A System's Approach to Sustainable Development

We promote an ecosystem approach to adaptive management that advances community-based sustainable development actions which are both economically and ecologically sound.

Check out "Practice of Sustainable Community Development" a new book published by R. Warren Flint of Five E's Unlimited





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Coastal Zone Sustainability

Reliance on the coastal region of our oceans and the Great Lakes for food, energy, international trade, tourism, and recreation has increased and in turn so have the threats to these valuable ecosystems. Coastal regions are more than a place for recreation. Coastal waters and coral reefs are a storehouse of biodiversity. Coastal areas are also absolutely essential to our economy. Through tourism, fishing, and other industries for example, coastal resources support one out of every six jobs in the entire U.S.

Increasing coastal development (almost half of new development in the U.S. occurs along the coast), overfishing, polluted runoff, and degradation of coral reefs, however, all signal the need for a more coordinated strategy to protect and manage marine resources. Implementation of sound management strategies in coastal regions thus requires integrated assessment, where economic activity and conservation are placed on equal footing.

Five E's Unlimited has organized and facilitated interdisciplinary teams of scientists to design and carry-out programs of integrated coastal ecosystem assessment. Projects have focused on understanding the interactions of external forces and associated responses in the coastal zone, to guide sound landscape sustainable development. Our multi-scale ecosystem assessments have included:

  • research into the ecology and food web interactions of estuarine/marine communities;
  • evaluation of the proportionate coastal bay input of nutrients from different sources, including external landshed input and internal sediment recycling;
  • study of the coastal ecosystem dynamics of the South Texas continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico;
  • assessment of impacts from water diversions on water quality and coastal ecosystem biological health;
  • evaluation of the environmental & socio-economic importance of critical marine habitats and their biodiversity;
  • review of coastal aquaculture practices and strategy recommendations for environmentally sensitive improvements to the culture of fish and shellfish species;
  • analysis of environment-development interactions and policy/management options;
  • identity of cause and effect relationship as well as emerging issues of potential national/international importance; and
  • ability to assess potential impacts and long-term sustainability of alternative development, policy or management options.

Five E's works with clients to improve stewardship of coastal regions in order to ensure their economies remain strong. We promote successful adaptive management and policy strategies to coastal ecosystem protection/restoration that draw upon knowledge gained from the coupling of environmental quality and ecologic functioning with sound land-use assessments, supported by improved and "cutting-edge" scientific inquiry.

We consistently apply a systems approach to the examination of sustainable development in the coastal zone. This complex system is viewed and evaluated as comprising three sub-systems: environment and resources, economic development, and society. A sustainability indicator system based on these three sub-systems can be produced to evaluate the nature and impact of development in the coastal zone.

We have had a number of years of experience that allow us to:

  • Develop and deliver an approach to managing the coast that integrates environmental, economic and social interests on the coast.
  • Develop an inclusive approach to the management of the coastal zone.
  • Recognize sectoral policy links.
  • Ensure consistency and integration of a strategic plan with those of adjacent coastal areas.

We Can Assist You In:

  1. Recommending methods for monitoring the health and use of coastal resources, demonstrating how definition of habitat quality and understanding for basic ecosystem processes can guide identity of protection and restoration approaches as well as evaluation tools.
  2. Providing technical advisory services and training on integrated evaluation of data and information from many different sources and disciplines, as well as emerging issues of potential national/international importance.
  3. Analyzing spatial landscape environment-development interaction issues, such as urbanization, examining relationships between land cover changes and coastal bay environmental indicators and developing policy/management options for effective and integrated coastal resources protection.
  4. Identifying cause and effect relationships that result in potential sectoral conflicts and recommending land-use impact mitigation and coastal bay remediation techniques to solve disputes.
  5. Assessing ecological conditions, characteristics, and potential environmental and socio-economic impacts on long-term coastal resource sustainability from alternative development, policy, or management options.
  6. Developing integrated adaptive coastal resources management strategies and strengthening institutional capacity.
  7. Promoting public/stakeholder participation in preparation of coastal resources strategy and action plan development, seeking community-based attitudes, values, opinions, and visions related to perceived watershed development needs in relationship to coastal bay habitats and water quality.

Five E's promotes an ecosystem approach to adaptive management that advances community-based sustainable development actions which are both economically and ecologically sound.

Check out our different coastal zone management projects and discover what we can do for you.

General Delivery, Placencia Village, Stann Creek District, Belize C.A. ---- Phone: (512) 256-7633 ---- e-mail: rwflint@eeeee.net

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Last Update: 1/1/15
Web Author: Dr. R. Warren Flint