COASTS : Environment and Development Briefs, 1993, Published by UNESCO, Paris, France
The coastal zone - where land meets sea and where fresh and salt water mix - contains many of the Earth s most complex, diverse and productive ecological systems. Worldwide, over two thirds of all marine fisheries species depend on coastal ecosystems. Further 60% of the world s population - nearly 3 billion people - now lives within 60 kilometers of the coast. Keeping these in mind UNESCO in its Environment and Development Briefs issued this Volume COASTS (Managing complex systems).
This is a crisp and handy volume which covers the problems related to the coastal environments around the world in a brief and attractive fashion. There are 3 major articles with a variety of useful short notes and illustrations which makes this issue an easy source of scientific information for policy makers.
The first article titled The need for action briefly analyses a broad spectrum of problems which results from pollution in the coastal area. It identifies the sources of coastal pollution to river inputs, impact of urban and industrial centres, agricultural activities and marine based activities like oil and mineral extraction, shipping, dredging and intensive aquaculture with convincing examples.
The destruction of millions of hectares of wetlands and tidal flats as a result of uncontrolled development and land reclamation near the coast and its impact over coastal ecosystem has been highlighted. Decline in fisheries production in North-West Atlantic and Mediterranean Coast has resulted from over exploitation and industrialization.Increase in erosion along shore lines which in turn destroys indirectly coral reefs and mangroves by excessive pollution or sedimentation. The destruction of natural barriers (due to increase in near coast population) leads to coastal flooding destroying reefs, mangroves and dunes which further leads to increasing vulnerability of coastal population.
A simple bar chart highlights the world population increase in the coastal zone. The value of coastal resources of the world has been presented in terms of costs and benefits. In the notes section, news taken from different published article are given: Miami Beach erosion, Florida; flooding in Bangladesh and its impacts; toxic algal blooms in Republic of Korea. Further an abstract is given on the possible impacts of global warming such as rise in sea level, frequency and severity of tropical storms, etc.
The next article deals with The Management Predicament . The activities that degrade coastal ecosystem (e.g. clearing mangroves for aquaculture, mining coral reefs for building material) conflict with a wide array of activities (e.g. fishing, tourism, etc.) that depend on the continued functioning of these natural systems. The complexity of natural systems in coastal zones and the broad spectrum of activities in these areas, make resource-use conflicts difficult to identify and harder to solve. Simple, neat and explanatory illustrations have been given on (1) impacts of dams and irrigated agriculture on coastal fisheries, (2) dynamics of Coastal ecosystem and (3) some potential conflicting uses of coastal resources.
Explaining crisply about the coastal systems, its multiple and conflicting uses and its impact over the surrounding ecosystems the article goes on to describe some of them. Capture fisheries and aquaculture, shipping and trade, oil and mineral extraction, waste disposal, recreation and tourism - the economic uses of this complex environment speak of enormous potential. Yet industrial waste disposal resulting in algal blooms can destroy the tourist potential.This section also highlights the commercial uses of mangroves swamps and its impacts, coastal sedimentation due to upland deforestation, etc. Tragically, the highest economic return obtained is at the cost of destroying the ecosystem. Finally the land tenure and resource allocation issues are presented as a fundamental source of conflict in many coastal areas. A lack of understanding of the coastal zone offers results in sectoral approaches to management, which are frequently short sighted.
The third article deals with Integrated Coastal Management . It stresses on key steps in coastal management and in decision making. In order to generate an integrated action plan to respond to the problems and opportunities of coastal management there is a need to acquire and analyze necessary information. These have been grouped as biological, physical, socio-economical, legal and institutional. Tools and techniques required for collection, management and analysis of data are discussed.
Very detailed and useful tips to avoid the mangrove and agriculture loss and possible solutions are listed. The article also concluded that incentives and alternatives can go a long way to help in effective management, where surveillance and enforcement are lacking. The immediate recovery of coastal management needs good legislation, regulation, administration and emergency preparedness.
As such this issue lacks case studies on Asian region and no attempts to identify the problems faced by newly emerging giants of agriculture in Asia like India are found. Discussion are wound around the coastal problems in western countries given the nature of the issue it may not be possible to bring all these aspects but in future they can bring out a issue on Asia.
There is no doubt that the volume is interesting as well as informative. They have also given some useful abstracts, foot notes, addresses and references for further reading.Also listed are some elements of coastal management . These aspects make this volume useful. Coasts can be recommended for researchers working an coast as well as for students and public interested in sustainable development.
