An analysis of trade-offs between multiple ecosystem services and stakeholders linked to land use and water quality management in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Butler, James R.A., Wong, Grace Y., Metcalfe, Daniel J., Honzák, Miroslav, Pert, Petina L., Rao, Nalini, van Grieken, Martijn E., Lawson, Tina, Bruce, Caroline, Kroon, Frederieke J., and Brodie, Jon E. (2013) An analysis of trade-offs between multiple ecosystem services and stakeholders linked to land use and water quality management in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 180. pp. 176-191.

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Abstract

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia, is threatened by declining water quality largely derived from agricultural run-off. Water quality planning aims to mitigate pollutant run-off through land management, including riparian and wetland restoration, but no tools exist to assess trade-offs in land use change across the catchment-to-reef continuum. We adapted the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment framework in the GBR's Tully–Murray catchment to identify trade-offs between linked ecosystem services and stakeholders. Applying four land use scenarios we assessed outcomes for the ecosystem service of water quality regulation, and trade-offs with six floodplain services and four GBR services. Based on statistical correlations between ecosystem services' status under the scenarios, we identified trade-offs and thresholds between services and associated stakeholders. The most direct trade-off in floodplain services (and primary stakeholders) was food and fibre production (farmers) versus water quality regulation (community, GBR tourists, tour operators and fishermen). There were synergies between water quality regulation (community, GBR tourists, tour operators and fishermen) and floodplain recreational and commercial fisheries (fishermen). Scale mis-matches between water quality management structures and ecosystem service flows were also evident. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of this ecosystem services approach, and its potential application in the GBR and other catchment-to-reef social–ecological systems.

Item ID: 20873
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: biodiversity, coral reef, ecosystem services, governance, resilience, scale mis-matches, riparian vegetation, social–ecological systems, thresholds, wetlands
ISSN: 1873-2305
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2012 03:38
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050203 Environmental Education and Extension @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960905 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Water Management @ 50%
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