In the coastal area, especially in Asian region, wetlands have been reduced or disappeared due to the conversion into agricultural land or farming ponds in recent years. And it is concerned that such wetlands will suffer great environmental damages due to sea level rise accompanying global warming in the near future. In this report the author will discuss about the wise use of wetlands in relation to the impacts of global warming through the two case studies in Viet Nam; one is Ca Mau Cape National Park in Mekong Delta and the other is Tam Giang lagoon in the Central Viet Nam.
In Ca Mau Cape National Park, it is most important to the manage mangrove forests to keep up sustainably with the rising sea level at the rate of 0.5 m in 100 years. For this purpose, it is recommended to restrict artificial structures such as roads or ponds in the back of the mangrove forest, and to plan reforestation taking into consideration the ground height of the land and appropriate species. And it is an idea to set up several places where tourists can rest, eat, or stroll around the surrounding villages along the waterway to the cape. Local people can participate such tourism as a guide, a provider of meals or a partner for agriculture and fishery experiences of the tourists.
In Tam Giang lagoon and its lacustrine lowlands, it is predicted that future sea level rise will cause great impacts such as flooding, coastal erosion, increase of salinity and so on. Therefore they have to make proper adaptive strategies against such impacts of sea level rise from a long-term perspective in this region.
Concerning the wise use of wetlands in the coastal area, it is very important to consider the adaptation to global warming in the future as well as the conservation and protection of wetlands at present.
Wetlands have a strong attraction for people, due to their unique aesthetic appeal and the strong bond between people and nature. Therefore, protected wetlands designated under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, as national parks or world natural heritage often attract large numbers of tourists. The Ramsar Convention calls for the wise use of wetlands, a concept that shares similarities with sustainable tourism in that it aims to protect ecological characteristics of designated sites. Research on conflicts between wetland protection and tourism so far has mainly focused on developing countries. This paper analyses wise use and management structures in economically developed, densely populated areas with a strong tradition of outdoor leisure and natural tourism. To this purposes, it looks at the German part of the Wadden Sea, a world natural heritage stretching across 500 km of coastline and three countries.
First, types of leisure and tourism in water-based environments and their impact on wetlands are examined through literature review. Then, characteristics of nature based tourism and management structures of national parks in Germany are introduced. While interest in nature, environmental issues and nature-based leisure is generally high, on the other hand, national parks have often faced opposition from local stakeholder groups because they are perceived to restrict economic and leisure activities. Also, the efficiency of national park management suffers from a variety of regulations differing in each state and a lack of funds and management staff.
The Wadden Sea looks back on a long tradition as coastal resort where mainly German tourists spend their summer holidays, but also on tri-national cooperation on nature protection since 1978, leading to the designation as world heritage in 2009/14. The German part consists of three national parks, each with different zoning concepts and regulations on leisure activities like hiking, riding, boating or kitesurfing. Educational tourism with excursions in the wadden areas also plays an important role, supported by long-term volunteers. Due to zoning regulations and compared to shipping, fishing, military training and other uses of the Wadden Sea, tourism can be considered to have only limited damaging impact. However, the complicated management structure through three different national parks seems out of touch with the cross-boarder management demanded by a tri-national world heritage site and the constantly changing, fluid environment of the Wadden Sea.
The Ramsar Convention is a treaty for conserving wetland biodiversity. This emphasizes the wise use of wetland with nature conservation. However, the local society is not well aware of its rules and the philosophy behind the signing of the convention. The legal basis of the convention is different for each site of its implementation. It has been applied even before the registration and is not rule specific to the Ramsar Convention. If this is the case, then what does the registration of Ramsar Convention mean to the local society?
By just registration, wetland conservation is not reinforced freshly. Regarding the wise use of wetlands, the present work can be justified and new efforts are not necessarily required here. Many people are not interested in wetlands and do not expect regional revitalization effects for Ramsar registration. So, in Japan, even if a wetland is registered as a Ramsar site, it is a common belief that "nothing will change."
In considering the meaning of the registration of Ramsar Convention for the local society, "nothing will change" is a key phrase. Firstly, this means that land use will not change because nothing will be done specially. Even though aggressive measures for the conservation cannot be taken, wetlands are left as is in the present situation. This is because; it may deter large land development in the future and may justify nature conservatives.
Secondly, although it is a common belief that "nothing will change," active efforts are being made after the registration. They are Communication, Education, Participation, and Awareness (CEPA).Aggressive efforts are being focused on CEPA.The social significance of the Ramsar Convention is the creation and reproduction of the views of nature based on the concept of biodiversity. These views lead to the emergence of human resource development and public opinion related to future environmental governance.
Lake Biwa was registered under the Ramsar Convention in 1993.Since then, no special measures have been implemented. Because many measures had already been deployed for the preservation of the environment of Lake Biwa, it was only considered necessary to respond to this problem with these measures. After that time, Lake Nishinoko, the largest naiko lagoons, located in the coastal zone of Lake Biwa, was additionally registered in 2008.
The definitions of "Wise Use of Wetlands" and "Ecological Characteristics of Wetlands" of the Ramsar Convention have been changed by the framework and concepts concerning the Convention on Biological Diversity that were incorporated into them in the 21st century. Therefore, if the environmental measures for Lake Biwa are implemented around Biodiversity Conservation, the way of thinking that leads to wise use is practically reflected in the environmental measures.
Lake Nishinoko and four areas in the northern and northwest coastal zones of Lake Biwa are not only the wetlands registered under the Ramsar Convention, but also selected as Important Cultural Landscapes by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. Therefore, in the future the environment measures for Lake Biwa will be not only implemented based upon Biodiversity, but also face the task of the conservation of an Important Cultural Landscape at the same time.
The concept of "wise use" of wetlands is a crucial concept to the Ramsar Convention, and it aims at combining environmental conservation with sustainable development. However, the wise use concept has differently been interpreted from place to place, and from time to time. This paper, tracing brief history of environmental conservation in the United States, examines the relationship of environmental conservation and wise use, and illuminates some problems of the contemporary environmental conservation.
First, tracing the modern history of environmental conservation in the United States, this paper makes clear that the concepts of conservation and wise use have closely been related with each other since their origins in the early twentieth century. The concept of conservation originates in the establishment of National Forests in the United States by Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the United States Forest Service. According to Pinchot (1907), the concept of conservation means simply the wise use of all the various resources of the Forests.
Second, this paper examines two anti-environmentalist movements in the late 1970s and 1980s United States: Sagebrush Rebellion and Wise Use Movement. Although both of these movements are generally defined as the right wing anti-environmentalist movements, they also have claims for the protection of private property and people's initiative in using resources of public land. These claims are based not only on the reaction to the environmental movements that demand nature preservation in public land, but also on the recognition that the environmental stewardship is made possible by reasonable management and effective use of natural resource through market system.
Lastly, this paper examines the mitigation banking in recent cases of wetlands conservation. The mitigation banking has developed under the "no net loss" policy adopted by the first Bush government in 1989 that ecological gains obtained by compensating mitigation offset the ecological loss caused by developments. The mitigation banking as a new method of environmental conservation clears the way for the commodification of ecological services. This is a neoliberal version of "wise use" in contemporary environmental conservation.