The marine environment is one of our most precious yet fragile natural resources. It provides a wide range of essential goods and services, including food, regulation of climate and nutrient cycling, as well as a setting for transport, recreation and tourism. This environment is however extremely complex and very sensitive to development pressures and other forms of human influence. Planning and management of the sea are similarly complicated, reflecting intricate legal, institutional and ownerships patterns. This creates a situation where marine ecosystems are vulnerable to over-exploitation or neglect.
The Ecosystem Approach to Marine Planning and Management describes how growing concern about the state of our seas is resulting in the development of new approaches to marine planning and management. For example, the United Nations Environment Programme has called for the widespread introduction of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), and the European Union has recently been consulting on a new European Maritime Policy designed to stimulate economic growth but at the same time protect the resource base. Within the United Kingdom, the 2010 Marine Act draws upon the experience of town and country planning and brings into being a new system of Marine Spatial Planning. The authors show that a common feature of all these developments is an appreciation that more integrated forms of planning and management are required for our seas and that new arrangements must draw together understanding from natural science, social science and many other perspectives. Adopting such a trans-disciplinary and holistic (or 'ecosystems') approach, the book distils the expertise of these different disciplines and seeks to promote a broader understanding of the origins and practicalities of new approaches to marine planning and management.
'Clear and comprehensive description of the ecosystem approach as a conceptual framework and its use in guiding marine planning and management. Sets out how to develop adaptive approaches to accommodate change, using practical examples from the UK and overseas' James Marsden, Director Marine, Natural England
'Ecosystem services provide the fundamental base for a sustainable economy, and for addressing the consequences of anthropogenic and natural drivers like climate change and habitat fragmentation. This text provides a fascinating overview of the challenges we face in marine ecosystem management and how these can be addressed in an interdisciplinary framework and with the help of methodological pluralism.' Pushpam Kumar, Chief, Ecosystem Services Economics Unit, UNEP, Nairobi
'This book is a valuable addition to recent texts on spatial planning and the ecosystem approach to marine management, providing a transdisciplinary, European outlook in clear language. The strong relationship between human societies and the sea, and hence the need to engage all relevant sectors of society in decision making, are stressed throughout. It is a stimulating read for experts in relevant fields for further enhancing their understanding of the EA to marine management and for exploring the challenges ahead' Prof. Erdal Uzhan, President, Mediterranean Coastal Foundation (MEDCOAST)