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Special Issue "Coastal Ecosystems: Monitoring, Management, Restoration, Preservation, and Valuation"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Paul C. Sutton

Department of Geography and the Environment, University of Denver, 2050 East Iliff Avenue Denver, CO 80208-0710, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: geography; ecological economics; sustainability science; urbanization science

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Coastal ecosystems are vital to human survival and well-being. This Special Issue of Sustainability seeks papers that provide case studies of coastal ecosystems that focus on solutions to the diverse challenges associated with the following: Understanding coastal processes, mitigating damage to coastal areas, sustainable management of coastal lands, and enhancing human value of coastal ecosystems for the fundamental contributions coastal ecosystems make to human well-being.

Prof. Dr. Paul C. Sutton
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Coastal Ecosystems
  • Ecosystem Service Valuation
  • Scenario Planning

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Re-Evaluation of the Impacts of Dietary Preferences on Macroinvertebrate Trophic Sources: An Analysis of Seaweed Bed Habitats Using the Integration of Stable Isotope and Observational Data
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2010; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062010
Received: 10 May 2018 / Revised: 30 May 2018 / Accepted: 5 June 2018 / Published: 14 June 2018
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Abstract
Stable isotope analyses of food webs have been used in previous decades to determine trophic sources and food web structures. The use of stable isotope models to estimate consumption contributions is based on a type of multivariate beta distribution called the Dirichlet distribution.
[...] Read more.
Stable isotope analyses of food webs have been used in previous decades to determine trophic sources and food web structures. The use of stable isotope models to estimate consumption contributions is based on a type of multivariate beta distribution called the Dirichlet distribution. The Dirichlet distribution does not conclude the pi = 0 and pi = 1 situation. Thus, scientists have previously assumed that every potential trophic source contributes to consumption in stable isotope models. However, animals have dietary preferences and some trophic resources may not contribute to consumption. Less is known about the effects of species-specific dietary processes on stable isotope analyses, especially in regard to trophic contribution estimation. In this study, we develop methods to determine consumers’ “real potential trophic sources” and “discrimination factors” using lab-based observations and lab-based discrimination experiments. We describe a dietary process-based stable isotope mixing model (D-SIMM) that integrates lab-based dietary preference observations and the stable isotope mixing model (SIMM) to estimate trophic contributions. Then, we present the application of D-SIMM on three representative macroinvertebrate species in our study area (sea urchin: Anthocidaris crassispina (A. crassispina); gastropod: Turbo cornutus (T. cornutus); and mussel: Septifer virgatus (S. virgatus)) to re-evaluate source-consumer contributions. Thus, we compare the differences between the source contribution estimation results of SIMM and D-SIMM by calculating the standardized convex hull area (TA) of species-specific trophic sources and the consumer standard ellipses area (SEA) of the potential trophic source group. Three examples illustrate significant differences in species-specific dietary preferences between consumers, resulting in systematic difference for TA, SEA and trophic source contribution estimation results between SIMM and D-SIMM. As such, D-SIMM explains pi = 0 of certain trophic sources, which often causes uncertainty and is ignored in previous SIMM research. In addition, species-specific discrimination factors should be noticed during trophic source estimation. For estimation of the trophic contribution of source-consumers, our findings imply that the dietary preferences of consumers should be fully considered before SIMM analysis, and that D-SIMM is a more ecological process and robust measure. Additionally, we found high macroalgae (MAC) coverage in seaweed beds and a high detritus contribution of MAC to sedimentary organic matter (SOM). These findings, combined with the high contributions of MAC and SOM to consumers, suggest that MAC and its debris are the basal trophic sources for gastropods, sea urchins and mussels in seaweed bed habitats. The conservation of seaweed beds should be fully considered to ensure sustainable utilization of shellfish. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Assessing Nature-Based Coastal Protection against Disasters Derived from Extreme Hydrometeorological Events in Mexico
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1317; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051317
Received: 23 January 2018 / Revised: 17 April 2018 / Accepted: 19 April 2018 / Published: 24 April 2018
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Abstract
Natural ecosystems are expected to reduce the damaging effects of extreme hydrometeorological effects. We tested this prediction for Mexico by performing regression models, with two dependent variables: the occurrence of deaths and economic damages, at a state and municipality levels. For each location,
[...] Read more.
