Ecosystem Services at Risk
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The high biodiversity and geodiversity of the coastal zone allow a wide range of services. However, deleterious impacts to the environment threaten the delivery of these services and, consequently, the human well-being they lead to. The coastal zone, with its multiple users and impacts, is a case in which an ecosystem-based approach would bring many benefits within the scope of an integrated coastal management strategy. By considering the ecosystem services supplied by the coastal zone, it is possible to make well-informed decisions.
One way of doing this is through reshaping the dunes. Reshaping transpires through the use of earthmoving equipment that makes the dunes more aerodynamic shaped. Reshaping is able to create the needed form of the dune for vegetation and organisms to become established on the dunes. Dune reconstruction usually occurs on dunes that lack in sand. As it is expensive to import sand, chemicals and other inorganic fertilisers are used. If dune reconstruction is applied with other efficient management methods like revegetation, then it is extremely positive for the dune, as seen in Texas, USA where sand dunes using this method have grown by 2 or 3 metres in only 2 years. The most successful method for dune stabilisation is revegetation. Revegetation is proven to be the least expensive, most durable and is able to self-maintain. The main role of dune plants is to trap and hold wind-borne sand. The leaves of vegetation also play a part, as they disturb the movement of sand by saltation and surface creep. Revegetation usually takes on the form of developing a plant succession on the dunes. If the dune is somewhat degraded then pioneer dune grasses, like sand spinifex, are brought in to stabilise the dune, then introduced are the secondary vegetation like she oaks and finally tertiary species like coastal trees. As coastal dunes are extremely harsh and specialised ecosystems it is preferred that the seedlings of the revegetation come from neighbouring areas, as the vegetation has experienced the conditions. Revegetation does not come cheap and is particularly labour-intensive. Through the actions of volunteers like Dune Care, dune revegetation is able to occur more often and with fewer expenses. Both coral reefs and coastal dunes are extreme environments in their own ways. They face common problems in terms of the biophysical interactions and human stresses, but also contrasting difficulties with one being more vulnerable than the other. Much importance must be placed on preserving both ecosystems as they offer us many resources. Efficient management approaches must also be used to sustain them for future generations. These environments offer humans an insight into the power and ferocity that is instilled in Mother Nature. The ecosystems have adapted to the many conditions they have faced, and will continue as long as we can help preserve them.
Additionally, the three manuscripts provide a starting point for government officials to enhance ecosystem services through land use planning, management, nutrient reduction programs. Further research is needed on homebuyers’ perception of ecosystem services in order to improve land use management and achieve sustainable development. Since the perception of ecosystem goods and services can vary by person, better understanding the people’s awareness may provide more insights on implicit marginal price and potential benefits. We would also like to account for uncertainty in quantifying ecosystem services in a landscape in future work, so that policymakers can make more effective policies and they can adapt management approaches in the face of uncertainty. Most previous research has ignored the uncertainty associated with modeling of production of ecosystem services and future land use scenarios with the exception of a handful of studies that have valued ecosystem services with uncertainty (Nadeau et al, 2007). However, if the uncertainty in the biophysical production of ecosystem services is substantial, it may influence the validity of uncertainty analysis in the valuation of ecosystem services.
These factors mediate the relationship between ecosystem services and human well-being in ways that remain contested and incompletely understood.
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