Advances in monitoring the human dimension of natural resource systems: an example from the Great Barrier Reef

Marshall, N.A., Bohensky, E., Curnock, M., Goldberg, J., Gooch, M., Nicotra, B., Pert, P., Scherl, L.M., Stone-Jovicich, S., and Tobin, R.C. (2016) Advances in monitoring the human dimension of natural resource systems: an example from the Great Barrier Reef. Environmental Research Letters, 11 (11). pp. 1-17.

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The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the feasibility and potential utility of decision-centric social-economic monitoring using data collected from Great Barrier Reef (Reef) region. The social and economic long term monitoring program (SELTMP) for the Reef is a novel attempt to monitor the social and economic dimensions of social-ecological change in a globally and nationally important region. It represents the current status and condition of the major user groups of the Reef with the potential to simultaneously consider trends, interconnections, conflicts, dependencies and vulnerabilities. Our approach was to combine a well-established conceptual framework with a strong governance structure and partnership arrangement that enabled the co-production of knowledge. The framework is a modification of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and it was used to guide indicator choice. Indicators were categorised as; (i) resource use and dependency, (ii) ecosystem benefits and well-being, and (iii) drivers of change. Data were collected through secondary datasets where existing and new datasets were created where not, using standard survey techniques. Here we present an overview of baseline results of new survey data from commercial-fishers (n =210), marine-based tourism operators (n =119), tourists (n =2877), local residents (n =3181), and other Australians (n =2002). The indicators chosen describe both social and economic components of the Reef system and represent an unprecedented insight into the ways in which people currently use and depend on the Reef, the benefits that they derive, and how they perceive, value and relate to the Reef and each other. However, the success of a program such as the SELTMP can only occur with well-translated cutting-edge data and knowledge that are collaboratively produced, adaptive, and directly feeds into current management processes. We discuss how data from the SELTMP have already been incorporated into Reef management decision-making through substantial inclusion in three key policy documents.

Item ID: 49182
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1748-9326
Keywords: social system, ecosystem services, human and community well-being, resource dependency, natural resource management, drivers of change, social impact assessment
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Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.

Funders: National Environment and Research Program (NERP), CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, James Cook University (JCU), Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF)
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2017 01:51
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
38 ECONOMICS > 3801 Applied economics > 380105 Environment and resource economics @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 50%
91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9199 Other Economic Framework > 919999 Economic Framework not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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