Building resilient urban ports and harbours through globally integrated research and management

ECSA 56 Coastal systems in transition


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Managing harbours as complex social-ecological systems


Interested in socio-ecological systems? The World Harbour Project (WHP) team has organised a session on ‘Managing harbours as complex social-ecological systems’ at ECSA 56, 4-7 September, Bremen.

The session welcomes papers that focus on the impacts that result from multiple uses of harbours, the tension between competing social, economic, and environmental interests and the management solutions that address these challenges. We welcome solutions-focused and multidisciplinary studies.

Conference Abstract:
Many of the world’s major cities – including New York, Shanghai, and Rio de Janeiro– are coastal or lie within large estuaries and have working harbours that are part of the fabric of their communities. Harbours provide an array of environmental, social and economic services such as, for example, recreation, tourism, commercial and residential development opportunities, and maritime activities more closely associated with ports such as shipping and its associated industry. Surprisingly, harbours may house significant biodiversity (see Hong Kong and Sydney). However, port and harbour activities subject their environments to sustained pressure e.g. via contamination with metals, organics, plastics and waste; nutrient enrichment; changes to water circulation due to land reclamation; dredging; anchor scouring; marine light and noise pollution; habitat loss and removal of biota via fishing. Study of complex harbours can provide insight into the future challenges faced by managers of coastal systems as human activity expands and ecosystems are increasingly modified. This session welcomes papers that focus on the impacts that result from multiple uses of harbours, the tension between competing social, economic, and environmental interests and the management solutions that address these challenges. We welcome solutions-focused and multidisciplinary studies and studies associated with the World Harbour Project (www.worldharbourproject.org).

For more information, contact the World Harbour Project team using the form below.

For conference details, click here.

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