Advertisement

Journal of Coastal Conservation

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 555–563 | Cite as

To preserve or to develop? East Bay dredging project, South Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands

  • Chris Zuidema
  • Richard Plate
  • Angela Dikou
Article

Abstract

The Turks and Caicos Islands are currently in the midst of an economic revolution from a marine-based provisional economy to a tourism economy. East Bay, South Caicos, is currently under construction with plans for a 160-unit condominium complex. Included in the project plan is removal of seagrass beds in front of the development to make a sandy beach for tourists. The aims of this study were to (i) describe the bathymetry and benthic habitat coverage of East Bay before dredging takes place and (ii) perform an economic valuation on the turtle grass beds that will be dredged using ecosystem valuation and emergy analysis techniques. The bathymetry survey revealed shallow waters (<1.5 m) until the reef drop off (∼650 m offshore). Benthic habitat exhibits zonation following the general progression: sand plain, algal plain, seagrass, coral rubble and seagrass, rock and turf algae, and reef flat. Ecosystem services valued the proposed dredging area at USD $28,807 per year, compared to emergy analysis, which valued the proposed dredging site at USD $32,060 per year. The baselines presented in the study may facilitate a quantitative assessment of dredging impacts on turtle grass once dredging is complete and an economical cost-benefit-analysis of the dredging project to see whether the economic gains outweigh the ecological costs of dredging in front of the East Bay development.

Keywords

Bathymetry Benthic habitat Economic valuation Ecosystem services Emergy Turks and Caicos Islands 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank The School for Field Studies for educational, financial, and logistical support throughout the duration of this study and Amy Fleischer for her contribution during field work. Figure 1 was originally drawn and generously offered by Dr. J. Claydon.

