On behalf of the authors, we draw your attention to a newly published paper in the Journal of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (Revista da Gestão Costeira Integrada) Issue 2 of Volume 14 (June 2014) on the theme of “integrating science and volunteer participation”.
This paper puts forward a multi-disciplinary field project, set up in 1989 at the Parc Natural de s’Albufera in Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain, as an example of a cost effective model for integrating science and volunteer participation in a coastal protected area. Outcomes include the provision of a science base for the effective management of the site; training of Balearic and international biologists and protected area managers; and providing information materials for public awareness, education and general dissemination purposes. This has been achieved at low cost by using the voluntary sector. The project incorporates scientists, wetland managers, students, scholars and other citizens under the auspices of an international volunteer network (TAIB), working in partnership with the Parc management team. Long-term monitoring over a 25-year span of subjects as varied as insects, birds, land and aquatic ecosystems and communities has led to an improved ecological understanding of socio-economic as well as environmental impacts and threats for the catchment. This paper illustrates the added value of a long-term ecological knowledge base for decision making and capacity building in protected areas in order to reduce environmental impacts from socio-economic development in surrounding coastal zones. It describes how the science base has been used as a means of communication to encourage early action by policy makers to avoid negative outcomes of costly future impact on the public purse; and highlights how the economic value of long-term monitoring as an early warning system far outweighs the modest cost to society of an integrated participatory project based in the volunteer sector. The Albufera experience is offered as a cost effective model for other coastal and island sites.
Access to the full text and Volume 14 of the Revista is available at the following link.