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  Cumulative environmental impacts and integrated coastal management:the case of Xiamen, China Xiongzhi Xue a, *, Huasheng Hong a , Anthony T. Charles b a  Marine Environmental Lab, Ministry of Education, Environmental Science Research Center, Xiamen University, Xiamen, China b  Management Science/Environmental Studies, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada Received 21 March 2001; revised 8 February 2004; accepted 9 March 2004 Abstract This paper examines the assessment of cumulative environmental impacts and the implementation of integrated coastal managementwithin the harbour of Xiamen, China, an urban region in which the coastal zone is under increasing pressure as a result of very rapideconomic growth. The first stage of analysis incorporates components of a cumulative effects assessment, including (a) identification of sources of environmental impacts, notably industrial expansion, port development, shipping, waste disposal, aquaculture and coastalconstruction, (b)selection ofa set of valued ecosystem components, focusing on circulation and siltation, water quality, sediment, the benthiccommunity, and mangrove forests, and (c) use of a set of key indicators to examine cumulative impacts arising from the aggregate of humanactivities. In the second stage of analysis, the paper describes and assesses the development of an institutional framework for integratedcoastal management in Xiamen, one that combines policy and planning (including legislative and enforcement mechanisms) with scientificand monitoring mechanisms (including an innovative ‘marine functional zoning’ system). The paper concludes that the integrated coastalmanagement framework in Xiamen has met all relevant requirements for ‘integration’ as laid out in the literature, and has explicitlyincorporated consideration of cumulative impacts within its management and monitoring processes. q 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords:  Integrated coastal management; Coastal management system; Coastal zone; Marine functional zoning; Cumulative impacts; Cumulative effects;Environmental assessment; Xiamen; China 1. Introduction The majority of the world’s population lives in coastalzones, combined terrestrial-aquatic areas revolving around aland-sea interface. Such areas face many environmental andmanagement challenges, due to a combination of environ-mental impacts that arise in terrestrial locations, those thattend to arise in open ocean areas, and those inherent tocoastlines, such as the impacts of ‘land-based sources of marine pollution’. The high degree of complexity in thecoastal zone has led to an emphasis on integrated coastalmanagement (ICM) as a governance mechanism for takinginto account the various aspects of human activities andtheir management (FAO, 1998).From a practical perspective, successful ‘integrated’management in a coastal area requires an understanding of the environmental impacts arising from each of the relevantcoastal activities (shipping, port development, wastedisposal, fishing, aquaculture, etc.). This may well beaccomplished through Environmental Impact Assessments(EIAs) for the respective projects or activities. However,(1) some individual activities, seen as too small to justifytheir own EIAs, may fail to be considered, and (2) project-by-project EIAs may indicate impacts that are minor inthemselves, yet the totality of these impacts could besignificant, even unacceptable (especially if the impactsaccumulate nonlinearly). For these reasons, ICM needs toincorporate a process to monitor and assess cumulativeimpacts—to address the impacts of interactions amongactivities, and the accumulation of impacts over time (Clark,1996). As the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (2002)notes, “sustainable use of coastal resources can be seriouslyaffected by both human-made and natural perturbation of  0301-4797/$ - see front matter q 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2004.03.006Journal of Environmental Management 71 (2004) 271–283www.elsevier.com/locate/jenvman* Corresponding author. Tel.:  þ 86-592-2184161; fax:  þ 86-592-2181875. E-mail addresses:  xzxue@jingxian.xmu.edu.cn (X. Xue); hshong@xmu.edu.cn (H. Hong); t.charles@smu.ca (A.T. Charles).  