Wetlands Ecology and Management

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 235–276 | Cite as

Ecohydrology as a new tool for sustainable management of estuaries and coastal waters

  • E. WolanskiEmail author
  • L.A. Boorman
  • L. Chícharo
  • E. Langlois-Saliou
  • R. Lara
  • A.J. Plater
  • R.J. Uncles
  • M. Zalewski


Throughout the world, estuaries and coastal waters have experienced degradation. Present proposed remedial measures based on engineering and technological fix are not likely to restore the ecological processes of a healthy, robust estuary and, as such, will not reinstate the full beneficial functions of the estuary ecosystem. The successful management of estuaries and coastal waters requires an ecohydrologybased, basin-wide approach. This necessitates changing present practices by official institutions based on municipalities or counties as an administrative unit, or the narrowly focused approaches of managers of specific activities (e.g., farming and fisheries, water resources, urban and economic developments, wetlands management and nature conservationists). Without this change in thinking and management concept, estuaries and coastal waters will continue to degrade, whatever integrated coastal management plans are implemented. To help in this process of change there is a need to (1) develop a profound understanding of the effects of biota and biotic processes on mediating estuary response to changing hydrology, sediment and nutrient flux and of the biota on hydrology at the river basin scale, and (2) to develop science-based remediation measures at the river basin scale, with elements of ecohydrology and phytotechnology at their core, to strengthen the ability of the biota to sustain and adapt to human-induced stresses.

Key words

Ecohydrology Ecology Environmental degradation Estuary Hydrology Management Sustainable development 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Wolanski
    • 1
    Email author
  • L.A. Boorman
    • 2
  • L. Chícharo
    • 3
  • E. Langlois-Saliou
    • 4
  • R. Lara
    • 5
  • A.J. Plater
    • 6
  • R.J. Uncles
    • 7
  • M. Zalewski
    • 8
  1. 1.Australian Institute of Marine ScienceTownsville MCAustralia
  2. 2.LAB CoastalThe MaylandsCambs.UK
  3. 3.CCMAR, Campus de Gambelas, Faculdade do Mare do AmbienteUniversidade do AlgarvePortugal
  4. 4.Laboratoire d’Ecologie, UPRES-EA 1293, Groupe de Recherche ECODIV “Biodiversité et Fonctionnement des Ecosystèmes”Université de RouenMont Saint AignanFrance
  5. 5.Zentrum für Marine TropenökologieBremenGermany
  6. 6.Department of GeographyUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK
  7. 7.Plymouth Marine LaboratoryProspect PlacePlymouthUK
  8. 8.Department of Applied EcologyUniversity of LodzLodzPoland

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