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Governing Future Challenges in Mediterranean Protected Areas

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The book presents current Governance and Management Systems of Protected Areas, assessing their appropriateness to face future challenges, providing reciprocal benefits to local communities and environment. Eight articles reflect the main threats accelerating negative impacts on marine ecosystems such as climate change, invasive alien species, marine litter, tourism. How can marine and terrestrial Protected Areas like Biosphere Reserves, Natural and Cultural World Heritage sites, Natura 2000 areas, National and Regional Parks, and marine observatories increase their response mechanisms? Considerations for new paradigms related to the protection of the marine environment are presented and experts discuss recommendations for the transformation of the Governance and Management Systems.
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Technical Report
This guide describes the source-to-sea approach and its contribution to addressing key challenges for sustainable development. It takes practitioners through a six-step process for implementing the source-to-sea approach in projects and programmes (Figure 1). For each of the six steps, questions that direct the development of a source-to-sea project or programme, background information on the step, a relevant case study and the expected output of the step are presented.
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Article
Urban sprawl represents one of the most critical threats to biodiversity leading to the decline of rare and specialist species and the proliferation of a few dominant generalist ones. Among the winners there is the yellow-legged gull, Larus michahellis, which has recently colonised towns, nesting on the roofs of buildings and feeding on urban waste by spreading the contents of garbage bags on the streets. This situation has been recently documented in the historic centre of Venice (Italy) where it led to negative environmental impact and serious consequences in terms of urban hygiene. To counter such problems, the public company responsible for managing the urban waste in the Venice municipality established a new waste collection policy in the city to prevent accumulation of rubbish in the streets and limit the amount of trophic resources available for the species. We performed a monitoring program of the urban population of yellow-legged gulls and used generalized linear models to investigate the effectiveness of the new waste collection system on reducing the amount of waste in the streets and its effect on the target species. Results revealed a statistically significant positive correlation between urban waste and gulls and a significant effect of the new policy in lowering these two variables. Open areas, strongly frequented, with food and beverage vendors and illegal dumps were also highlighted as the main contributors to the presence of yellow-legged gulls. Such information can be used by local authorities to plan specific interventions to reduce the attractiveness of the city to gulls.
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Article
The lagoon of Venice has always been affected by the regional geomorphological evolution, anthropogenic stressors and global changes. Different morphological settings and variable biogeophysical conditions characterize this continuously evolving system that rapidly responds to the anthropic impacts. When the lockdown measures were enforced in Italy to control the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 infection on March 10th 2020, the ordinary urban water traffic around Venice, one of the major pressures in the lagoon, came to a halt. This provided a unique opportunity to analyse the environmental effects of restrictions to mobility on water transparency. Pseudo true-colour composites Sentinel-2 satellite imagery proved useful for qualitative visual interpretation, showing the reduction of the vessel traffic and their wakes from the periods before and during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. A quantitative analysis of suspended matter patterns, based on satellite-derived turbidity, in the absence of traffic perturbations, allowed to focus on natural processes and the residual stress from human activities that continued throughout the lockdown. We conclude that the high water transparency can be considered as a transient condition determined by a combination of natural seasonal factors and the effects of COVID-19 restrictions.
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Overtourism problems, anti-tourist movements and negative externalities of tourism are popular research approaches and are key concepts to better understand the sustainable development of tourism destinations. In many of the overtourism narratives, Venice is considered to be one of the most relevant cases of overtourism and therefore has become a laboratory for studying the different conflicts that emerge when tourism numbers continue to grow and the quality of the tourism flow continues to decline. This article is therefore focusing on Venice and on one of the possible solutions to mitigate the negative impacts of tourism represented by the concept of a tourist carrying capacity (TCC) in an urban destination. The aim of this paper is to discuss alternative methodologies regarding the calculation of the TCC, and to apply a fuzzy instead of a ‘crisp’ linear programming model to determine the scenarios of a sustainable number of tourists in the cultural destination of Venice, looking for the optimal compromise between, on the one hand, the wish of maximizing the monetary gain by the local tourism sectors and, on the other, the desire to control the undesirable effects that tourism exerts on a destination by the local population. To solve the problems related to tourism statistics and data availability, some uncertainty in the parameters has been included using fuzzy numbers. The fuzziness in the model was introduced on the basis of questionnaires distributed among both tourists and residents. By applying the fuzzy linear programming model to the emblematic case of Venice, it was shown that this approach can indeed help destinations to understand the challenges of sustainable tourism development better, to evaluate the impact of alternative policies of overtourism on the sustainability of tourism, and hence, to help design a strategy to manage tourist flows more adequately
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Chapter
Recent studies in UNESCO World Heritage sites and Biosphere Reserves (BRs) identified gaps regarding the effectiveness of planning, governance, and management. The objective of a study carried out is to develop innovative approaches of evidence-based governance in UNESCO-designated marine protected areas in the Mediterranean Basin. Three different types of Biosphere Reserves have been selected for the present chapter: the Tuscan Islands Archipelago in Italy; the Terres de l’Ebre Delta in Spain; and the marine and coastal area of Gouraya in Algeria. Current and future evidence in the BRs differ and require actions related to the local realities and challenges. The Terres de l’Ebre BR is step by step implementing the new strategies and processes. The Tuscan Island BR has already prepared the frameworks and participatory instruments which await implementation. The Gouraya BR through the National Park established conservation and development functions, but for its realization it still seeks an increase of awareness and commitments of the authorities as well as management tools and funds. The “evidence-based governance and management system” is considered an integrated approach adequately involving the three dimensions top-down, bottom-up, and outside-in. It is an instrument to improve effectiveness of management and to involve the local communities and stakeholders in the decision processes in Biosphere Reserves.
