Coral Reef Resilience Research and Management: Past, Present and Future!

Cover for Framework for the National System of Marine Protected Areas of the United States of America document

Each year, subject to the availability of funds, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Conservation Program (NOAA CRCP) awards grants for applied research that informs conservation and management of coral reefs within the U.S. and abroad. During recent years, project funds have been awarded to scientists and managers working to increase our understanding of reef resilience and of the application of resilience thinking in management decision-making. Operationally, from a coral reef management perspective, resilience is the capacity of a reef to resist and/or recover in the future given its probable exposure regime and to maintain provision of ecosystem goods and services. The first half of this definition speaks to ecological and engineering resilience and the second to the strong links between ecological and social resilience, especially in areas where communities are dependent on reefs for food security and livelihoods. It is this combination of factors that is of interest to the Coral Program. For the purposes of this report we also use the term ‘resilience-based management’ to mean the application of resilience theory, thinking and tools to deliver ecosystem-based management outcomes into the future. Used in this way resilience-based management serves as an approach that managers can take to evaluate whether existing or new actions are likely to maintain ecosystems and the goods and services that they provide as the climate changes.

Held in Honolulu, Hawaii on November 4-6, 2014, this workshop represents the first gathering of resilience grantees and coral reef managers funded by NOAA CRCP. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) provided additional support for this workshop. The specific workshop goals were:

  1. To bring together NOAA scientists, external partners and managers who are currently engaged in assessing and managing reefs for resilience in a changing climate to create the opportunity for face-to-face dialogue and review recent advances.
  2. Identify priority research, products, and collaborative projects, and make plans to advance this body of work over coming years in direct partnership with coral reef managers.

A secondary goal was to: ensure that work across CRCP and partner programs is complementary and that efforts are contributing to and being informed by efforts in other parts of the world.

Citation: Maynard, J., Parker, B., Beeden, R., Tamelander, J., McGowan, P., Gramer, L., Heron, S., Kendall, M., McKagan, S. C., McLeod, E., Oleson, K., Pittman, S. May 2015. Coral Reef Resilience Research and Management: Past, Present and Future! Workshop Report. Silver Spring, MD: NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. NOAA Technical Memorandum CRCP 20. 47 p. doi:10.7289/V5VQ30M9

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