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Temporal constraints on ecosystem management: definitions and examples from Europe’s regional seas

Tim O'Higgins, Scottish Association for Marine Science
Philip Cooper, School of Management, University of Bath
Eva Roth, Southern Denmark University
Alice Newton, Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU)
Andrew Farmer, Institute for European Environmental Policy
Ian C Goulding, Megapesca Lda.
Paul Tett, Scottish Association for Marine Science


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Our ability to meet environmental targets is often constrained by processes and events that occur over long timescales and which may not be considered during the planning process. We illustrate with examples and define three major types of temporal scale phenomena of relevance to marine managers: Memory and Future Effects (jointly called Legacy Effects) and Committed Behaviors. We examine the role of these effects in achieving marine environmental targets in Europe under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the implications for future management, indicating the increased importance that these temporal phenomena give to reducing future pressures.

Key words

adaptive management; ecosystem approach; Marine Strategy Framework Directive; temporal scales

Copyright © 2014 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087