Integrated Land-Sea Planning: A Technical Guide to the Integrated Land-Sea Planning Toolkit. EBM Tools Network
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Coastal ecosystems contain a rich diversity of species and habitat types that provide an abundance of the world’s natural resources (WRI, 2000). These coastal ecosystems also maintain a wealth of economic activity associated with recreation and tourism, waterborne commerce, and energy and mineral production. This economic activity has been one of the driving forces behind increased population growth in coastal communities. However, the activities that make coastal communities so desirable are the same activities that threaten many of our coastal natural resources. As a result, resource managers face the difficult challenge of balancing increasing human uses of coastal ecosystems with environmental protection. Several estimates suggest that populations along the coast have doubled over the past twenty years and that approximately half of the world’s population, or three billion people, currently live within 200 kilometers of the coast. As a result of this population growth, many coastal ecosystems are threatened by pollution, habitat degradation and loss, overfishing, invasive species, and increased coastal hazards such as sea-level rise (WRI, 2000; Hinrichsen, 1998; National Safety Council, 1998). The increasing population density of coastal areas, combined with a fast-growing economy (Colgan, 2004), makes the task of managing coastal resources more difficult. With the world’s coastal population expected to continue increasing, the ability to minimize impacts from population growth is essential. An integrated land-sea planning approach can help mitigate many of the potential problems associated with increased human activity in coastal communities by addressing the human use of land, freshwater, and marine resources while also working to maintain the integrity of terrestrial, aquatic, and marine/estuarine ecosystems. This planning approach, however, requires a significant commitment from planners and resource managers to conduct collaborative planning, while also requiring the participation of scientists and technologists (e.g., GIS analysts and database managers). To assist in the integrated planning process, a technological toolkit has been developed to guide ecosystem assessment and planning within and across disciplines and ecosystems. This publication is intended to guide users in the application of the integrated land-sea toolkit and facilitate this type of planning approach. There is a large body of published work on the science and planning process for each aspect of the toolkit and each tool is accompanied by documentation and publications. Therefore, this guide does not attempt to replicate the contents of those publications nor exhaustively reference them. It is strictly designed to explain the process for implementing an integrated land-sea planning approach through the interoperation of three decision support tools. Users of the toolkit are expected to obtain the appropriate references, training, and support as needed for their particular applications, experience, and capacity. While this toolkit is described as an integrated land-sea planning toolkit it is also fully suited to inland watershed applications where the effect of land use/management on aquatic ecosystems is of interest.