An ecosystem approach assessing the impacts of the construction and operation of the Mersey Gateway Crossing on the Upper Mersey Estuary

Drewitt, A 2017, An ecosystem approach assessing the impacts of the construction and operation of the Mersey Gateway Crossing on the Upper Mersey Estuary , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

The ecosystem approach, introduced by the Convention on Biological Diversity, identifies the need to recognise the benefits nature provides to humans. More recently, the concept of natural capital has boarded the range of issues considered to include natural stocks such as geology, soil, air, water, and all living things. The use of ecosystem services to achieve sustainable management of natural capital has been endorsed in international and national literature, although there remain operational gaps. The research reported here explores how the use of ecosystem services can be used in long-term management of socio-ecological systems.

Expert opinion and consultation in form of a Delphi technique were used to identify triggers of change and relevant ecosystem services of the Upper Mersey Estuary. Alongside this, a critical review of planning documents was used to develop three scenarios: Business as Usual 2044; Development Boom 2044, and Nature is Key 2044; projecting different aspects of the future until 2044. These were used in a model to indicate the provision of ecosystem services in the estuary.

Eighteen ecosystem services were identified, with biodiversity being rated the most important, followed by regulating and cultural services. Distinct changes in the provision of these ecosystem services can be observed at sites within the estuary under the three scenarios. Changes are especially noticeable in the case of increased development in and around the estuary, as well as in the case of focus on nature conservation and long-term approaches to habitat management.

Methods to monitor the provision of ecosystem services as part of an adaptive management are proposed, which can be integrated into an adaptive management system for the estuary. Such an approach facilitates decision-making by local stakeholders and offers transferable methods for the long-term management of dynamic systems such as estuaries, using an ecosystem approach.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Depositing User: Andrea Drewitt
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2018 15:28
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2018 01:38
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/44900

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