Natural ecosystems are expected to reduce the damaging effects of extreme hydrometeorological effects. We tested this prediction for Mexico by performing regression models, with two dependent variables: the occurrence of deaths and economic damages, at a state and municipality levels. For each location, the explanatory variables were the Mexican social vulnerability index (which includes socioeconomic aspects, local capacity to prevent and respond to an emergency, and the perception of risk) and land use cover considering different vegetation types. We used the hydrometeorological events that have affected Mexico from 1970 to 2011. Our findings reveal that: (a) hydrometeorological events affect both coastal and inland states, although damages are greater on the coast; (b) the protective role of natural ecosystems only was clear at a municipality level: the presence of mangroves, tropical dry forest and tropical rainforest was related to a significant reduction in the occurrence of casualties. Social vulnerability was positively correlated with the occurrence of deaths. Natural ecosystems, both typically coastal (mangroves) and terrestrial (tropical forests, which are located on the mountain ranges close to the coast) function for storm protection. Thus, their conservation and restoration are effective and sustainable strategies that will help protect and develop the increasingly urbanized coasts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Addressing the Modelling Precision in Evaluating the Ecosystem Services of Coastal Wetlands
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1136; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041136
Received: 25 December 2017 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 April 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
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Abstract
Wetlands are one of the world’s most productive ecosystems, and therefore it is crucial that management decisions regarding wetlands incorporate awareness of accurate assessments of the value of their respective ecosystem services. In this paper, we seek to improve the modelling precision in
[...] Read more.
Wetlands are one of the world’s most productive ecosystems, and therefore it is crucial that management decisions regarding wetlands incorporate awareness of accurate assessments of the value of their respective ecosystem services. In this paper, we seek to improve the modelling precision in the scale transform process of ecosystem service evaluation. Firstly, we selected eight services as the criteria to calculate wetland ecosystem values: substance production, flood control, carbon sequestration, gas regulation, climate regulation, wave reduction, adding new lands, recreation and education. Then, six coastal wetlands of Liaoning province were chosen as the case study areas, and their ecosystem values were calculated by empirical method. Next, we simulated ecosystem values of the six cases by two spatial-scales transform methods named meta-analysis and wavelet transform. Finally, we compared the two groups of simulated values with the empirical measured values to examine their evaluation precisions. The results indicated that the total precision of the wavelet transform model (0.968) was higher than that of meta-analysis (0.712). In addition, the simulated values of single services such as substance production, flood control, carbon sequestration, gas regulation, and climate regulation were closer to the measured values using wavelet transform model. This research contributes to identifying an evaluation model with higher precision for evaluating wetland ecosystem services in the process of scale transform. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Hyperspectral Estimation of the Chlorophyll Content in Short-Term and Long-Term Restorations of Mangrove in Quanzhou Bay Estuary, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1127; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041127
Received: 25 January 2018 / Revised: 29 March 2018 / Accepted: 5 April 2018 / Published: 9 April 2018
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Abstract
The chlorophyll content can indicate the general health of vegetation, and can be estimated from hyperspectral data. The aim of this study is to estimate the chlorophyll content of mangroves at different stages of restoration in a coastal wetland in Quanzhou, China, using
[...] Read more.
The chlorophyll content can indicate the general health of vegetation, and can be estimated from hyperspectral data. The aim of this study is to estimate the chlorophyll content of mangroves at different stages of restoration in a coastal wetland in Quanzhou, China, using proximal hyperspectral remote sensing techniques. We determine the hyperspectral reflectance of leaves from two mangrove species, Kandelia candel and Aegiceras corniculatum, from short-term and long-term restoration areas with a portable spectroradiometer. We also measure the leaf chlorophyll content (SPAD value). We use partial-least-squares stepwise regression to determine the relationships between the spectral reflectance and the chlorophyll content of the leaves, and establish two models, a full-wave-band spectrum model and a red-edge position regression model, to estimate the chlorophyll content of the mangroves. The coefficients of determination for the red-edge position model and the full-wave-band model exceed 0.72 and 0.82, respectively. The inverted chlorophyll contents are estimated more accurately for the long-term restoration mangroves than for the short-term restoration mangroves. Our results indicate that hyperspectral data can be used to estimate the chlorophyll content of mangroves at different stages of restoration, and could possibly be adapted to estimate biochemical constituents in leaves. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Towards a Sustainable Sun, Sea, and Sand Tourism: The Value of Ocean View and Proximity to the Coast
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1012; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041012
Received: 21 December 2017 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 29 March 2018
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Abstract
Coastal tourism is expanding worldwide, mostly owing to the attraction to relevant ecosystem services such as the scenic beauty and recreational activities. The aim of this study was to analyze the value of these, using hedonic analysis by assessing how prices of hotel
[...] Read more.
