Environmental determinisms at the Coastal Interface
: Parameters for Governance?

  • David Stevenson

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Land, coastal and marine environments are important ecosystems for the provisions of ecosystem services to sustain societal and ecological livelihoods. Critically the growth of climatic and human induced vulnerabilities worldwide are placing the governance regimes of these three individual and interdependent environments at risk in terms of their long-term viability. This research seeks to understand how governance arrangements at the interface between the land, coast and marine environments on the Island of Ireland can adapt to and mitigate against the consequences of such change. The research was conducted utilising seven case study areas from across the devolved UK and Island of Ireland. The case studies were investigated and analysed through the theoretical framework of social-ecological resilience. The thesis advances understandings social-ecological resilience and tests if contemporary governance arrangements are adequate for longer-term future proofing. A wide array of conditions pertinent to resilient governance of the coastal interface were identified including collaboration, cooperation, knowledge sharing, leadership and adaptive capacity building. This research has identified governance arrangements on the island of Ireland are geared and focused on a reactive and engineering resilience approach for anticipating climatic and human induced uncertainty. By contrast, in Scotland and Wales, governance arrangements are focussed on proactive and future proofing planning and management scenarios. The research recommends the application of Strategic Shoreline Management Plans, the adopting of an Irish coastal forum and the development of Planning Advice Notes to bridge the land and marine divide. The contribution of this research is to add new knowledge to the study of collective natural environments and their governance arrangements in periods of risk.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorStanley Mc Greal (Supervisor) & Greg Lloyd (Supervisor)

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