Cumulative Environmental Impacts and Integrated Coastal Management: The Case Of Xiamen, China

Xiongzhi Xue, Huasheng Hong, Anthony T. Charles
PR China
Type of Resource: 
Case Studies

This paper examines the assessment of cumulative environmental impacts and the implementation of integrated coastal management within the harbour of Xiamen, China, an urban region in which the coastal zone is under increasing pressure as a result of very rapid economic growth. The first stage of analysis incorporates components of a cumulative effects assessment, including (a) identification of sources of environmental impacts, notably industrial expansion, port development, shipping, waste disposal, aquaculture and coastal construction, (b) selection of a set of valued ecosystem components, focusing on circulation and siltation, water quality, sediment, the benthic community, and mangrove forests, and (c) use of a set of key indicators to examine cumulative impacts arising from the aggregate of human activities. In the second stage of analysis, the paper describes and assesses the development of an institutional framework for integrated coastal management in Xiamen, one that combines policy and planning (including legislative and enforcement mechanisms) with scientific and monitoring mechanisms (including an innovative ‘marine functional zoning’ system). The paper concludes that the integrated coastal management framework in Xiamen has met all relevant requirements for ‘integration’ as laid out in the literature, and has explicitly incorporated consideration of cumulative impacts within its management and monitoring processes.