Coastal & Marine Management

Ecosystem-based Coastal and Marine Spatial Management

Human activities on land and sea affect coastal and marine [tippy title=”ecosystem services”]“Ecosystem services are the benefits people obtain from ecosystems. In the marine realm, these include provisioning services, such as food; regulating services, such as climate and disease regulation; supporting services, such nutrient cycling and primary production; and cultural services, such as recreational, spiritual, and other nonmaterial benefits.” (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005)[/tippy]. Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is a holistic management concept based on the ecosystem approach. The full range of uses and users that interact in marine and coastal ecosystems are considered. The aim of EBM is to sustainably manage marine and coastal ecosystem across relevant sectors and to harmonise human activities in order to sustain ecosystem service delivery, considering cumulative impacts of human activities and facilitate multi-objective planning. EBM is proposed as a gradual shift towards long-term, integrated and adaptive management. It considers ecosystems fully rather than single species management, and people as a central element of ecosystems.

Trade-offs exist between the benefits of activities for human well-being and their cumulative impacts on marine and coastal ecosystems. Spatial planning can assist in resolving this challenge through zoning of area-based management measures that balance these aspects, while also considering impacts of key externalities such as climate change. Practical ecosystem assessment, ecosystem service valuation, trade-off evaluation and area-based planning tools as well as pilot demonstration and good-practice guidance can assist development and implementation of marine, coastal and island EBM. Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) and Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) are possible approaches to advance and implement ecosystem-based management. Catalysing their practical implementation is a viable step towards ecosystem-based management in the marine and coastal environment.

Marine spatial planning (MSP) is a public process of analyzing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives that are usually specified through a political process.

Integrated marine and coastal area management (IMCAM) is a participatory process for decision making to prevent, control, or mitigate adverse impacts from human activities in the marine and coastal environment, and to contribute to the restoration of degraded coastal areas.
(SCBD 2004)

Cost saving – the benefit aside from sustaining ecosystem services
Implementing any kind of management comes with costs. However, successfully applied EBM can be more effective, more efficient and less costly than the additive costs of uncoordinated sectorial management over the long term.
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