based management (ecosystem approach, fisheries management, etc.) is a big all-encompassing concept, arguably extending to the whole of the Earth's biosphere. This is what makes it so hard to nail down. In the spirit of simplicity, let us say that EBM means that our management is based in ecological realities. However, that alone is not enough to guide management, so read on...

Integrated management (coastal management, coastal zone management, etc.) is talking about humans and our activities, and how it is a good idea to integrate them into a single planning process - neither more nor less. (See, this is actually quite easy, isn't it!) However, this can be done quite poorly unless it is...

Systematic planning (conservation planning, etc.) argues for a structured stepwise approach that develops goals, objectives and targets. It identifies gaps and fills them. These can be non-spatial or...

Spatial planning (marine/maritime spatial planning, coastal and marine spatial planning, etc.) is, as the name suggests, the planning of how increasing numbers of humans can utilize limited space. Taken by itself, this sounds rather dull and self-evident; but taken in the context of the above elements, it has a much richer meaning.

Each of the above approaches brings an extensive scientific and grey literature of its own. In many cases the proponents of a given approach will put their acronym into the center of what I call "solar system" diagrams attached by lines radiating out to little orbiting planets that, more often than not, contain elements of everyone else's acronyms. Each of these solar systems purports to be transparent, accountable, adaptive, and so on, capturing what are really just good aspects of any planning process. Ironically, although the authors often preach integration, they rarely refer to literature outside of their chosen sphere, though there are notable exceptions.

In the Venn diagram posted at EIS-S.pdf, I put forward a different model, suggesting that each of the above approaches can stand alone, without elements of the others, but that it is the limited area where they all overlap that is of most interest. Indeed, this is the hallowed ground (or sea) over which the acronyms have been vying for attention.

To resolve this contest of the acronyms, I humbly suggest a truce, and have developed a meta-acronym that I hope will keep the peace: EIS-S. (Sounds like "Isis", the ancient Egyptian goddess, daughter of Heaven and Earth, friend to the rich and poor alike.) It stands for:Ecosystem-based, Integrated and Systematic, within a Spatial context. Will this fly? Oh, probably not! But let it be said that I tried.

Marine Ecosystems and Global Change

Edited by Manuel Barange, John Field, Roger Harris, Eileen Hofmann, Ian Perry, and Francisco Werner. 2010, Oxford University Press, 464 pages. US $150 at www.oup.com

Environmental change in the ocean can take many forms. Climate change, biodiversity loss, intensive exploitation of natural resources - these changes all have significant impacts on the world's oceans. This new book assembles knowledge on the structure and function of marine ecosystems and how these ecosystems respond to changes, including predictions on the responses of marine ecosystems to specific global change scenarios (e.g., changes in sea surface temperature, acidification of seawater).

The publication also describes management strategies for responding to global changes in marine systems. A full chapter is dedicated to ecosystem-based management.

The publication is a synthesis of more than two decades of research conducted under the Global Ocean Ecosystems Dynamics program (GLOBEC), a massive, multinational, interdisciplinary initiative. Its primary audience is graduate-level students and professional researchers in marine biology and oceanography, although it may provide useful information to resource managers as well.

5 Easy Pieces: The Impact of Fisheries on Marine Ecosystems

By Daniel Pauly. 2010, Island Press, 236 pages. US $25 at www.islandpress.org/5easypieces

This book is largely a compilation of five papers originally published in the journals Nature andScience between 1995 and 2003, demonstrating the substantial impacts of modern industrial fisheries on marine ecosystems. It traces a shift in scientific thought over that period as researchers grew to realize the global breadth of overfishing. Specifically the book addresses the concepts of fishing down food webs, worldwide fisheries catch trends, and sustainability in global fisheries.

Daniel Pauly was a co-author of each of the included articles. In this book, he provides additional material to provide context for each paper, including how the popular news media reported on the research at the time of original publication. He also reflects on ways that scientific consensus emerges from discussions both within and outside the scientific community.

New Canadian foreign policy on Arctic includes EBM

The Canadian government has announced a new Arctic foreign policy to guide how the country works with its regional neighbors. The strategy, consisting of four pillars (exercising Arctic sovereignty, protecting environmental heritage, promoting socioeconomic development, and improving Northern governance), is designed to foster a stable region with dynamic growth and healthy ecosystems.

As part of its environmental protection aspect, the policy calls for promoting an ecosystem-based management approach with the country's Arctic neighbors, including designation of more terrestrial and marine protected areas across the region. It also calls for supporting international efforts to address the causes and effects of climate change in the Arctic. The government's statement on the new Arctic foreign policy is at www.international.gc.ca/polar-polaire/assets/pdfs/CAFP_booklet-PECA_livret-eng.pdf.

Report describes EBM projects along West Coast of US

A new publication provides lessons from six community-based initiatives to implement marine and coastal EBM along the US West Coast - in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. The six initiatives comprise the West Coast EBM Network, formed in 2008. The Network, funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, connects existing local EBM efforts in the three states and also links to initiatives elsewhere at state, regional, and national levels.

