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Incorporating change in marine spatial planning: A review

Dec 16 2018

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Environmental Science & Policy
Volume 92, February 2019, Pages 191-200

E.Gissi, S.Fraschetti, F.Micheli


Marine/maritime spatial planning (MSP) is intended as a process to apply an adaptive ecosystem-based approach in order to manage the oceans towards the sustainable use of marine resources. Several policy documents and research articles have identified the need for MSP to address change, intended as dynamic aspects from different drivers. However, practical examples of MSP embracing change and dynamics are rare and the inclusion of system dynamics, environmental variability and future change in MSP remains challenging. Here, we conceptualize the multiple dimensions of change in MSP consisting in i) the dynamics of the marine and coastal social-ecological system (SES), and ii) the dynamics of the planning process. This study depicts the current state of scientific knowledge on incorporating change and dynamics in MSP through a systematic literature review. Efforts to actually incorporate change in MSP are mainly limited to environmental dynamics, while social and governance changes are rarely represented. Long-term temporal scales are only seldom considered, and climate change effects rarely incorporated in methods and tools to support MSP. We propose a tier-approach to include multiple response variables and scenario modeling to address socio-economic, environmental and governance change and dynamics within MSP.