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Place-based Assessment of Small Islands' Ecosystem Services

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... The islands of the Mediterranean region are also characterized by high natural, ecological, and recreational value, while supporting hotspots of global biodiversity; however the limited resources, area size and remoteness from mainland areas (isolation) are some of the main disadvantages of their physical environment [37]. Given the vulnerability of islands, sustainable management must enhance the ability of ecosystems to recover from either human or environmental disturbance [38]. Through understanding why it is important Sustainability 2018, 10, 3285 3 of 28 to sustain healthy ecosystems, with such high dynamic nature and where increasing tourism and intense land use changes occur, stakeholders and managers might be willing to secure ES provisions that ultimately benefit human wellbeing. ...
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To manage multiple ecosystem services (ES) effectively, it is essential to understand how the dynamics of ES maintain healthy ecosystems to avoid potential negative impacts on human well-being in the context of sustainable development. In particular, the Ionian Islands in the central Mediterranean are characterized by high natural, ecological, and recreational value; however, the intensification of human activities over time has resulted in the loss of natural ecosystems, which might have negatively impacted ES. Here, we aimed to assess and understand the spatiotemporal dynamics of ES supply and how these components interact across the Ionian Islands to optimize future ES provision and mitigate current trade-offs. We quantified multiple ecosystem services and analyzed their interactions at a temporal scale across the four prefectures of the Ionian Islands. Seven ES were quantified covering all three ES sections (provisioning, regulating and maintenance, and cultural) of the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES). ES interactions were investigated by analyzing ES relationships, identifying ES bundles (sets of ES that repeatedly occur together across space and time), and specifying ES occurrence within bundles. The three ES groups exhibited similar patterns on some islands, but differed on islands with areas of high recreation in parallel to low provisioning and regulating ES. Temporal variations showed both stability and changes to the supply of ES, as well as in the interactions among them. Different patterns among the islands were caused by the degree of mixing between natural vegetation and olive orchards. This study identified seven ES bundles that had distinct compositions and magnitudes, with both unique and common bundles being found among the islands. The olive grove bundle delivered the most ES, while the non-vegetated bundle delivered negligible amounts of ES. Spatial and temporal variation in ES appear to be determined by agriculture, land abandonment, and increasing tourism, as well as the occurrence of fires. Knowledge about the spatial dynamics and interactions among ES could provide information for stakeholders and decision-making processes to develop appropriate sustainable management of the ecosystems on the Ionian Islands to secure ecological, social, and economic resilience.
... These may threaten the natural capital of the region, as multifunctional landscapes, which have traditionally hosted Mediterranean ecosystems and their services, are lost (Plieninger et al. 2014). These changes can have an even more important effect when they occur in small Mediterranean islands, characterised by a mosaic of landcovers and landscapes (Vogiatzakis et al., 2008) and where the socio-economic and environmental insularity often strengthens the linkages between ecosystems and communities (Balzan et al., 2016). In many Mediterranean islands, traditional human activities, which have shaped the islands' landscapes are almost exclusively related to subsistence production such as mining and agriculture . ...
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Distinguishing between the capacity of ecosystems to generate ecosystem services (ES) and the actual use of these service (ES flow) in ES assessment and mapping is important to develop an understanding of the sustainability of ES use. This study assesses the spatial variation in ES capacity and flow in the Mediterranean small island state of Malta. The services included in this study were crop provisioning, beekeeping and honey production, fodder and livestock production, crop pollination, air quality regulation, and aesthetic ES. This assessment develops different spatial models, which make use of available datasets, causal relationships between datasets, including a generated land use land cover (LULC) map, and statistical models and indicators based on direct measurements. Individual ES indicators were mapped to visualise and compare their spatial patterns across the case study area. Subsequently, an analysis of ES associations and bundles was carried out using Pearson parametric correlation test, for both ES capacity and flow indicators generated from this study, and through Principal Component Analysis. Results demonstrate several significant synergistic interactions between ES capacity and flow in rural landscapes characterised with agricultural and semi-natural LULC categories, indicating high landscape multifunctionality. In contrast, predominantly urban areas tend to be characterised with a low ecosystem capacity and ES flow, suggesting that ES delivery in the landscapes of the study area is determined by land use intensity. These findings support the notion that multifunctional rural landscapes provide multiple ES, making an important contribution to human well-being, and that land use planning that develops green infrastructure in urban areas can significantly contribute to support biodiversity and ES delivery.
