CoastWEB: Valuing the contribution which COASTal habitats make to human health and WEllBeing, with a focus on the alleviation of natural hazards

Lead Research Organisation: Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Department Name: Plymouth Marine Lab

Abstract

Despite increasing recognition of connections between natural environment and human health and wellbeing, these links are still poorly understood. There is a real need to develop methodological approaches to fully elucidate natural environments for health and wellbeing. To address this need the CoastWEB project aims to holistically value the contribution which coastal habitats make to human health and wellbeing, with a focus on the alleviation of coastal natural hazards and extreme events. The research is ambitious in its interdisciplinary scope, including art, social and environmental psychology, environmental economics, governance, policy, a suite of natural sciences, and non-academic stakeholders. It also covers a range of scales from local Welsh case study sites to UK national. We are proposing a circular 4 step process:
1. The proposed research begins with the definition of a set of "real world" future interventions for Welsh salt marsh ecosystems, with a particular focus on coastal defence, and set within a broader national policy context. It is critical that the outputs of this research are useful to end users, and not just academic, as such the definition of these options will be made in close collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders.
2. The impact of these interventions on saltmarsh coastal defence capacity will then be explored using natural science and modelling techniques, improving our understanding of the key ecosystem processes and attributes which influence this capacity. The impact on other ecosystem services will also be documented using existing literature. A key output of this step will be the production of Wales-wide maps of changes in salt marsh coastal defence services, under differing interventions.
3. The impact of these changes in coastal defence, and broader ecosystem service delivery, will be linked to changes in human health and wellbeing at both a local community and national scale. The local wellbeing impacts will be explored through the application of qualitative dialogue based techniques, whereas the national scale impacts will be explored through quantitative (monetary and non-monetary) survey techniques.
4. Through mapping and workshops, using both an interactive artistic approach (local) and the established modelling platform, TIM (national), the health and wellbeing results will then feed directly back into the stakeholder base and the management of the salt marsh, as they will provide a unique insight into the broader health and wellbeing aspects of salt marshes, under the future interventions proposed in step 1.

The mixed methods approach proposed will provide a greater understanding examining health and wellbeing in different ways, enabling our ability to handle different understandings and interpretations of value. However, the aim is not to use different disciplines to translate for each other, or to combine results into one metric, but rather to embrace the differences in the approaches and outputs and to explore how they can complement each other. Using these complementary approaches and scales is beneficial in providing managers with a diverse array of information for making decisions.

Planned Impact

Our research will contribute to the knowledge base both locally and globally, in both academic and applied terms. Key outcomes and benefits of this research include: (1) novel developments in academic fields of environmental valuation, environmental and social psychology, and salt marsh ecology with at least 12 peer-reviewed publications and presentations at international conferences; (2) a fundamental advancement of our understanding of the relationship between human health and wellbeing and the natural environment, through the development, integration and application of academic disciplines, focused on coastal defence functioning of salt marshes, but with lessons learned that can be directly transferred across ecosystems. This will be evidenced through 1-2 high level over-arching academic publications; (3) provision of new health and wellbeing values, at local to country wide scales, to support environmental management, including coastal policies (SMP), with implications to monetary spending on climate change mitigation, coastal defence, managed realignment and spatial compensation for habitat loss. (4) establishment of long standing collaborative legacies.
These prospective outcomes will have direct impact on a number of beneficiaries, including:
a. National environmental managers (NRW, Defra, MMO) will directly profit from improved information regarding the coastal defence capacity of salt marsh, and the resultant health and wellbeing values, developing understanding of the comparative value of these habitats under different interventions. This information will enable the raising of awareness and transparency of trade-offs in decision making in an environmental context.
b. Local environmental managers such as county, city and town councils with substantial salt marsh in their jurisdictions will be able to use both the collected health and wellbeing values and the methods developed in this project for better understanding of trade-offs and environmental value in coastal management.
c. Academics, environmental managers and NGOs will benefit from improvements in both intra-disciplinary methods, and also inter-disciplinary collaborations, for specific application to health and wellbeing valuation as methods and values of improved accuracy and utility will be provided.
d. Public and wider society will benefit from the project results as they will help to ensure that the public's valuation of important natural assets are meaningfully represented in future development decisions. These insights will also be relevant to the work of many environmental NGOs such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and county wildlife trusts.
e. International initiatives including The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) and Natural Capital Initiatives (NCI) and Projects (NCP) in the UK, US and across world will be informed by the health and wellbeing valuation methodologies and outputs. There is a well-documented need for primary valuation research such as this, particularly in the coastal sector, to support such initiatives.