coastal processes, including cumulative impacts generatedby both large and small development projects…”.This paper examines how cumulative environmentalimpacts have been considered in the context of integratedcoastal management, within a particularly challengingcontext—that of the rapidly-growing city of Xiamen,China. The paper also explores the lessons that might bedrawn for such endeavours elsewhere in the world.Xiamen, located on the south-east coast of China, isfamous both for its history as one of the country’s earliestinternational trade ports (Amoy) after the Opium War, andfor its subtropical scenery—the ‘Garden in the Sea’. Aspecial economic zone of China, Xiamen has many of thecharacteristics of a free port and is becoming an attractivesite for foreign investment. Xiamen’s coastal zone is underincreasing pressure as a result of rapid socio-economicgrowth and the expanding use of coastal resources. Indeed,Xiamen’s coastal waters—the Jiulong River Estuary, theWestern Seas, the Southern Seas, the Eastern Seas and theTong’an Bay (Fig. 1)—have changed physically over time,especially following construction of the Gaoqi-Jimei dike in1956, when Xiamen Island became a peninsula connected tothe mainland, with Xiamen Western Sea and Tong’an Baybecoming semi-enclosed bays. Furthermore, coastal eco-system degradation has been driven not only by physicaland economic forces, but also by inadequate planning andmanagement.Xiamen has experienced a range of environmentalimpacts arising from the rapid development of its harbourand the multiple uses of that harbour, compounded by(a) the coastal/aquatic nature of the situation, which impliesthe relevance of water-based transport of the environmentalimpacts, and (b) the strongly multi-jurisdictional nature of the impacts. These realities are by no means unique toXiamen, but the combination of these is bound to create aparticularchallenge.Thispaperexamineshowthischallengehas been approached within a Chinese context of very rapideconomicchange.WebegininSection2withadiscussionof the relevant methodologies used in the analysis. 2. Methodology: cumulative impacts and integratedcoastal management 2.1. Cumulative impacts Proposed development projects in Xiamen harbour, aselsewhere in China, have been subject (since 1979) tocompulsory Environmental Impact Assessments (EditingCommittee, 1994). However, as noted in the previoussection, a set of project-specific EIAs may not be sufficientto deal with cumulative impacts. Accordingly, an accom-panying assessment of cumulative impacts was carried outfor Xiamen, in conjunction with the development of aframework for Integrated Coastal Management (ICM)supporting the sustainable development of coastal/marineareas and resources.The methodology for analysing such cumulativeenvironmental impacts is known as Cumulative EffectsAssessment (CEA), or equivalently Cumulative Impact Fig. 1. Division map of Xiamen Municipality.  X. Xue et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 71 (2004) 271–283 272  Assessment (CIA). The goal of this approach—referred toas CEA from here on—is to broaden the single-projectenvironmental impact assessment (EIA) to examine ‘theaccumulation of human-induced changes in valued environ-mental components over time and across space in anadditive or interactive manner’ (Spaling, 1997). CEA hasevolved largely over the 1980s and 1990s, with contri-butions to the field including the work of  Beanlands et al.(1986), Burris and Canter (1997), Canter (2002), Contantand Wiggins (1991), Cooper and Canter (1997), Dammanet al. (1995), Sadar (1997) and Spaling (1994, 1997).Coastal areas and wetlands have received some attention inCEA analyses—see, e.g. Brinson (1988), Childers andGosselink (1990), Clark and Zinn (1978), Dickert and Tuttle(1985), Risser (1988) and Vestal et al. (1995).While there is no universally accepted approach to CEA,components may include (Parr, 1999) an initial scopingstage, the setting of spatial and temporal boundaries for theanalysis, the identification of ‘valued ecosystem com-ponents’ (VECs) and indicators, the identification of thesources of impacts and the pathways through which impactsare likely to occur, and the assessment and/or prediction of impacts on the VECs arising through the identifiedpathways. In addition, any EIA may eventually lead to(a) recommendations on acceptability of an activity andminimising, eliminating or offsetting adverse effects,(b) a management plan to accomplish these measures, and(c) a monitoring program.The examination of cumulative impacts reported on inthis paper included initial scoping and boundary-setting, andthen focused on certain of the components noted above:1. Identification of the underlying sources of environmentalimpacts (i.e. the various economic sectors and humanactions causing impacts) emphasized overall growth, thechanging typology of industry, the