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Main Messages The coastal, marine, and inland ecosystems of islands provide valuable regulating, provisioning, and cultural services to more than 500 million people. Many small islands have a strong traditional dependence on marine and coastal biodiversity for their food, tools, industry, medicine, transport, and waste disposal. With increasing human population pressures through high migration and reproductive rates, island systems face several serious issues both in the immediate and the near future. Islands systems, in spite of size, category, climate, and social conditions, share a commonality, identified here as the ‘‘isola effect.’’ This represents the physical seclusion of islands as isolated pieces of land exposed to different kinds of marine and climatic disturbances and with a more limited access to space, products, and services when compared with most continental land masses. In addition, subjective issues such as the perceptions and attitudes of islanders themselves on their conditions and their future on the island are incorporated into the ‘‘isola effect.’’ Coastal fisheries, a particularly important and traditional source of food, protein, and employment on many islands, are seriously depleted. Over-fishing has already deprived island communities of subsistence fishing and caused conflicts in many tropical islands across Asia. Island states and their exclusive economic zones comprise 40% of the world’s oceans and earn significant foreign exchange from the sale of offshore fishery licenses, but this situation cannot last forever. Watershed modification on islands has had a negative impact on water resources in terms of water quality and quantity as well as flow regime. Despite limited coverage on some islands, forested watersheds are critical regulators of island hydrology. Without adequate freshwater resources, small islands depend on desalinated or imported water. Island water supply is often threatened by pollution, particularly from poorly treated sewage. The natural land cover of island systems has changed drastically he pressure of growing human populations and consequent exploitation of the landmass. On some islands, the impact has exceeded critical thresholds, particularly along the coastal fringe. Anthropogenic changes range from deforestation for cropland to urbanization and the abandonment of degraded land. All these have immediate repercussions on habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity. One conspicuous effect of natural and anthropogenic actions in the coastal zone threatening islands systems is the erosion of soft coastlines (sandy and muddy beaches). Island systems are highly dependent on outside sources for food, fuel, and even employment, which together increase the economic fragility of many islands. At the same time, island resources are increasingly affected by globalization and trade liberalization. It is questionable whether regional or international groupings of islands, such as the small island developing states, can respond adequately to such pressures. Energy constraints are particularly critical in island systems. The usually limited size of islands, their constrained capacity to provide ecosystem services (in spite of type or size), and often their distance from large-scale energy supply systems are key factors to explain why energy issues are an important factor in island systems. However, oceans—through currents, tides, waves, and thermal and salinity gradients—offer a source of new renewable forms of energy that remain underexplored. Low-lying island systems are under threat from climate change and pre�dicted sea level rise. These in turn are expected to have serious consequences on flooding, coastal erosion, water supply, food production, health, tourism, and habitat depletion. The sea level rise would be severe or devastating to millions of people living on low-lying islands and atolls. The projected changes in temperature and rainfall could disrupt terrestrial and marine ecosystems on most islands, especially small ones. Increased flooding and coastal erosion will have serious consequences for the tourism industry. The incidence of dengue fever has been correlated to the Southern Oscillation Index, and extremes in rainfall are likely to exacerbate diarrheal illnesses. Islands need to develop appropriate coastal assessments and management so as to adapt to these changes in a sustainable manner. The coastal systems of islands, such as coastal forests, dunes, mangroves, coral reefs, and seagrass meadows, are being altered through agriculture, aquaculture, coastal urban sprawl, industrialization, and resort development. In addition, these changes produce further stresses on the island systems, such as the production of sewage, solid waste, and water pollution. These alterations exacerbate the fragility of island systems.
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Incorporating values, views and expectations held by local stakeholders is fundamental to the management of marine protected areas (MPAs), particularly in small islands where MPAs are central assets of the local economy and society. In this study, we used a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to understand what drives the use of marine and coastal areas, to explore local and expert views of the marine environment and its conservation, and ultimately to determine approaches to MPA management that best reflect local needs and desires. The study focused on Corvo Island, which includes the largest coastal MPA in the Azores Archipelago, yet remains without a current management plan. Evidence of a strong ocean-oriented cultural identity, with a clear gender dichotomy in the patterns of marine and coastal use, was found. Participants recognized the strategic value of the marine environment for the island's economy, and strategies to promote the sustainable use of marine resources based on local values and views were suggested. There was a widespread perception of declining species abundance, ecological unbalances caused by biodiversity loss, and significant changes from the status quo with regards to the maritime environment. This was reflected in a common recognition of marine ecosystem vulnerability, yet the local community and stakeholders presented different views on what the main threats were. In any case, we found strong local support for marine conservation initiatives, particularly MPAs. However, stakeholders differed in their views on MPA goals and outcomes, reflecting negative perceptions on the government's capacity to manage the Corvo MPA. Based on these results, we discuss implications for MPA implementation, particularly for the development of specific MPA goals shared by all stakeholders.