Coastal tourism is expanding worldwide, mostly owing to the attraction to relevant ecosystem services such as the scenic beauty and recreational activities. The aim of this study was to analyze the value of these, using hedonic analysis by assessing how prices of hotel rooms are related to the scenic view, location, non-ecosystem amenities, and size of the hotels in three touristic areas of Veracruz, México. We found that, besides the size of the hotel and the number of non-ecosystem amenities, room prices increased by 8% and 57%, depending on the ocean view and accessibility to the beach, respectively. These results help to understand why hotels are built very close to the coastline, despite the high risk of extreme and frequent meteorological events. The unorganized and intense development of the tourist industry may act in contrast to the necessity for conservation of the natural ecosystems, rendering this activity highly unsustainable. The question is how to deal with the dilemma of tourism growth and conservation. We suggest some alternatives that might help with the conservation of natural ecosystems, while maintaining the combined provision of simultaneous coastal ecosystem services such as an aesthetically pleasing view and recreation, as well as additional services such as storm protection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Mitigating Erosional Effects Induced by Boat Wakes with Living Shorelines
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020436
Received: 10 December 2017 / Revised: 20 January 2018 / Accepted: 31 January 2018 / Published: 7 February 2018
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Abstract
Estuarine environments worldwide are among the most threatened habitats due to increased disturbances resulting from coastal infrastructure and rising population densities. Boating activity is a primary disturbance, as it induces biological stress and morphological changes along the coastline. This high-energy environment that boat
[...] Read more.
Estuarine environments worldwide are among the most threatened habitats due to increased disturbances resulting from coastal infrastructure and rising population densities. Boating activity is a primary disturbance, as it induces biological stress and morphological changes along the coastline. This high-energy environment that boat wakes create has resulted in loss of surrounding oyster reefs and salt marsh vegetation, ultimately leading to shoreline and habitat erosion. Here, we characterize the boat wake climate in the Intracoastal Waterway, assess the bathymetry in this heavily trafficked area, and anticipate the effects of experimental living shorelines (natural breakwall and oyster restoration structures) on facilitating sediment deposition and slowing vegetation retreat. Field observations indicate that boat wakes suspend nearshore sediment and can reach heights greater than 40 cm. A numerical stability model of the breakwalls suggests that the optimal porosity is field-specific. The desired porosity for minimizing lateral displacement is 0.50, while it is 0.18 for maximum energy dissipation, which indicates a need to further investigate this complex problem. These findings demonstrate that boat wakes significantly and regularly disturb estuarine shorelines and may be altering their bathymetry as well as suggest that the design of the breakwalls may be optimized to best counteract this pervasive disturbance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Compatibility of Geothermal Power Plants with Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems: The Case of the Cesine Wetland (Southern Italy)
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020303
Received: 6 November 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
The Cesine Wetland, located along the Adriatic coast, was recognized as a Wetland of International Interest and a National Natural Park. Managed by the “World Wide Fund for nature” (WWF), it is considered a groundwater dependent ecosystem which is affected by seawater intrusion.
[...] Read more.
The Cesine Wetland, located along the Adriatic coast, was recognized as a Wetland of International Interest and a National Natural Park. Managed by the “World Wide Fund for nature” (WWF), it is considered a groundwater dependent ecosystem which is affected by seawater intrusion. The site was selected to test the environmental compatibility of a low-enthalpy geothermal power plant (closed loop) operating in the aquifer saturated portion with purpose to improving the visitor centre. For this purpose, the long-lasting thermal impact on groundwater was assessed using a multi-methodological approach. The complex aquifer system was carefully studied with geological, hydrogeological and geochemical surveys, including chemical and isotopic laboratory analyses of surface water, groundwater and seawater. The isotopes δ18O, δD, δ11B, and 3H were useful to clarify the recharge contribution, the water mixing and the water age. All information was used to improve the conceptualization of the water system, including aquifers and the boundary conditions for a density driven numerical groundwater model. The purpose was to forecast anthropogenic thermal groundwater variations up to 10 years of plant working before the plant realization and to validate the solution after some working years. All results show the environmental compatibility notwithstanding the peculiar ecological environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Retrieval of Sea Surface Temperature from MODIS Data in Coastal Waters
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2032; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9112032
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 25 October 2017 / Accepted: 28 October 2017 / Published: 16 November 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (6972 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Accurate measurements of sea surface temperature retrieved from remote images is a fundamental need for monitoring ocean and coastal waters. This study proposes a method for retrieving accurate measurements of SST in coastal waters. The method involves the estimation of effect of total
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Accurate measurements of sea surface temperature retrieved from remote images is a fundamental need for monitoring ocean and coastal waters. This study proposes a method for retrieving accurate measurements of SST in coastal waters. The method involves the estimation of effect of total suspended particulate matter (SPM) concentration on the value of sea surface emissivity (SSE) and the inclusion of this effect in SSE value that is put into SST calculation. Data collected in three Italian coastal waters were exploited to obtain SSTskin and SSE values and to analyze SPM effects on SSE value. The method was tested on MODIS images. Satellite measurements of SST obtained with current operational algorithm, which does not require SSE value as explicit input, were compared with in situ values of SSTskin and RMSD is equal to 1.13 K. Moreover, SST data were retrieved with an algorithm for retrieving SST measurements from MODIS data, which allows the inclusion of SSE value with SPM effect. These data were compared with in situ values of SSTskin, and RMSD is equal to 0.68 K. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Revisiting Ecosystem Services: Assessment and Valuation as Starting Points for Environmental Politics
