9 research outputs found

    Catching the Right Wave: Evaluating Wave Energy Resources and Potential Compatibility with Existing Marine and Coastal Uses

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    Many hope that ocean waves will be a source for clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy, yet wave energy conversion facilities may affect marine ecosystems through a variety of mechanisms, including competition with other human uses. We developed a decision-support tool to assist siting wave energy facilities, which allows the user to balance the need for profitability of the facilities with the need to minimize conflicts with other ocean uses. Our wave energy model quantifies harvestable wave energy and evaluates the net present value (NPV) of a wave energy facility based on a capital investment analysis. The model has a flexible framework and can be easily applied to wave energy projects at local, regional, and global scales. We applied the model and compatibility analysis on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada to provide information for ongoing marine spatial planning, including potential wave energy projects. In particular, we conducted a spatial overlap analysis with a variety of existing uses and ecological characteristics, and a quantitative compatibility analysis with commercial fisheries data. We found that wave power and harvestable wave energy gradually increase offshore as wave conditions intensify. However, areas with high economic potential for wave energy facilities were closer to cable landing points because of the cost of bringing energy ashore and thus in nearshore areas that support a number of different human uses. We show that the maximum combined economic benefit from wave energy and other uses is likely to be realized if wave energy facilities are sited in areas that maximize wave energy NPV and minimize conflict with existing ocean uses. Our tools will help decision-makers explore alternative locations for wave energy facilities by mapping expected wave energy NPV and helping to identify sites that provide maximal returns yet avoid spatial competition with existing ocean uses

    Working Group on Marine Mammal Ecology (WGMME)

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    162 pages.-- This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)The Working Group on Marine Mammal Ecology met in 2021 to address new information on marine mammal ecology relevant to management. Two terms of references were standing ToRs; under the first of these, ToR A, new and updated information on seal and cetacean population abundance, population/stock structure, manage-ment frameworks as well as anthropogenic threats to individual health and population status were reviewed along with findings on threats to marine mammals such as bycatch, pollution, marine debris and noise. ToR B is a cooperation with WGBIODIV to review species-specific for-aging distributions (considering horizontal and vertical dimensions depending on data availa-bility) and to estimate consumption by marine mammal species representative in case study ar-eas. ToR C was implemented to review aspects of marine mammal fishery interactions not cov-ered by ICES WGBYC. ToR D is the second standing ToR and concerns updating the WGMME seal database, which was updated with the latest dataN

    Incorporating blue carbon sequestration benefits into sub-national climate policies

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    The emissions reduction pledges made by individual countries through the 2015 Paris Agreement represent the current global commitment to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in the face of the enduring climate crisis. Natural lands carbon sequestration and storage are critical for successful pathways to global decarbonization (i.e., as a negative emissions technology). Coastal vegetated habitats maintain carbon sequestration rates exceeding forest sequestration rates on a per unit area basis by nearly two orders of magnitude. These blue carbon habitats and their associated carbon sequestration benefits are vulnerable to losses from land-use change and sea-level rise. Incorporation of blue carbon habitats in climate change policy is one strategy for both maintaining these habitats and conserving significant carbon sequestration capabilities. Previous policy assessments have found the potential for incorporation of coastal carbon sequestration in national-level policies, yet there has – to date – been little inclusion of blue carbon in the national-scale implementation of Paris commitments. Recently, sub-national jurisdictions have gained attention as models for pathways to decarbonization. However, few previous studies have examined sub-national level policy opportunities for operationalizing blue carbon into climate decision-making. California is uniquely poised to integrate benefits from blue carbon into its coastal planning and management and its suite of climate mitigation policies. Here, we evaluated legal authorities and policy contexts addressing sequestration specifically from blue carbon habitats. We synthesized the progressive action in California's approaches to mitigate carbon emissions including statutory, regulatory, and non-regulatory opportunities to incorporate blue carbon ecosystem service information into state- and local-level management decisions. To illustrate how actionable blue carbon information can be produced for use in decision-making, we conducted a spatial analysis of blue carbon sequestration in several locations in California across multiple agencies and management contexts. We found that the average market values of carbon sequestration services in 2100 ranged from 7,730to7,730 to 44,000 per hectare and that the social cost of carbon sequestration value was 1.3 to 2.7 times the market value. We also demonstrated that restoration of small areas with high sequestration rates can be comparable to the sequestration of existing marshes. Our results illustrate how accessible information about carbon sequestration in coastal habitats can be directly incorporated into existing policy frameworks at the sub-national scale. The incorporation of blue carbon sequestration benefits into sub-national climate policies can serve as a model for the development of future policy approaches for negative emissions technologies, with consequences for the success of the Paris Agreement and science-based decarbonization by mid-century

    Increasing decision relevance of ecosystem service science

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    The ecosystem service (ES) community aspires to illuminate how nature contributes to human well-being, and thereby elevate consideration of nature in decision making. So far, however, policy impact of ES research has been limited. To understand why, we identify five key elements of ES research that help inform decisions by connecting the supply of ES to those who benefit from them. Our structured review of the ES literature reveals that only 13% of assessments included the full ES chain from place to value. Only 7% of assessments considered the distribution of ES benefits explicitly across demographic or other beneficiary groups (for example, private landowners versus the broader public), although disaggregation across regions or spatial units was more common (44%). Finally, crucial mediating factors that affect who benefits and how (for example, the vulnerability of beneficiaries or the availability of substitutes for ES) were considered in only 35% of assessments. Our results suggest that increasing the decision relevance of ES research requires more effectively predicting the impacts of specific decisions on the value and distribution of ES across beneficiary groups. Such efforts will need to integrate ecological models with socioeconomic and cultural dimensions of ES more closely than does the current ES literature