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Title: Modelling Social-Ecological Systems in the Catalan Coastal Zones
Author: Tomlinson, Benjamin John
Director: Maynou Hernández, Francesc
Canals Artigas, Miquel
Keywords: Ecologia animal
Poblacions animals
Anàlisi econòmica, Ecologia de les costes
Animal ecology
Animal populations
Economic analysis
Coastal ecology
Issue Date: 20-Jan-2016
Publisher: Universitat de Barcelona
Abstract: [eng] The Systems Approach Framework (SAF) is a methodological framework designed to enhance the efficacy of human decision-making processes within social-ecological systems with regard to sustainability. The SAF was applied in two case studies in the coastal zone of Catalonia, in two separate European Commission Framework Programme projects entitled “Science and Policy Integration for Coastal System Assessment” (SPICOSA) and “Vectors of Change in Oceans and Seas-marine Life, Impact on Economic Sectors" (VECTORS). During the SPICOSA application, a common issue of interest to most stakeholders was the water quality (harmful bacteria and water clarity) of the local city beaches, particularly following combined sewer overflow events, and mitigating this impact by using stormwater collectors. Water quality influences the beach users’ decision whether to stay at the beach or to leave, thus affecting the revenue received by the bars and restaurants on the beach front. A social-ecological model was constructed using the methodology outlined in the SAF to represent this issue, so that it could be used as a tool for deliberation between the stakeholders. The model output implies that the stormwater collectors have been useful in improving beach water quality in Barcelona, but there will be diminished returns in constructing more. The value of the beach is clearly large in terms of both non-market value and revenues generated in the nearby bars and restaurants. However, the impact changes in water quality would have on the recreational appeal of the beach is estimated to be low and further research is recommended to determine beach users’ sensitivity to beach closures (bacteria limit exceeded) and turbidity. At the beginning of the VECTORS project, stakeholders who had participated during the previous SAF application expressed a lack of willingness to engage due to a lack of human resources. The scientific team therefore chose to continue the application with the aspiration of demonstrating the SAF model and results at a later date if the stakeholders found the required resources to engage with the process. There is a general perception that jellyfish abundances are increasing along the Catalan coast. Local authorities are concerned about the stranding events and arrivals of jellyfish to beaches and believe it could reduce the recreational appeal of the beaches. Previous studies also demonstrate the predation of jellyfish (Pelagia noctiluca ephyrae) upon some small pelagic fish larvae (Engraulis encrasicolus). Small pelagics are the principal source of revenue for the local fisheries. A social-ecological model was created in order to capture the effects of changes in abundance of Pelagia noctiluca upon the local fisheries, the tourist industry and the wider economy. Various future scenarios for different abundances of jellyfish blooms were run. Given the changes that these scenarios would cause on the regional gross domestic product and employment, this study concludes that the overall impact of either of these scenarios on the economy would not be significant at the regional scale. The inclusion of stakeholders in the SAF methodology is rightly fundamental, but in practice, it can be extremely difficult to persuade key stakeholders to participate, and this is a flaw in the SAF which needs addressing. SAF Application model builders are dependent on stakeholders sharing important data or knowledge but this may be withheld for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, lack of resources to participate, disinterest, and concern about how the results will be used. The SAF is a well-structured methodology for cases where a mathematical model is both relevant and feasible and should be considered as a useful step-by-step guide for managing coastal zone systems towards sustainability.
Appears in Collections:Tesis Doctorals - Departament - Ecologia

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