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The ESLAND Project (http://www.eslandproject.eu) seeks to investigate ‘European culture as expressed in island landscapes’. All the world’s islands, except perhaps those of the high Arctic and high Antarctic, are cultural landscapes: the product of interactions between the environment, plants and animals, and human cultures. Any cultural landscape, whether of an island or otherwise, accumulates the results of such interactions, which typically go back at least for centuries and often involve more than one culture. For example, in the eastern half of the island of Tasmania, English settlers tried, with varying success, to replicate the hedges and fields of their distant homeland, to the extent of importing hawthorn and elm trees as well as wheat and sheep. This expression of European culture, dating from the early to mid nineteenth century, is superimposed on a pre-existing savanna of scattered giant eucalyptus trees, another cultural landscape resulting from thousands of years of land management by Tasmanian Aborigines.
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Monetary valuation of ecosystem services enables more accurate accounting of the environmental costs and benefits of policies, but this has rarely been applied in developing countries. In such contexts, there are particular methodological and epistemological challenges that require novel valuation methodologies. This paper introduces a new participatory, deliberative choice experiment approach conducted in the Solomon Islands. The research aimed to determine the value people placed on ecosystem services and whether participatory interventions to elicit deeper held values influenced the preferences expressed. Results found that the initial willingness to pay for a number of tropical forest ecosystem services amounted to 30% of household income. Following deliberative intervention exercises, key ecosystem services effectively became priceless as participants were unwilling to trade them off in the choice experiment scenarios, regardless of financial cost. The group based deliberative approach, combined with participatory interventions, also resulted in significant learning for participants. This included a more sophisticated view of ecological-cultural linkages, greater recognition of deeper held values, and greater awareness of the consequences of human actions for the environment. The use of a group-based participatory approach instead of a conventional individual survey helped to overcome many of the practical difficulties associated with valuation in developing countries. Given the impact of learning on valuation outcomes, participation and deliberation should be integrated into valuation of any complex good, both in developing and developed economies. However, such a methodology raises questions about how valuation can deal with unwillingness to trade-off key ecosystem services, which results in the breakdown of monetary valuation methods. Evaluation of the appropriateness of valuation processes and methodologies for assessing deeper held values and use of mixed-method approaches will be essential to ensure policies take into account the extent to which human life is dependent on ecosystem services.
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Small island developing states (SIDS) are vulnerable due to their small size in both bio-physical and socio-economic senses. They are increasingly confronted with the environmental consequences through utilisation of their fragile natural resources for economic development. Here we illustrate the dilemmas experienced by SIDS associated with sustainable economic development. Our focus is the main island of the Kingdom of Tonga, Tongatapu, located in the South Pacific Ocean. We analyse the intensification of agriculture and the attendant pressures on the islands freshwater resources. We combine environmental and economic data. Tongatapu (256 km2) is a raised coral atoll and the freshwater resources exist as lenses that float on top of denser salt water underneath the island. Since 1987 Tonga has exported squash pumpkin solely to Japan. Over the last 10 years, these exports have accounted for more then 40% of total export earnings, and represent 60% to 70% of GDP derived from agricultural export. This increase in exports is matched by an abrupt increase in the import and usage of agricultural chemicals. The island's freshwater lenses are increasingly under pressure from agricultural intensification. In the economic decision process, environmental impacts are not taken into account. This is partly because of overlapping institutional responsibilities of water management, and opaque institutional structures which are highlighted in the paper. The environmental consequences experienced by SIDS in terms of primary production stresses the need of taking natural capital into account when the benefits from international trade are evaluated. At the same time pollution will result in irrecoverable losses in terms of tourist potential. Improved agricultural practices have to be implemented through educational tools to ensure continuing economic prosperity derived from agricultural exports. Economic development of SIDS should also focus on the maintenance of kin relationships overseas, securing rent incomes and regional cooperative development efforts.
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There is currently, widespread interest in the assessment of ecosystem services, and the new insights that the concept provides in understanding the ecology of landscapes and the science of sustainability. Three major assessment frameworks can be identified in the contemporary literature, namely one based on habitats, one based on the identification of the system elements that delivers the service, and one based on the understanding of places. Although all are useful for supporting decision making in relation to sustainable development, different situations require different perspectives, and so it is important to understand their advantages and drawbacks. Moreover, it is important to determine how they relate to other approaches used, for example, in landscape planning, so that the contribution that ecosystem assessments can make to sustainability debates can be better understood. The aim of this paper is to describe the strengths of the place-based approach because it is more easily overlooked as an assessment option. In particular we will argue that a place-based approach can help us better understand issues of multi-functionality, the valuation of natural capital and the role of landscape in framing debates about ecosystem services and sustainability. An appreciation of these issues will enable researchers interested in landscape to key questions and priorities in relation to questions of sustainability. Although it is useful to consider different assessment perspectives separately, we conclude that in practice, the habitat and systems approaches can form part of a place-based assessment, just as a better understanding of place can enrich assessments that spring from these more natural science approaches. Nevertheless, in designing analytical strategies to take the ecosystem approach forward, we suggest that it is vital to consider these different perspectives in order to build assessments that are relevant, legitimate and credible, and which can effectively address the problems of sustainability that emerge at the landscape scale.
