Identification and prioritization of areas with high environmental risk in Mediterranean coastal areas: A flexible approach

Sci Total Environ. 2017 Jul 15;590-591:566-578. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.02.221. Epub 2017 Mar 8.


Interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity are the cornerstone for the future management of coastal ecosystems with many vulnerability and hazard indexes developed for this purpose, especially in the engineering literature, but with limited studies that considered ecological implications within a risk assessment. Similarly, the concept of prioritization of sites has been widely examined in biodiversity conservation studies, but only recently as an instrument for territory management. Considering coastal plant diversity at the species and community levels, and their vulnerability to three main potential hazards threatening coastal areas (oil spills, Hazardous and Noxious Substances pollution, fragmentation of natural habitats), the objective of this paper is to define an easy-to-use approach to locate and prioritize the areas more susceptible to those stressors, in order to have a practical instrument for risk management in the ordinary and extra-ordinary management of the coastline. The procedure has been applied at pilot areas in four Mediterranean countries (Italy, France, Lebanon and Tunisia). This approach can provide policy planners, decision makers and local communities an easy-to-use instrument able to facilitate the implementation of the ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) process in their territory.

Keywords: GREAT Med project; Habitat fragmentation; Hazard analysis; Plant diversity; Risk assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Ecosystem*
  • France
  • Italy
  • Lebanon
  • Risk Management
  • Tunisia