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Month: July 2024

Balancing recreation and conservation: sustainable management of coastal dunes

Coastal dunes are so popular for outdoor recreation, which often causes difficult dilemmas in coastal dune management. The conservation of coastal dunes requires a multifaceted approach that balances recreational use with habitat conservation. 

Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp. are distributed along the sandy coasts of Southern and Western Europe, on Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. This rare and beautiful habitat features sparse junipers that are prostrate or erect depending on wind action and the adverse conditions typical of sand dunes.

Coastal dunes are very popular for outdoor recreation, which often causes difficult dilemmas in coastal dune management. On the one hand, recreation is considered a legitimate and appropriate function of many areas. On the other hand, recreation can result in a loss of natural qualities and, even worse, the complete destruction of the area. There is no simple solution to this dilemma. Only through adequate sustainable management can nature-based tourism be a compatible and complementary land use. By adopting sustainable management practices, promoting responsible visitor behaviour, and engaging local communities, it is possible to ensure the long-term conservation of these vital ecosystems. This integrated approach not only protects the natural environment but also supports the socio-economic well-being of local communities, creating a sustainable model for coastal dune management.

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The Emperor’s New Clothes: Why the EU Nature Restoration Regulation might fall short on biodiversity

The recent news around the now-adopted EU Nature Restoration Regulation has been significant, but is it really the game-changer it is being promoted as? The original 2022 proposal from the European Commission set the stage with ambitious and unambiguous goals for nature restoration. It was a clear call to action with legally binding targets and commitments.

Fast-forward to 2024, and the final version of the Regulation, shaped by amendments made by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, is rather a shadow of its former self. Instead of a robust legislative framework on restoration, we are left with a diluted set of subjective targets. While many argue that this is better than nothing, I find it hard not to see this as a step back from the originally proposed goals. What was once a strong plan is now a paper tiger, lacking substance and bite.

However, as a researcher, I find it interesting to highlight some of the changes and communication around the restoration regulation as an excellent example of framing in practice and the overall power of words (both for communication and legislation).

Let us get into why!

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