changing spatialdistribution of industry, ports and shipping, landreclamation, aquaculture and waste disposal, along withother smaller sources. It was recognized that cumulativeimpacts from these sources could arise through varyingpathways (see Vestal and Rieser, 1995, p. 21), notably by‘persistent additions from one process’ (i.e. accumulatedimpacts from a single source) or ‘compounding effectsinvolving two or more processes’ (i.e. the effect of impacts from multiple sources).2. Identification of the major categories of impacts (whichmay be seen as proxies for the ‘valued ecosystemcomponents’) was carried out using an ecologicalapproach, in the sense that the major environmentaldisturbances, caused by economic development impact-ing on Xiamen’s coastal waters, were assumed to bereflected in the ecological elements of the system,notably physical, chemical and biological aspects(Hong and Xue, 1996). Specifically, the analysisidentified five major biophysical or ecologicalcategories: (1) circulation and siltation, (2) water quality,(3) sediment, (4) the benthic community, and (5) the stateof mangrove forests.3. Assessment of the anthropocentrically-induced impactsthemselves (using the set of categories above)included both the aggregate impacts of relevantactivities that occur simultaneously in the system,and the accumulation of impacts over time (i.e. thosecumulative impacts that are temporally-oriented).These aspects were assessed using certain keyindicators—e.g. various chemical parameters wereincluded, relating to water quality and the state of the ocean bed and of marine organisms. In addition togenerally-applicable indicators, some indicators of special interest were included in the analysis, suchas those relating to the particular species  Sousachinensis ,  Egret  ,  Lancelet   and mangroves (althoughnot all of these are discussed in the present paper).The various indicators were analysed with allowancefor delays in the appearance of cumulative effects,depending on the levels of resistance, inertia, adapta-bility and response to environmental change of therelevant organisms.The analysis was based on a compilation of historical(secondary) socio-economic and ecological data (Hong andXue, 1996) rather than ecological, causal or predictivemodelling. Accordingly, the identification of major cat-egories of ecological impacts, the choice of indicators andthe reporting on changes in those indicators over time werebased not on model outputs but rather on more informalanalyses. Furthermore, while certain pathways for impactswere apparent from a close examination of the Xiamencontext, rigorous analysis of the causal connections betweensources and impacts was not undertaken. In particular, theanalysis did not indicate which impacts were ‘additive’ andwhich involved ‘interactive’ (magnifying and/or synergis-tic) accumulation, recognizing that cumulative impacts maybe due simply to the sum of many impacts, or to the morecomplex nonlinear interaction among those impacts.Finally, in terms of what was not included in theexamination of cumulative impacts, the EIA componentsnoted earlier (providing recommendations, developingmanagement plans and implementing monitoring) wereleft to later in the paper, where they arise in the IntegratedCoastal Management framework (see below). 2.2. Integrated coastal management  The World Bank (2002) views Integrated CoastalManagement (ICM) as seeking to “maximize the benefitsprovided by the coastal zone and to minimize the conflictsand harmful effects of activities on social, cultural andenvironmental resources” through “…an interdisciplinaryand intersectoral approach to problem definition andsolutions” involving “a process of governance that consistsof the legal and institutional framework necessary to ensure  X. Xue et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 71 (2004) 271–283  273  that development and management plans for coastal zonesare integrated with environmental and social goals, and aredeveloped with the participation of those affected.”Cicin-Sain and Knecht (1998) focus on ICM as “acontinuous process by which decisions are made within asuitable coastal management system”, one that involves“blending together science, social science and technologicalstudies, on the one hand, with development of suitablepolicies, planning and programs, on the other hand” Thelatter emphasizes that ICM specifically incorporates aninformation and analytical stage (through “science, socialscience and technological studies”) with a policy-orientedstage. In this light, assessment of cumulative impacts fitswell