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Article
Fused filament fabrication (FFF) printers, the most common type of office, educational, and consumer-level 3D printers, emit complex mixture of volatile gases and ultrafine particles (UFPs) that can deteriorate indoor air quality (IAQ). It is important to understand their potential health risks as the technology becomes more prevalent. The developed method for characterizing and quantifying emissions from an operating FFF 3D printer measures particulate and volatile organic compound (VOC) concentrations over time using an environment controlled testing chamber. Characterization of 3D printer emissions is critical for understanding the chemical safety of this technology for providing guidance to minimize exposure to unintentional hazardous emissions. This study found 3D printers to be a source of numerous VOCs and particles that can be released into the indoor air with 216 individual VOCs identified. These VOCs were assessed for their indoor air and human exposure impact. The specific VOCs released during printing varied depending on the filament material. Filament monomers and degradation byproducts were identified in air samples. Total VOC emissions ranged from 147 μg h⁻¹ for polyvinyl alcohol filament to 1660 μg h⁻¹ for nylon filament. Nozzle temperature, filament material, filament brand, printer brand, and filament color all affected VOC and particle emissions. Personal exposure levels and room exposure levels in two indoor situations, a bedroom and a classroom, were predicted for certain VOCs known or suspected to be carcinogens or irritants. Some chemicals of concern exceeded recommended indoor levels linked to adverse health effects. Exposure levels could be minimized by operating verified low-emitting 3D printers and filaments, reducing the printer nozzle temperature when possible, increasing ventilation around the printer, and providing local exhaust.
Chapter
In recent years, ICT and social media have greatly influenced visitors’ behavior and consequently this has resulted in negative impacts on the natural and cultural heritage sites. Tourist destinations seek to attract even more visitors using ICT tools, commercial internet platforms and social media. The investigations undertaken in 2019 included examples of over tourism heritage sites which exceed permanently or periodically their Carrying Capacity and show impacts from fast growing visitor numbers. Key tourism spots of selected destinations in the World Heritage sites such as the Dolomites and Venice in Italy, Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch in Switzerland, were analyzed on social media and commercial travel websites. Studies of small destinations endangered by overtourism concerned the Verzasca valley in Switzerland, Trolltunga in Norway, and Scala dei Turchi in Sicily, Italy. The investigations show that the role of visual and social media in destination marketing has gained enormous influence on traveler behavior in just one decade. Especially in small heritage sites with insufficient or no tourism infrastructure and business, the booming visitors flow results in overtourism and consequently in impacts to natural and cultural heritage, local economy and population. The combination of visual media (television, movies, short films or music clips on YouTube) and social media presence can boost little or unknown sites periodically or seasonally. Media and ICT applications will have significant roles in new governance and management models, supporting the distribution of tourist flows, balancing over and under tourism, in space and time. Measures to improve visitor management will be little effective if they are not part of an integrated tourism strategy including social media. A “heritage stewardship destination” model, focusing on quality tourism which creates added values for local people and visitors, offers opportunities to jointly engage in the conservation of their heritage, to improve their own living standards and experience, and to share equally costs and benefits. A changed tourism paradigm for heritage destinations has to respect local evidences and involve all actors in the decision processes.
Article
Plastic pollution is widespread in all the oceans and seas, representing a significant threat to most of their ecosystems even in marine protected areas (MPAs). This study determines the floating plastic distribution in four different periods between 2014 and 2015 in the recently approved Menorca Channel MPA (Balearic Islands). Plastic debris were persistent during all sampling periods on the surface of the Channel, composed mainly by the microplastic sizes. Average particle abundances ranged from 138,293 items·km^(-2) in autumn to 347,793 items·km^(-2) during the spring, while weight densities varied from 458.15 g(DW)·km^(-2) in winter to 2016.67 g(DW)·km^(-2) in summer. Rigid plastics were the most frequent particles in all the periods analysed (from 89.40%-winter to 94.54%-spring). The high-resolution and particle distribution models corroborated that the oceanographic variability shapes different patterns of presence of plastics, and in particular the existence of areas with almost no plastics.