COASTS for PEOPLE: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Coastal and Marine Resource Management

By Vaidianu, Natasa | Journal of Urban and Regional Analysis, July 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

COASTS for PEOPLE: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Coastal and Marine Resource Management


Vaidianu, Natasa, Journal of Urban and Regional Analysis


COASTS for PEOPLE: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Coastal and Marine Resource Management Routledge, New York, 2015, 394 p. ISBN 978-1-138-77980-8

Coasts for People: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Coastal and Marine Resource Management, written by Fikret Berkes, is one of the Routledge series of books designed for students, researchers, management professionals, and policy makers. This book represents a great contribution to the literature on coastal management and brings international research experience and knowledge about coasts and people.

This book provides information regarding the diversity and importance of coastal problems and contains theoretical analysis with best-practice coastal management approaches. The focus is explicitly on coastal resources and their users, respectively on the new form of resource management, with a community-based approach and looks not just at the ecological issues, but also from societal and human perspectives.

The book is organized clearly into 12 chapters, the first of which refers to coastal and marine resources and elements of paradigm change. This chapter provides a descriptive overview of coastal ecosystems and their social, ecological, and economic objectives. In author's view, one way to deal with uncertainty and complexity of a system is to build local institutions that can learn from crises, respond to change, nurture ecological memory, monitor the environment, self-organize and manage conflicts. Moreover, Berkes's approach is to build working partnership between managers and resource users.

Chapter 2 examines the context of resource management science, redefining the concepts of resource and management. There is also a discussion of the different management practices which require a readjustment of concepts. The historical "baggage" is also considered as a conventional idea of resource and management.

Chapter 3 explores the social-ecological systems, integrated complex systems that include social (human) and ecological (biophysical) subsystems. This chapter discusses drivers and globalization and uses the development of aquaculture to illustrate the interdependent nature of social and ecological subsystems. The social-ecological systems are used to explore the multiple linkages among dependent social and ecological components of marine and coastal systems.

Chapter 4 describes the history, content, and application of resilience theory. It starts by covering some of the basic concepts of resilience, which have already appeared in the preceding chapters in the context of changing paradigms, redefining management, and social-ecological systems. From author's perspective, resilience is one of the cornerstones of the arguments in this book. The Holling's notion started as an ecological concept, characterizing the capacity of a system to maintain itself in the face of disturbance (Holling, 1973). Resilience thinking deals with interacting systems of people and nature can best be managed in the face of disturbances, surprises and uncertainty (Berkes et al., 2003; Walker and Salt, 2006).

Therefore, three topics of application are explored: how resilience deals with social-ecological systems; the ability to analyze the changes; and the exploration of policy options for uncertainty and change. Conventional resource maximization approaches tend to reduce natural variability, impairing the renewal capacity of ecosystems and the ability to absorb shocks and stresses.

Chapter 5 shows that many of the marine and coastal resources issues we face are problems, which can be managed by various governance approaches. This chapter contains details about commons theory, community-based management institutions, and participatory management. The reader is informed that most coastal resources are fugitive - 'the fish you don't catch today may be caught by someone else tomorrow, hence the need for collective action".

Chapter 6 is closely related to the previous one, as co-management is one of the applications of commons theory. …

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