Coastal zone management is often hampered by ineffective collection of multidisciplinary information and, even when adequate data is available, ineffectual transfer of information from scientist to end-user. This may result in either poor or non-reproducible data collection procedures or sub-optimal utilisation of information, which ultimately impact on the quality of coastal zone management decisions. In this paper the authors outline an approach to the acquisition and effective transfer of integrated, multidisciplinary, environmental information from scientist to end-user. The Estuarine Health Index (EHI) was developed by focusing process research on physical, chemical and biological aspects of estuaries with an additional aesthetic component, into art integrated measure of estuarine health. The results may be portrayed either as a series of simple icons an a map, or as a stacked bar chart for a section of the coast and thus convey multidisciplinary information easily. In this paper the development of the individual components of this index is briefly described and the use of the index is illustrated by reference to results collected on over fifty estuaries on the South African coast. Finally, management uses of this approach and some of its benefits in terms of temporal and spatial environmental assessment are outlined.
|Journal||Ocean and Coastal Management|
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - 1994|