within the philosophy of ICM, providing the requiredfactual and analytical foundation for evaluating impli-cations of alternative decisions.In examining Xiamen’s approach to ICM, this paper usesa methodological framework based on Cicin-Sain andKnecht’s (1998) conception of the practice of ICM asinvolving five forms of ‘integration’: †  Intersectoral integration  is fundamental to the nature of ICM, involving coordinated management of the varioussectors of coastal activity, such as fisheries, aquaculture,shipping, ports, tourism, etc.; †  Intergovernmental integration  implies attention to thevarious levels of government, from local/municipal toprovincial to national; †  Spatial integration  involves in particular the manyconnections between land-based and sea-based activitiesand institutions; †  Science-management integration  deals with the multipledisciplines required to understand coastal issues, andlinkages between science and management itself; †  International integration  arises when coastal pro-blems—such as those relating to pollution, fishing,shipping, etc.—cross national boundaries.Specifically, we examine to what extent the Xiamen casestudy incorporates these five forms of integration. (Note thatboth vertical and horizontal integration are included in theabove, e.g. within the intergovernmental and intersectoralforms, respectively.) Within this context, we also exploreinter-relationships between cumulative impacts and ICM.Incorporation of cumulative impacts within an integratedmanagement process provides critical input by identifyingand quantifying major impacts to be taken into account inthe management endeavour. At the same time, ICM itself can be an effective managing tool for dealing withcumulative impacts. The paper explores these inter-relationships in the context of the coastal areas of Xiamen,China, examining the manner by which the existence of cumulative impacts has influenced ICM arrangements,as well as the role of an ICM process in actually preventingor mitigating those cumulative impacts. 3. Sources of cumulative environmental impactsin Xiamen’s harbour This section briefly surveys seven major sources of anthropogenic impacts on Xiamen’s harbour area: overallpopulation and economic growth, the changing compositionof industrial activity, the changing spatial distribution of industry, ports and shipping, land reclamation, wastedisposal and aquaculture. All data described here aredrawn from Hong and Xue (1996). 3.1. Overall growth Since 1980, and especially in the 1990s, Xiamen hasdeveloped rapidly, with an  annual  growth rate of more than20% in both the GDP and the total population. Between1990 and 1995, the population of traditional residentsincreased slowly, rising from 1.1 to 1.2 million (an annualgrowth rate of 1%) but the immigrant population from othercities or rural areas of China increased rapidly from 100,000to 290,000, driven by job creation and needs for additionalmanpower. On Xiamen island, such immigrants nowconstitute almost 40% of the total population. 3.2. Changing nature of industry One feature of economic development is the changingcontribution to the GDP of the primary, secondary andtertiary industrial sectors. Light and heavy industries in thesecondary sector are the major contributors to the GDP, buttertiary industries—including commercial activities, com-munication and tourism—are developing more rapidly. It ispredicted that the mechanical, electronic, petro-chemicaland construction industries will develop especially rapidly,and that increasing numbers of tourists and passengers willvisit Xiamen in the future. 3.3. Changing spatial distribution of industry Another feature of development is the density distri-bution of industrial production and population: the highestindustrial production and population density are distributedin the old urban areas of the Xiamen Island, especially alongthe east coast of Xiamen’s Western Seas. Haicang, situatedacross from the old urban district (Fig. 1), is planned fordevelopment into a new modern urban area and a largeindustrial investment area. Most new development projectsare located along the coast of Xiamen’s Western Seas,which will be the focus of this paper. 3.4. Ports and shipping Port and shipping industries contribute significantly toXiamen’s economy. As an important foreign trade centre of China, Xiamen’s port hosts shipping to more than 60 portsin over 40 countries and regions. Xiamen Harbour is  X. Xue et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 71 (2004) 271–283 274
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