Coral reef conservation in the Anthropocene: confronting spatial mismatches and prioritizing functions

Bellwood, David R., Pratchett, Morgan S., Morrison, Tiffany H., Gurney, Georgina G., Hughes, Terry P., Álvarez-Romero, Jorge G., Day, Jon C., Grantham, Ruby, Grech, Alana, Hoey, Andrew S., Jones, Geoffrey P., Pandolfi, John M., Tebbett, Sterling B., Techera, Erika, Weeks, Rebecca, and Cumming, Graeme S. (2019) Coral reef conservation in the Anthropocene: confronting spatial mismatches and prioritizing functions. Biological Conservation, 236. pp. 604-615.

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Abstract

The world's coral reefs are rapidly transforming, with decreasing coral cover and new species configurations. These new Anthropocene reefs pose a challenge for conservation; we can no longer rely on established management plans and actions designed to maintain the status quo when coral reef habitats, and the challenges they faced, were very different. The key questions now are: what do we want to conserve on Anthropocene reefs, why, and how? Trends in reef management over recent decades reveal rapid shifts in perceived threats, goals and solutions. Future reefs will be unlike anything previously seen by humans, and while their ability to support tourism or fisheries may be relatively resilient, our capacity to manage them may be constrained by their new species configurations. Furthermore, there is a growing spatial mismatch between the escalating scale of threats and current or planned responses. We present a blueprint for future reef conservation that recognizes the need to better understand the processes that maintain Anthropocene reefs, and the growing imperative to reform conservation efforts to address both specific local issues and larger-scale threats. The future of coral reef conservation is no longer one solely of localized action and stewardship; it requires practices and institutions operating at far larger scales than today.

Item ID: 58744
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-2917
Keywords: coral reefs conservation; environmental governance; ecosystem function; marine conservation; ocean management; functional crisis; Anthropocene; spatial mismatches; coral reef stressors; coral cover; coral reef bleaching
Copyright Information: © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC Coral CoE (CE140100020)
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2019 04:32
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 20%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 35%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960701 Coastal and Marine Management Policy @ 35%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 30%
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