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The capacities of institutions for the integration of ecosystem services in coastal strategic planning: The case of Jiaozhou Bay
Published Date April 2015, Vol.107:1–15,doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2015.02.001
Ruiqian Li a,,
Yongfu Li b
Margo van den Brink a
Johan Woltjer a
aDepartment of Spatial Planning & Environment, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen, 9700AV Groningen, The Netherlands
bResearch and Development Center of Marine Biotechnology, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 266071 Qingdao, China
Received 9 January 2014. Revised 5 December 2014. Accepted 6 February 2015. Available online 10 February 2015.
An integrated perspective for ES thinking and institutions was used to analyse the practice of coastal spatial planning.
Some coastal ESs have been implicitly acknowledged in strategic plans, but by no means the whole range.
ES implementation is triggered by market-oriented interest, fragmented structures, limited assessment and social value.
International comparison highlights the influence of market-oriented incentives and governments' exclusive responsibility.
This paper explains how the practice of integrating ecosystem-service thinking (i.e., ecological benefits for human beings) and institutions (i.e., organisations, policy rules) is essential for coastal spatial planning. Adopting an integrated perspective on ecosystem services (ESs) both helps understand a wide range of possible services and, at the same time, attune institution to local resource patterns. The objective of this paper is to identify the extent to which ESs are integrated in a specific coastal strategic planning case. A subsequent objective is to understand whether institutions are capable of managing ESs in terms of uncovering institutional strengths and weaknesses that may exist in taking ESs into account in existing institutional practices. These two questions are addressed through the application of a content analysis method and a multi-level analysis framework on formal institutions. Jiaozhou Bay in China is used as an illustrative case. The results show that some ESs have been implicitly acknowledged, but by no means the whole range. This partial ES implementation could result from any of four institutional weaknesses in the strategic plans of Jiaozhou Bay, namely a dominant market oriented interest, fragmented institutional structures for managing ESs, limited ES assessment, and a lack of integrated reflection of the social value of ESs in decision-making. Finally, generalizations of multi-level institutional settings on ES integration, such as an inter-organisational fragmentation and a limited use of ES assessment in operation, are made together with other international case studies. Meanwhile, the comparison highlights the influences of extensive market-oriented incentives and governments' exclusive responsibilities on ES governance in the Chinese context.