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1755; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101755
Received: 21 August 2017 / Revised: 24 September 2017 / Accepted: 26 September 2017 / Published: 28 September 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (21315 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paradigm of ecosystem services (ES) and the methods of monetary valuation have become boundary objects, spanning disciplines and earning particular purchase in policy circles. However, the notion of ES and ES valuation have also been subjected to multiple critiques, ranging from their
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The paradigm of ecosystem services (ES) and the methods of monetary valuation have become boundary objects, spanning disciplines and earning particular purchase in policy circles. However, the notion of ES and ES valuation have also been subjected to multiple critiques, ranging from their varying precision to the potential for neoliberalization of nature. This paper does not attempt to refute such critiques but rather revisits the potentials of the ES paradigm and the specific method of benefit transfer valuation for their utility as a form of environmental politics and sustainability practice. We find they have particular relevance in contexts where “data” are not readily available or are not legible to policy makers as well as where the imperative of “development” remains ideological. We argue for ES assessment and, specifically, rapid ES valuation as a first-pass tactic to inform evaluation of potentially environmentally degrading projects or environmental management. We demonstrate this using a simple benefit transfer analysis to offer an initial evaluation of (wet) landscape ES in a lightly touched estuary in Karnataka, India, where a state-backed proposal to develop an industrial shipping port is gathering steam. While we recognize and do not categorically reject critiques of the ES paradigm, we nonetheless argue for valuation as a starting point for politics that highlight and make visible ES benefits and users implicated by “development” and other kinds of environmental change. Full article
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Open AccessArticle LaVegMod v2: Modeling Coastal Vegetation Dynamics in Response to Proposed Coastal Restoration and Protection Projects in Louisiana, USA
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1625; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9091625
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 24 August 2017 / Accepted: 8 September 2017 / Published: 13 September 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5656 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
We have developed a computer model of plant community dynamics for Louisiana’s coastal wetland ecosystems. The model was improved as a part of the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan of 2017 and is one of several linked models used to evaluate the potential effects
[...] Read more.
We have developed a computer model of plant community dynamics for Louisiana’s coastal wetland ecosystems. The model was improved as a part of the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan of 2017 and is one of several linked models used to evaluate the potential effects of climate change and sea levels rise as well as the potential effects of alternative approaches to managing the region’s natural resources to mitigate the effects of sea level rise. The model we describe here incorporates a number of improvements over the previous version of the model developed for the 2012 Master Plan, including an expansion of the number of species and habitat types represented, the inclusion of bottomland forests and barrier islands, and the incorporation of additional ecological processes such as dispersal. Here, we present results from the model used to evaluate large scale ecosystem restoration projects, as well as three alternative management scenarios to illustrate the utility of the model and the ability of current management plans to address the threats that sea level rise pose to Louisiana’s coastal wetland ecosystems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Research on the Coupling Coordination of a Sea–Land System Based on an Integrated Approach and New Evaluation Index System: A Case Study in Hainan Province, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 859; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9050859
Received: 24 February 2017 / Revised: 29 April 2017 / Accepted: 16 May 2017 / Published: 19 May 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2083 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Based on the concept of sea–land coordination and the statistical data of Hainan Province from 1999 to 2013, we establish a new evaluation index system included four aspects—economic development, social progress, environmental protection and resource efficiency—and use the integrated approach (such as the
[...] Read more.
Based on the concept of sea–land coordination and the statistical data of Hainan Province from 1999 to 2013, we establish a new evaluation index system included four aspects—economic development, social progress, environmental protection and resource efficiency—and use the integrated approach (such as the combination weight method, the coupling coordination degree model, the scissors difference model and the dynamic coupling coordination degree model) to measure the coupling coordination degree of a sea–land system. The results show that: (1) the overall development level of sea system and land system are gradually improved; (2) the coupling coordination degree of sea–land system is gradually from moderately uncoordinated to well coordinated, and the comprehensive evaluation value of sea system has a greater effect on the coupling coordination degree than that of land system; (3) the scissors difference between sea system and land system is gradually increasing; (4) the dynamic coupling coordination degree of the sea–land system which favors a parabolic shape is basically in the break-in development stage; (5) in the process of sea–land system coordination, the influencing factors of economic development, the social progress and resource efficiency should be given priority and, at the same time, strengthen the environmental protection efforts and awareness to promote the role of environmental protection in the sea–land coordination. Full article
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