Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Regional challenges in tourist wetland systems: an integrated approach to the Ria Formosa in the Algarve, Portugal

Abstract

Coastal change and coastal erosion have been a long-existing source of environmental changes. Traditionally, regional changes in wetland systems and their relations to agriculture, industry and urbanization are a major cause for concern. Nowadays, coastal distress has reached even global proportions: the problems of coastal change are strongly linked to the loss of fragile ecosystems, eutrophication and loss of biodiversity. Given that over 70 % of all human activity is in coastal areas, it is clear that many environmental and socio-economic changes occur at a local level and manifest themselves in a spatial context. The physical effect on the geographic morphology is evident in the related consequences for land use. A deep understanding of the changes in land use, and simultaneously in coastal erosion, calls for the integrated monitoring of the most relevant effects in fragile regions. The Ria Formosa wetland system is a unique and very special wetland system in the Algarve (Portugal) and has been integrated in the NATURA 2000 network. The strong symbiosis between nature, agriculture and fisheries, as well as tourism, in the Algarve has led to spatial-ecological synergy. By using coastal recession analysis techniques by means of remote-sensed imagery from 1987, 1989, 2000 and 2007 and by combining this information with available data sets on surface erodibility, a cost surface on multitemporal transitions of land-use classes from the CORINE Land Cover data allows us to assess and integrate a decision-making framework by means of GIS. The novelty of this combined approach to land-use management is the blend of spatial analysis and remote-sensing techniques that share important information on ecosystems at risk. Our findings suggest a growing concern to the area brought by anthropogenic activity. This is studied to a spatial accounting of the distribution of land changes and transitions, where (1) a significant loss of coastal area is witnessed along the Ria Formosa, leading in particular to loss of agricultural land. (2) This loss is underpinned by an increase in leisure facilities to respond to the tourism demand of the region of the Algarve, while landscape metrics suggest that these areas are more volatile for coastal erosion. (3) Simulation through Markov chains on the land use and effects of urban, agricultural, forest and wetland dynamics suggests that by 2026, it is expected to continue to have an increase in urban land, leading to an augmented vulnerability of coastal erosion processes brought by the loss of forest areas which protect from erosion given the root system that directly protects from the existing wave energy and helps sedimentation processes. The above methodology and the availability of data that are freely available render such a combined approach interesting for many other regions of the world, where tourism, coastal change and regional balance are of the utmost importance for sustainable development. The advanced research tools presented here are of critical importance for coastal zone degradation management.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

Notes

  1. 1.

    C Factor, or Cover-Management Factor, is used to reflect the effect of cropping and management practices on erosion rates.

  2. 2.

    K Factor, or Soil Erodibility Factor, is the soil erodibility factor that represents both susceptibility of soil to erosion and the rate of runoff, as measured under the standard unit plot condition.

References

  1. Alesheikh AA, Ghorbanali A, Nouri N (2007) Coastline change detection using remote sensing. Int J Environ Sci Tech 4(1):61–66

  2. Andrade C, Pires HO, Taborda R, Freitas MC (2007) Projecting future changes in wave climate and coastal response in Portugal by the end of the 21st century. J Coast Res, Special Issue 50:253–257

  3. Bebianno MJ (1995) Effects of pollutants in the Ria Formosa Lagoon, Portugal. Sci Total Environ 171:107–115

  4. Boyd J, Banzhaf S (2007) What are ecosystem services? The need for standardized environmental accounting units. Ecol Econ 63:616–626

  5. Brambati A (2004) Coastal zone problems and management: a brief review. Chem Ecol 20(3):155–166

  6. Caetano M, Araújo A, Nunes V, Carrão H (2008) Portugal CORINE land cover 2006: accuracy assessment of the high resolution built-up map for continental Portugal, technical report, Instituto Geográfico Português (Lisbon: Portugal)

  7. Cardoso I, França S, Pais MP, Henriques S, Fonseca L, Cabral H (2011) Fish assemblages of small estuaries of the Portuguese coast: a functional approach. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 93(1):40–46

  8. Catalão J, Catita C, Miranda JM, Dias JA (2002) Photogrammetric analysis of the coastal erosion in Algarve (Portugal). Géomorphologie 2:119–126

  9. Chand P, Acharya P (2010) Shoreline change and sea level rise along coast of Bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary, Orissa: an analytical approach of remote sensing and statistical techniques. Int J Geomatics Geosci 1(3):436–455

  10. Costanza R, Farber SC, Maxwell J (1989) Valuation and management of wetland ecosystems. Ecol Econ 1(4):335–361

  11. Crossland CJ, Baird D, Ducrotoy J-P, Lindenbook H (2005) The coastal zone: a domain of global interactions, coastal fluxes in the Anthropocene. Springer, Heidelberg

  12. Dias JM, Neal WJ (1992) Sea cliff retreat in southern Portugal: profiles, processes, and problems. J Coast Res 8(3):641–654

  13. Eastman JR (2006) IDRISI Andes. Clark University, Worcester

  14. EEA (European Environment Agency) (2006) The changing faces of Europe’s coastal areas. European Report (Ed.). European Environment Agency, Copenhagen