References

  1. Abel T (2003) Understanding complex human ecosystems: the case of ecotourism on Bonaire. Conserv Ecol 7(3):10–17Google Scholar
  2. Andereck KL, Valentine KM, Knopf RC, Vogt CA (2005) Residents’ perceptions of community tourism impacts. Ann Tour Res 32(4):1056–1076. doi: 10.1016/j.annals.2005.03.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bellan GL, Bellan-Santini DR (2001) A review of littoral tourism, sport and leisure activities: consequences on marine flora and fauna. Aquat Conserv: Mar Fresh Ecosyst 11(4):325–333. doi: 10.1002/aqc.461 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bos AR, Bouma TJ, de Kort GLJ, van Katwijk MM (2007) Ecosystem engineering by annual intertidal seagrass beds: sediment accretion and modification. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 74(1–2):344–348. doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2007.04.006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brown MT, Bardi E (2001) Emergy of ecosystems. In: Odum HT, Brown MT (eds) Handbook of emergy evaluation. Center for Environmental Policy, University of Florida, GainesvilleGoogle Scholar
  6. Byrnes TA, Warnken J (2006) Greenhouse gas emissions from marine tours: a case study of Australian tour boat operators. J Sustain Tour 14(3):255–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Campbell DE (2004) Evaluation and emergy analysis of the Cobscook Bay ecosystem. Northeast Nat 2:355–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cater C, Cater E (2007) Marine ecotourism: between the devil and the deep sea blue. CAB International, OxfordshireCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Costanza R, d’Arge R, de Groots R, Farber S, Grasso M, Hannon B, Limburg K, Naeem S, O’Neill R, Paruelo J, Raskin R, Sutton P, van den Belt M (1997) The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature 387:253–260. doi: 10.1038/387253a0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Craig-Smith SJ, Tapper R, Font X (2006) The coastal and marine environment. In: Gössling S, Hall MC (eds) Tourism and global environmental change. Ecological, social, economic and political interrelationships. Routledge, Oxon, pp 107–127Google Scholar
  11. Croes RR (2006) A paradigm shift to a new strategy for small island economies: embracing demand side economics for value enhancement and long term economic stability. Tour Manag 27:453–465. doi: 10.1016/j.tourman.2004.12.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Davenport J, Davenport JL (2006) The impact of tourism and personal leisure transport on coastal environments: a review. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 67:280–292. doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2005.11.026 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fonseca MS (1989) Sediment stabilisation by Halophila decipiens in comparison to other seagrasses. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 17:367–380. doi: 10.1016/0272-7714(89)90083-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fonseca MS (1996) The role of seagrasses in nearshore sedimentary processes: a review. In: Nordstrom K, Roman C (eds) Estuarine shores: evolution, environments and human alterations. Wiley, London, pp 261–286Google Scholar
  15. Gibbons JH (1992) Science and technology issues in coastal ecotourism. U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, OTA-BP-F-86. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  16. Gössling S (2001) The consequences of tourism for sustainable water use on a tropical island: Zanzibar, Tanzania. J Environ Manag 61(2):179–191. doi: 10.1006/jema.2000.0403 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Heck KL, Hays G, Orth RJ (2003) Critical evaluation of the nursery role hypothesis for seagrass meadows. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 253:123–136. doi: 10.3354/meps253123 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hockey PAR (1987) The influence of coastal utilisation by man on the presumed extinction of the Canarian black Oystercatcher Haematopus meadewaldoi Bannerman. Biol Conserv 39(1):49–62Google Scholar
  19. Kahoru T, Yap SY (2001) A baseline study on water resources of the tourist island, Pulau Perhentian, Peninsular Malaysia, from an ecological perspective. Environmentalist 21(4):273–286. doi: 10.1023/A:1012948100671 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kaldy JE, Dunton KH (2000) Above- and below-ground production, biomass and reproductive ecology of Thalassia testudinum (turtle grass) in a subtropical coastal lagoon. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 193:271–283. doi: 10.3354/meps193271 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lotka AJ (1925) Physical biology. Williams and Wilkins, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  22. Nagelkerken I, van der Velde G, Gorissen MW, Meijer GJ, Van’t Hof T, den Hartog C (2000) Importance of mangroves, seagrass beds and the shallow coral reef as a nursery for important coral reef fishes, using a visual census technique. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 51(1):31–44. doi: 10.1006/ecss.2000.0617 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Odum HT (1983) Systems ecology: an introduction. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. Odum HT (1996) Environmental accounting: emergy and environmental decision making. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. Odum HT (2000) Emergy accounting. Environmental Engineering Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA, April 2000. Available at: www.energycrisis.org/emergy/OdumEmergy.doc
  26. Odum HT, Odum EP (2000) The energetic basis for valuation of ecosystem services. Ecosystems 3(1):21–23. doi: 10.1007/s100210000005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Odum HT, Brown MT, Bandt-Williams S (2000) Introduction and global budget. In: Odum HT, Brown MT (eds) Handbook of emergy evaluation. Center for Environmental Policy, University of Florida, GainesvilleGoogle Scholar
  28. Orams MB (1999) Marine tourism: development, impacts and management. Routledge Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  29. Scoffin TP (1979) The trapping and binding of subtidal carbonate sediments by marine vegetation in Bimini Lagoon, Bahamas. J Sed Petrol 40:249–273Google Scholar
  30. Sinclair MT (1998) Tourism and economic development: a survey. J Dev Stud 34(5):1–51. doi: 10.1080/00220389808422535 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sullivan SK (2004) Large-scale ecological impacts of development on tropical islands systems: comparison of developed and undeveloped islands in the central Bahamas. Bul Mar Sci 75:95–320Google Scholar
  32. Teh L, Cabanban AS (2007) Planning for sustainable tourism in southern Pulau Banggi: an assessment of biophysical conditions and their implications for future tourism development. J Environ Manag 85:999–1008. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2006.11.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. White AT, Rosales R (2001) Community-oriented tourism in the Philippines: role in economic development and conservation. In: Gössling S (ed) Tourism and Development in Tropical Islands: Political Ecology Perspectives. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham, UK, pp 237–262Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The School for Field Studies, Center for Marine Resource StudiesSouth CaicosBritish West Indies

Personalised recommendations