In a study published July 7 in the prestigious Proceedings of the US National Academy of Science, Per Olsson and Carl Folke of the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University and Terry Hughes of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Australia have identified the keys to successful marine ecosystem-based management.
Their findings were revealed today at the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where the world’s leading coral reef scientists and managers have gathered.
“The core issue is that the global ‘coral crisis’ is really a crisis of governance,” says Prof. Terry Hughes. “Round the world, people are struggling with the difficulties of managing these sensitive coral ecosystems in the face of all the human and natural pressures they are subject to.”
“Many people have tried to protect marine environments but as soon as some form of governance was put in place and everyone relaxed, it was overtaken by events – either human or natural”, Hughes says.
According to co-writer Per Olsson, the critical realization in the case of the Great Barrier Reef was that its management had to be flexible and adaptive, based on continual scientific monitoring of what is going on.
“This flexibility was important in order to deal with change, and to navigate the transition to an improved system of governance. It enabled new interactions and ways of working together with the authorities. Such flexibility is fundamental for bureaucratic organizations”, Dr. Olsson says.
The paper highlights the role of leadership and consensus-building, and credits the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and its Chair, Virginia Chadwick, with having sought and gained the support of the public, industry and governments at all levels for putting the management of the world’s largest coral reef system onto an ecological footing.
“Our study shows the importance of leadership and strategies for responding to signals of change before ecosystem collapse occurs”, Dr. Olsson says.
A critical step in the process was to convince local communities that the reef was facing many threats, and to enlist public support for managing it more flexibly. This was accomplished through a major “Reef Under Pressure” community consultation campaign.
“Combined with the declines in populations of dugongs, turtles, sharks and other fish, polluted runoff from the land and global warming impacts, it became clear to everyone that the original management system was becoming less and less adequate as the pressures on the reef grew.” Prof. Hughes says.
One of the most visible and controversial initiatives under the new regime was to extend the area closed to all forms of fishing from 6 to 33 per cent of the total reef area – creating the largest no-take zone in the world.
“The Barrier Reef example illustrates a shift in thinking to an integrated view of humans and nature, based on active stewardship of marine ecosystems for human well-being” Dr. Olsson says.
Backing all of this was the necessary legislation and regulatory powers and also having a sufficient flow of good science to inform the management process constantly. The study underscores the particular importance of integrating good science with good policy.
The report concludes that laws alone cannot bring about the changes necessary to protect the world’s ocean ecosystems – good science and public participation, understanding and support are also vital.
“In contrast to the GBR case, marine zoning in some countries has been severely constrained because of poverty, inflexible institutions, lack of public support, difficulties developing acceptable legislation, and failures to achieve desired results even after zoning is established. These are the critical barriers that we must urgently address and overcome” Professor Hughes said.
“Understanding successes and failures in marine governance systems is a first step in improving their adaptive capacity to secure ecosystem services in the face of uncertainty and rapid change,” Prof. Folke says.
Jonas Åblad | alfa
Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF
Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
23.07.2018 | Science Education
23.07.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.07.2018 | Life Sciences