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The Systems Approach Framework as a Complementary Methodology of Adaptive Management: a Case Study in the Urban Beaches of Barcelona

Ben Tomlinson, Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC)
Sergio Sastre, Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC)
Dolors Blasco, Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC)
Jorge Guillén, Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC)


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The Systems Approach Framework is a methodological framework designed to enhance the efficacy of human decision-making processes within social-ecological systems with regard to sustainability. The objective of resilience adaptive management is to either maintain the system within the current regime such that the desired ecosystem goods and services continue to be delivered, or to move the system phase to a preferred regime. Although the objectives of the two frameworks are not exactly the same, there are considerable complementarities between them. Through application of the Systems Approach Framework in a case study regarding the urban beaches of Barcelona, Spain, we present some of the main findings revealed during the model construction and stakeholder participatory process. Additionally, we demonstrate that the Systems Approach Framework could be considered a useful step-by-step methodological guide that employs many of the vital components and processes of adaptive management.

Key words

adaptive management; Barcelona; coastal management; Spain; Systems Approach Framework; urban beach
Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087