  15. EEA (European Environment Agency) (2008) GMES Fast track service precursor on land monitoringhigh-resolution core land cover data built-up areas incl. degree of soil sealingdelivery report Portugal. Technical Report, EEA

  16. European Commission (1999) Lessons from the European commission’s demonstration programme on integrated coastal zone management (ICZM), (consulted on 12/09/11: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/iczm/pdf/vol2.pdf)

  17. Feagin RA, Sherman DJ, Grant WE (2005) Coastal erosion, global sea-level rise, and the loss of sand dune plant habitats. Front Ecol Environ 3:359–364

  18. Fisher B, Turner RK (2007) Ecosystem services: classification for valuation. Biol Conserv 141(5):1167–1169

  19. Gilbert AJ, Goosen H, Werff P (2004) Management of wetlands. Reg Environ Change 4(2–3):77–78

  20. Hellström D, Jeppsson UK, Kärrman E (2000) A framework for systems analysis of sustainable urban water management. Environ Impact Assess Rev 20(3):311–321

  21. Ibanez F, Ducrotoy J-P (2002) Ecological groups of estuarine macrobenthic invertebrates: changes in space and time. J Marine Biol Assoc UK 82(5):749–769

  22. Kamthonkiat D, Saiwanrunrkul A, Koshimura S, Matsuoka M (2010) Shoreline anomaly mapping using multi-temporal remote sensing: the recent updates after the December 2004. Tsunami in Phang Nga, Thailand

  23. Kimble G (1933) Portuguese policy and its influence on fifteenth century cartography. Geogr Rev 23(4):653–659

  24. Kirkby MJ, Jones R, Irvine B, Gobin A, Govers G, Cerdan O, Rompaey A, Bissonnais Y, Daroussin J, King D, Montanarella L, Grimm M, Vieillefont V, Puigdefabregas J, Boer M, Kosmas C, Yassoglou N, Tsara M, Mantel S, Lynden G, Huting H (2004) Pan-European soil erosion risk assessment: the PESERA Map, Special Publication ISPRA, 73

  25. Morgan RPC, Morgan DDV, Finney HJ (1984) A predictive model for the assessment of soil erosion risk. J Agric Eng Res 30:245–253

  26. Munsi M, Maviya S, Oinam G, Joshi PK (2010) A landscape approach for quantifying land-use and land-cover change (1976–2006) in middle Himalaya. Reg Environ Change 10:145–155

  27. Nijkamp P, Scholten HJ (1993) Spatial information systems: design, modelling and use in planning. Int J Geogr Inf Sci 7(1):85–96

  28. Panagos P, Meusburger K, Alewell C, Montanarella L (2012) Soil erodibility estimation using LUCAS point survey data of Europe. Environ Model Softw 30:143–145

  29. Perreira H, Moura D, Perna F (2003) Valorização da jazida fossilífera de Cacela (Parque Natural da Ria. Formosa, Algarve, Portugal)—uma nova abordagem. Ciencias da Terra UNL 5:150–152

  30. Reis J, Lowe C (2012) Capacity development of European coastal and marine management: gaps and bridges. Ocean Coast Manag 55:13–19

  31. Turner RK (2000) Integrating natural and socio-economic science in coastal management. J Mar Syst 25(3–4):447–460

  32. Turner RK, Lorenzoni I, Baumont N, Bateman IJ, Langford IH, McDonald AL (1998) Geogr J 164(3):269–281

  33. Turner RK, Bateman IJ, Georgiou S, Jones A, Langford IH, Matias NGN, Subramanian L (2004) An ecological economics approach to the management of a multi-purpose coastal wetland. Reg Environ Change 4(2–3):86–99

  34. Vaz E, Caetano M, Nijkamp P, Painho M (2011a) A multi-scenario prospection of urban change: a study on urban growth in the Algarve. Landsc Urban Plan 104(2):201–211

  35. Vaz E, Cabral P, Caetano M, Painho M, Nijkamp P (2011b) Urban heritage endangerment at the interface of future cities and past heritage: a spatial vulnerability assessment. Habitat Int 36(2):287–294

  36. Wolman MG (1967) A cycle of sedimentation and erosion in urban river channels. Geografiska Annaler Ser A, Phys Geogr 49(2/4):385–395

  37. Zaldívar J, Cardoso A, Viaroli P, Newton A, Wit R, Ibañez C, Reizopoulou S, Somma F, Razinkovas A, Basset A, Holmer M, Murray M (2008) Eutrophication in transitional waters: an overview; (JRC-EU). Transit Waters Monogr 1:1–78

Download references

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the Editor and two blind reviewers for their very important comments, which have greatly contributed to the quality and the vision of this paper. We are also grateful to cartographer, Dr. Marco Helbich, for his useful comments concerning our maps.

Author information

Correspondence to Eric de Noronha Vaz.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

de Noronha Vaz, E., Walczynska, A. & Nijkamp, P. Regional challenges in tourist wetland systems: an integrated approach to the Ria Formosa in the Algarve, Portugal. Reg Environ Change 13, 33–42 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-012-0310-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Land-use change
  • Markov chains
  • Wetlands
  • Algarve
  • Urban growth
  • Coastal erosion