This content will become publicly available on December 1, 2023
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- Environmental Research Letters
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- National Science Foundation
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An ecosystem-based natural capital evaluation framework that combines environmental and socio-economic implications of offshore renewable energy developmentsAbstract There is about to be an abrupt step-change in the use of coastal seas around the globe, specifically by the addition of large-scale offshore renewable energy (ORE) developments to combat climate change. Developing this sustainable energy supply will require trade-offs between both direct and indirect environmental effects, as well as spatial conflicts with marine uses like shipping, fishing, and recreation. However, the nexus between drivers, such as changes in the bio-physical environment from the introduction of structures and extraction of energy, and the consequent impacts on ecosystem services delivery and natural capital assets is poorly understood and rarely considered through a whole ecosystem perspective. Future marine planning needs to assess these changes as part of national policy level assessments but also to inform practitioners about the benefits and trade-offs between different uses of natural resources when making decisions to balance environmental and energy sustainability and socio-economic impacts. To address this shortfall, we propose an ecosystem-based natural capital evaluation framework that builds on a dynamic Bayesian modelling approach which accounts for the multiplicity of interactions between physical (e.g. bottom temperature), biological (e.g. net primary production) indicators and anthropogenic marine use (i.e. fishing) and their changes across space and over time.more »
Rapid Recent Deforestation Incursion in a Vulnerable Indigenous Land in the Brazilian Amazon and Fire-Driven Emissions of Fine Particulate Aerosol PollutantsDeforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is related to the use of fire to remove natural vegetation and install crop cultures or pastures. In this study, we evaluated the relation between deforestation, land-use and land-cover (LULC) drivers and fire emissions in the Apyterewa Indigenous Land, Eastern Brazilian Amazon. In addition to the official Brazilian deforestation data, we used a geographic object-based image analysis (GEOBIA) approach to perform the LULC mapping in the Apyterewa Indigenous Land, and the Brazilian biomass burning emission model with fire radiative power (3BEM_FRP) to estimate emitted particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 µm (PM2.5), a primary human health risk. The GEOBIA approach showed a remarkable advancement of deforestation, agreeing with the official deforestation data, and, consequently, the conversion of primary forests to agriculture within the Apyterewa Indigenous Land in the past three years (200 km2), which is clearly associated with an increase in the PM2.5 emissions from fire. Between 2004 and 2016 the annual average emission of PM2.5 was estimated to be 3594 ton year−1, while the most recent interval of 2017–2019 had an average of 6258 ton year−1. This represented an increase of 58% in the annual average of PM2.5 associated with fires formore »
Sustainable development (SD) policies targeting marine economic sectors, designed to alleviate poverty and conserve marine ecosystems, have proliferated in recent years. Many developing countries are providing poor fishing households with new fishing boats (fishing capital) that can be used further offshore as a means to improve incomes and relieve fishing pressure on nearshore fish stocks. These kinds of policies are a marine variant of traditional SD policies focused on agriculture. Here, we evaluate ex ante economic and environmental impacts of provisions of fishing and agricultural capital, with and without enforcement of fishing regulations that prohibit the use of larger vessels in nearshore habitats. Combining methods from development economics, natural resource economics, and marine ecology, we use a unique dataset and modeling framework to account for linkages between households, business sectors, markets, and local fish stocks. We show that the policies investing capital in local marine fisheries or agricultural sectors achieve income gains for targeted households, but knock-on effects lead to increased harvest of nearshore fish, making them unlikely to achieve conservation objectives in rural coastal economies. However, pairing an agriculture stimulus with increasing enforcement of existing fisheries’ regulations may lead to a win–win situation. While marine-based policies could be anmore »
Best‐practice forestry management delivers diminishing returns for coral reefs with increased land‐clearing
Protection of coastal ecosystems from deforestation may be the best way to protect coral reefs from sediment runoff. However, given the importance of generating economic activities for coastal livelihoods, the prohibition of development is often not feasible. In light of this, logging codes of practice have been developed to mitigate the impacts of logging on downstream ecosystems. However, no studies have assessed whether managed land‐clearing can occur in tandem with coral reef conservation goals.
This study quantifies the impacts of current land use and the risk of potential logging activities on downstream coral reef condition and fisheries using a novel suite of linked land‐sea models, using Kolombangara Island in the Solomon Islands as a case study. Further, we examine the ability of erosion reduction strategies stipulated in logging codes of practice to reduce these impacts as clearing extent increases.
We found that with present‐day land use, reductions in live and branching coral cover and increases in turf algae were associated with exposure to sediment runoff from catchments and log ponds. Critically, reductions in fish grazer abundance and biomass were associated with increasing sediment runoff, a functional group that accounts for ~25% of subsistence fishing. At low clearing extents, although best managementmore »
Synthesis and applications. Assessing trade‐offs between coastal development and protection of marine resources is a challenge for decision makers globally. Although development activities requiring clearing can be important for livelihoods, our results demonstrate that new logging in intact forest risks downstream resources important for both food and livelihood security. Importantly, our approach allows for spatially explicit recommendations for where terrestrial management might best complement marine management. Finally, given the critical degradation feedback loops that increased sediment runoff can reinforce on coral reefs, minimizing sediment runoff could play an important role in helping coral reefs recover from climate‐related disturbances.
Rangelands are Earth's dominant land cover and are important providers of ecosystem services. Reliance on rangelands is projected to grow, thus understanding the sensitivity of rangelands to future climates is essential. We used a new ecosystem model of moderate complexity that allows, for the first time, to quantify global changes expected in rangelands under future climates. The mean global annual net primary production (
NPP) may decline by 10 g C m−2 year−1in 2050 under Representative Concentration Pathway ( RCP) 8.5, but herbaceous NPPis projected to increase slightly (i.e., average of 3 g C m−2 year−1). Responses vary substantially from place‐to‐place, with large increases in annual productivity projected in northern regions (e.g., a 21% increase in productivity in the USand Canada) and large declines in western Africa (−46% in sub‐Saharan western Africa) and Australia (−17%). Soil organic carbon is projected to increase in Australia (9%), the Middle East (14%), and central Asia (16%) and decline in many African savannas (e.g., −18% in sub‐Saharan western Africa). Livestock are projected to decline 7.5 to 9.6%, an economic loss of from $9.7 to $12.6 billion. Our results suggest that forage production in Africa is sensitive to changes in climate, which will have substantial impacts on the livelihoods of themore »