DR. AL. RAMANATHAN
Department of Geology
Annamalai Nagar, Chidambaram
Tamil Nadu - 608 002
COASTAL AND MARINE SCIENCES : OUTPUT AT GLOBAL, REGIONAL AND
NATIONAL LEVELS. MARINF, Published by UNESCO, Paris, France, 1994
Published by UNESCO on Coastal and Marine Sciences, this volume covers the output at global, regional and national level UNESCO Committees through COMAR, PROMAR AND TREDMAR programmes.
Civilization has flourished in the Land Sea interface. In recent times, Coasts attracts most of the world population due to its enormous wealth. Now it becomes imperative that natural Scientists, sociologists, economists, decision makers and managers should join forces to avoid further decline of the Coastal environment and its value. This report reinforces the interdisciplinary initiatives taken for management strategies of coasts. This document reports on the 1994 COMAR (Coastal Marine Programme), PROMAR (Promotion of Marine Sciences) and TREDMAR (Marine Science Training and Education) activities and projects in 1994 to give more reliability to the report. Emphasis was given to regional and global projects in view of their proven multiplier effect to benefit maximum number of people, institutions and services around the World. The objective of this volume is to describe main activities of the Programme and disseminate information to scientists and administrators regarding current developments and research projects.
The volume is basically divided into 3 major parts dealing the COMAR, PROMAR & TREDMAR Programmes. COMAR Programme aims at improving the understanding of the characteristics, functioning and changes in the ecosystems at the land-sea interface, including socio-economic aspects, and providing the necessary basis for management and related training. Various articles and short notes are published from the outcome of this Programme at the global level which includes two volumes on Conservation and sustainable utilization of Mangrove forests in Latin America & Africa regions , a volume entitled Mangrove Ecosystem Studies in Latin America and Africa and the final report of the Task Team on Scientific Basis for the Monitoring and Study of Expected Climate Change Impact on Mangrove Ecosystems , which is being published by UNEP.
At the regional level, a project proposal entitled Coastal Zone with Dominant Mangrove Formation was prepared and submitted to funding agencies as part of Preservation of the biodiversity and sustainable development in Africa. Also covered are the activities of other regions like Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe and North America.
Next part deals with PROMAR Programme. It aims at promoting coastal Marine Science through: (i) support to co-operative understandings and meetings, in particular between Scientists from Countries with developing and advanced capabilities in marine sciences; (ii) support to the development and reinforcement of national infrastructure and (iii) the publications of IMS Newsletter, reports, technical paper series, monographs and Special Volumes. It also continued to provide support to the Expert Center for Taxonomic Identification (ETI), Amsterdam to compile a unique World Biodiversity Database. Support was provided to the contributing Scientists and dedicated biodiversity students to use ETI data entry Software. For this purpose, through this programme it has established the Floating University Facility jointly executed by UNESCO and the European Science Foundation (ESF), expanding to new regions also. The programme results and its activities which stand as unique examples for combined research, training and cruise programmes organized by different Countries through this programme are also given.
The final part deals with TREDMAR Programme. Its objectives include enhancing inter- disciplinary learning and teaching world wide to better equip Scientists, teachers and planners and through them the public at large, for the decision-making process concerned with questions related to the sustainable development of coastal areas. This programme provides Global Faculty Network (Computer based, remote sensing model) for training students and teachers. This section gives details about the UNESCO chairs in various universities and Training- through-Research facilities on Environmental studies for developing and developed countries. The details, venue and dates of UNESCO Marine Science Programme activities carried out in 1994 are given in detail.
In the Annexure, useful details about the current titles from UNESCO in Marine Sciences are given, along with the sales details, region-wise addresses. Summary of reports on the activities of the UNESCO-MSU research and training centre on marine geology and geophysics is given with details of various training and cruises undertaken by them and their other scientific activities. Details regarding fellowships available to the students are given along with the details of the available exchange Programmes.
All these three programmes aim at world wide sharing of applicable, multi disciplinary knowledge for sustainable coastal and marine development through interactive creation and distribution of computer based applications. This volume certainly helps to improve understanding of common natural phenomena and environmental issues. Opportunities for cooperation and co-sponsoring available with UNESCO are given. It tries to give a vivid picture of the past, present and future. Programmes of UNESCO case studies undertaken by these three programmes are also discussed in detail.
Overall, it is a very informative database for any coastal research scientist. It is a valuable book to be preserved by all Libraries and is useful to the students looking for opportunities in coastal and marine research.
DR. AL. RAMANATHAN
Department of Geology
Annamalai Nagar, Chidambaram
Tamil Nadu - 608 002