Publications


10 25 50
 
Description Collaboboration with NRN funded RESILCOAST project 
Organisation Bangor University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Time and intellectual input
Collaborator Contribution Time and intellectual input
Impact Just started
Start Year 2016
 
Description 7th June PEMSEA webinar. Invited speaker. The ecosystem services (ES) approach, its application and the assessment of marine and coastal ecosystems to support marine management 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 7th June PEMSEA webinar. Invited speaker. The ecosystem services (ES) approach, its application and the assessment of marine and coastal ecosystems to support marine management
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Blue Solution Initiative webinar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 17th January 2017 Blue Solution Initiative webinars through OpenChannels, on "Integrating marine ecosystem services". Keynote presentation - "The Ecosystem Service (ES) approach: Lessons Learned"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Cambridge University Science Festival 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Hands-on activity as part of the University Science Festival drop-in session at the Department of Geography at which visitors were able to examine different types of intertidal sediments and inspect the invertebrates that populate them under the microscope. Activities also included a salt marsh identification challenge and a demonstration on how salt marsh sedimentation is measured over time to track its response to sea level rise.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk/events/its-muddy-world
 
Description CoastWEB external advisory board 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact CoastWEB External Advisory Board meeting
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description European Coastal Ecology Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact 35 post graduate students (MSc and PhD) attended the workshop to network, exchange knowledge and develop collaborations on saltmarsh related research across Northern Europe. The presentation on CoastWEB stimulated much debate on the value of saltmarsh ecosystems
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Invited expert to Planetary Health Brainstorming Meeting. Yale Center for the Study of Globalization/Rockefeller Foundation. New York. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 7th Dec 2016 Invited expert to Planetary Health Brainstorming Meeting. Yale Center for the Study of Globalization/Rockefeller Foundation. New York.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Invited presentation at IUCN international Blue Carbon meeting (Blue Natura), Malaga, Spain: 21-22nd November 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Martin Skov was invited to speak about coastal resilience, in a carbon-sequestration context, at the IUCN-organised 'BlueNatura , 21-22nd November 2016, in Malaga, Spain. The meeting was attended by a wide collective of global stakeholders in management of blue carbon systems (salt marshes, mangroves, seagrasses, kelp beds), including the IUCNs Global Blue Carbon Working Group that sets many policy directions to marine carbon research. Martin did two keynote presentations and spent considerable time discussing resilience research gaps in the blue carbon, with delegates, politicians and colleague researchers from around the world.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.iucn.org/news/conference-coastal-carbon-sinks-conservation-21-22-november-malaga-spain
 
Description Presentation of CoastWEB to RESILCOAST audience 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation of CoastWEB at RESILCOAST annual meeting
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Presentation of CoastWEB to VNP audience 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Interest and engagement with CoastWEB project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description The second meeting for the Business Interest Group for the Valuing Nature Programme, at RIBA London, 25th January 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Participation in a workshop with the Business Interest Group for the Valuing Nature Programme. Presenting on behalf of CoastWEB to a panel composed of the Business Interest Group and representatives of the other participating projects within the Valuing Nature Programme: Wetland Life (Tim Acott),IWUN (Anna Jorgensen), UK land ecosystems (Tim Lenton), GHIA (Sarah Lindley), Blanket Peatlands (Mark Reed), Lowland Landscapes (Adrian Newton). Programme Coordinators: Rosie Hails, VNPCT, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Guy Duke, Business Champion, VNPCT, Independent, Anita Weatherby, Programme Manager, VNPCT, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. Mutual information session with a great deal of feedback on the business potential within each research programme
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://valuing-nature.net/coastweb-valuing-contribution-which-coastal-habitats-make-human-health-and...