The first half of the publication provides background on the network and each of its member projects, while the second half describes five distinct steps toward community-driven EBM, along with examples of how each step has been implemented at selected sites. "Our guide highlights the real-world application of EBM with a few succinct stories about what EBM looks like in coastal communities," says John Hansen, coordinator of the network. The report Community-Based Management of Coastal Ecosystems is available at www.westcoastebm.org.

Working group releases consensus statement on EBM principles

A Canadian working group with personnel from academia, First Nations (indigenous populations), government, industry, and NGOs has released a consensus statement outlining principles for the implementation of marine ecosystem-based management. The Sidney Consensus - named for the town in British Columbia where the group was convened - aims to provide an applied and accessible description of marine EBM.

"This document was created in response to concerns commonly encountered by stakeholders and governments," says Heather Coleman of PacMARA (Pacific Marine Analysis and Research Association), which managed the effort. "We hope it will now aid in the process of creating a marine EBM implementation framework for British Columbia." Coleman says that although the principles were developed in Canada, they could be applied elsewhere. The consensus statement also features supporting material that elaborates on concepts behind the EBM principles. It is available at http://pacmara.org/ebm_dialogue.

Comparing management of large marine areas

A new report, co-published by Conservation International (CI) and Flora & Fauna International, compares five approaches to managing large marine areas worldwide and outlines the strengths and weaknesses of each in applying EBM. The five approaches characterized by the publication are Marine Ecoregions, Seascapes, Large Marine Ecosystems, Regional Seas Programmes, and Integrated Coastal Management. Generally, each approach is favored by particular NGOs or international institutions. WWF and The Nature Conservancy, for example, favor the Marine Ecoregion approach to management, whereas CI favors Seascapes and UNEP implements its Regional Seas Programmes. The 154-page publication Comparison of Approaches to Management of Large Marine Areas is available atwww.conservation.org/documents/CI_FFI_Management_of_Large_Marine_Areas.pdf.

Report: Best practices in community-based watershed management

A report featuring lessons from a December 2009 symposium on community-based reforestation and watershed management in the Pacific region is now available. The symposium surveyed current watershed projects in the region, participatory approaches, and reforestation techniques, with particular focus on sites in Fiji and Vanuatu. It was convened by the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. The report Best-Practice Symposium on Community-based Reforestation/Watershed Management is available at http://bit.ly/95Wk81.

Geotechnologies and marine spatial planning

Presentations, papers, and other materials from the GIslands 2010 International Summer School on Marine Spatial Planning are available for free at www.gislands.org. The six-day course, which focused on the application of geographic technologies to spatial planning, was held in August 2010 in the Azores in the North Atlantic.

A cartoon guide to maritime spatial planning

WWF Germany has published a cartoon guide to implementing maritime spatial planning (MSP) in the Baltic Sea, titled "Become a Maritime Spatialist in 10 Minutes". The 28-page guide uses drawings, humor, and limited text to explain what MSP is, why it is needed, and what a Baltic sea zoning plan could look like. It is designed to be easily understood by a range of audiences, and is available in multiple languages (English, Latvian, Estonian, Latvian, German). The guide is downloadable at www.baltseaplan.eu/downloads/WWF_Cartoon_MSP.pdf.

Editor's note: The goal of The EBM Toolbox is to promote awareness of tools for facilitating EBM processes. It is brought to you by the EBM Tools Network, a voluntary alliance of tool users, developers, and training providers.

By Sarah Carr

Coastal hazard and climate change modeling and vulnerability assessment tools can be combined to provide powerful decision support tools that address multiple EBM objectives. A great example is the Coastal Resilience Web Mapping Tool (www.coastalresilience.org) developed by a coalition led by The Nature Conservancy. This tool incorporates multiple tools, including some that have been mentioned in prior EBM Toolbox features:

The combined tool helps local officials and coastal managers design, build, and discuss potential scenarios for sea level rise, storm surge, community vulnerability, and conservation. It then helps them identify solutions that meet both ecosystem protection and community resilience goals.

Additional resources for learning about coastal hazards and climate change, including data sources for tools and examples of coastal risk and vulnerability assessments, are:

  • NOAA's Coastal Inundation Toolkit (www.csc.noaa.gov/inundation), which provides an overview of causes of inundation as well as tools and resources for identifying and mapping hazards and vulnerabilities;
  • Climate Ready Estuaries Coastal Toolkit (http://epa.gov/cre), which compiles a variety of resources for learning about climate change impacts and adaptation, including examples of vulnerability assessments for coastal areas and data for modeling and mapping climate change scenarios;
  • Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (www.cakex.org), which provides case studies that profile on-the-ground adaptation projects and tools for processing climate change information and making adaptation decisions; and
  • NOAA's Coastal Climate Adaptation website (http://community.csc.noaa.gov/climateadaptation), which provides additional examples of coastal risk and vulnerability assessments.

Many thanks to the participants on the EBM Tools Listserv for providing background information for this series of columns.

(Sarah Carr is coordinator for the EBM Tools Network. Learn more about EBM tools and sign up for Network updates at www.ebmtools.org.)