A full consideration of ecosystem services (ES) impacts, interactions and improvements can result in more sustainable and adaptive solutions for dredging and marine construction projects. Furthermore, the benefits can be translated in monetary terms, providing returns on investment and highlighting the links between ecology and economy. For some however, the ES concept is too theoretical. This article seeks to show how the ES concept can actively be applied at any point during a project and the benefits of doing so. Its purpose is to provide a framework for integrated and interdisciplinary thinking throughout the different steps of the project cycle.
Taking a fresh look at traditional, unsustainable coastal defence methods. A pioneering project discovers some inspiring concepts, including using biogenic reefs for ecosystem-based flood defence.
Managing sediments, especially from dredging, is important for the management of estuaries and coastal areas. When implemented in the right way, a sediment management strategy can be qualified as a nature-based solution as it uses the physical processes of erosion and sedimentation to create added value. There is a need for an evaluation of sediment strategies and the habitats that are created for a wider range of objectives than only biodiversity and nature conservation. The concept of ecosystem services provides this broader framework.
Can nature-based solutions be mainstream solutions? Nature-based solutions have obvious advantages but have not been embraced at wider scale. The barriers which can hinder wide-scale application and the topic’s relevance to the dredging community are discussed.
This study examines which and, if possible, how much more ecosystem services are provided by the most recent nature inspired coastal protection project Prins Hendrik Zanddijk, in comparison with a traditional concrete and asphalt construction.
A paradigm shift is being increasingly embraced within the dredging industry. The traditional engineering approach is becoming a holistic approach in which the ecosystem is leading and values for people, profit and planet are integrated in an interdisciplinary manner.