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Title: The ecological and economic analysis of beach management strategies in Scotland
Author: Griffin, Caroline
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2016
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Coastlines are particularly susceptible to the necessary trade-offs which occur between different ecosystem services. Should the areas be managed for biodiversity or for people? Where sandy beaches are found there is usually a management decision to be made between managing for recreation or for biodiversity. Many popular tourist beaches (particularly those with a Beach Award) are often groomed with mechanical equipment to remove any stranded seaweed and associated litter which can get entangled in the wrack. This is likely to be having a negative impact on coastal biodiversity, with wide ranging implications for the entire habitat, including the intertidal zone, sand dunes and shorebirds. Beached wrack should be allowed to naturally decompose providing a habitat for numerous species of macro-invertebrates. These macro-invertebrate communities not only include many endemic species found exclusively along the strandline but they also provide a very rich source of food for shorebirds. The re-mineralised nutrients resulting from the decomposed macrophytes should then become available to provide a rich source of nutrients to dune, strandline and marine ecosystems populations of the strandline. In previous studies grooming has been shown to have a negative impact on the invertebrates of the strandline and this study reveals that tidal range has an effect on the impacts of grooming with a higher tidal range having a more negative impact on the invertebrates. A study to observe the impacts of grooming on both adult plant and seed bank communities of the sand dunes found that grooming is having a negative impact on these populations. Grooming is predominantly driven by beach managers who aspire to gain Beach Awards in order to attract tourists to their beaches. Using non-market valuation in the form of a stated preference choice experiment and a travel cost model, it was observed that Beach Awards are not valued by beach goers but are instead influenced to visit a particular beach by good bathing water quality, high levels of biodiversity and low levels of litter. It was also shown that stranded seaweed on the beach does not deter visitors. Future management suggestions include attempting to reduce the confusion arising from the presence of multiple beach awards by either removing them altogether or by making their criteria more clear and direct with consistency in their design and designation. Bathing water quality should be completely removed from the Beach Award system and real-time information in the form of electronic signage and a publicly available App should replace it.
Supervisor: Gilburn, Andre ; Bunnefeld, Nils Sponsor: Marine Alliance of Science and Technology Scotland
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Beach Management ; Ecosystem Services ; Choice Experiment ; Travel cost method ; Wrack ; Beach Awards ; Beach grooming ; Willingness To Pay ; Zostera marina ; Coastal zone management ; Beaches--Scotland ; Biodiversity ; Ecosystems