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Due to the current species extinction crisis, there is an urgent need to identify the most threatened areas of ex-ceptionally high biodiversity and rates of endemism (i.e., "hotspots"; Mittermeier et al. 1998; Myers 1988; Reid 1998). Conservation strategies represent a crucial issue in the mediterranean biome because this area, which represents only 2% of the world's surface, houses 20% of the world's total floristic richness (Médail & Quézel 1997). Myers initially (1988, 1990) defined 14 hotspots in the tropical biome and four in mediterranean biocli-mates (southwestern Australia, Cape Region of South Af-rica, California, and part of Chile). Like the four other mediterranean areas, the Mediterranean Basin is one of the world's major centers for plant diversity, where 10% of the world's higher plants can be found in an area rep-resenting only 1.6% of the Earth's surface (Médail & Quézel 1997). The prominent role played by these areas as reservoirs for plant biodiversity has been emphasized by Myers (1990). He hesitated, however, to group the whole Mediterranean Basin into one single hotspot be-cause it covers such a large surface area, and insufficient data were available for certain regions. In this context, Médail and Quézel (1997) performed a global survey of plant richness and endemism to more precisely define hotspots in the Mediterranean Basin; they identified 10 hotspots. Three main approaches, however, have been taken in recent studies performed by international con-servation organizations to define priority conservation areas in the Mediterranean Basin. The first approach, the "megadiversity countries" project (Mittermeier et al. 1997), defined 17 megadiverse countries based primarily on plant endemism, species richness, and political boundaries. The top countries listed were Indonesia, Colombia, Brazil, Australia, Mex-ico, and Madagascar, but the Mediterranean Basin was completely left out, although, as some authors have re-cently pointed out (Heywood 1995; Médail & Quézel 1997), several tropical or subtropical countries have lower plant diversity than the Mediterranean Basin. For example, all of tropical Africa has the same plant rich-ness (30,000 taxa) as the circum-Mediterranean region in a surface area four times larger. Furthermore, the Mediterranean Basin possesses 10.8 species/1000 km 2 , which is higher than the 3.1 species/1000 km 2 in China, 4.7 in Zaire and in India, and 6.5 in Brazil, but lower than the 40 in Colombia and 90 in Panama (Médail & Quézel 1997). In the second approach, on the opposite extreme, some recent conservation strategies treat the Mediterra-nean Basin as a unique hotspot. The Global 200 project, performed by Olson and Dinerstein (1997, 1998), included the whole area in one large ecoregion defined by one rare major habitat type (i.e., Mediterranean shrublands and woodlands). These authors emphasized that "more-detailed, fine-scale analyses are essential to identify im-portant targets within ecoregions." In a recent work, Mittermeier et al. (1998) defined 24 hotspots in which, based on plant endemism, the whole Mediterranean Ba-sin was listed second after tropical Andes. Nevertheless, including all the different parts of the Mediterranean Ba-sin in one unique hotspot seems to oversimplify the situ-ation, even on a global scale. In fact, this area has many highly differentiated biogeographical patterns and land-use practices in space and time within its complex and heterogenous landscapes. The Mediterranean region constitutes both a refuge area and one that encourages floral exchange and active plant speciation (Quézel 1978, 1985). In the western ba-sin, high-endemism areas are related to the age of the geological platform and relict endemics prevail, whereas in the east, vicariant endemism is high due to the moder-ate role of glaciations and the presence of ultramafic rocks (Verlaque et al. 1997). Between the northern and southern coasts, human effects have created two differ-ent situations (Barbero et al. 1990). The collapse of the * email f.medail@botmed.u-3mrs.fr Paper submitted September 22, 1998; revised manuscript accepted June 9, 1999.
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Many small island developing states (SIDS) face special disadvantages associated with small size, insularity, remoteness and proneness to natural disasters. These factors render the economies of these states very vulnerable to forces outside their control — a condition which sometimes threatens their very economic viability. The GDP or GNP per capita of these states often conceals this reality. In this paper the major vulnerabilities faced by SIDS are discussed and when possible quantified in the form of an index. An attempt is also made to construct a composite index of vulnerability.