Advancing coral reef governance into the Anthropocene

Morrison, Tiffany H., Adger, Neil, Barnett, Jon, Brown, Katrina, Possingham, Hugh, and Hughes, Terry (2020) Advancing coral reef governance into the Anthropocene. One Earth, 2 (1). pp. 64-74.

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The unprecedented global heatwave of 2014–2017 was a defining event for many ecosystems. Widespread degradation caused by coral bleaching, for example, highlighted the vulnerability of hundreds of millions of people dependent on reefs for their livelihoods, well-being, and food security. Scientists and policy makers are now reassessing long-held assumptions about coping with anthropogenic climate change, particularly the assumption that strong local institutions can maintain ecological and social resilience through ecosystem-based management, adaptation, and restoration. Governance is struggling to address the new normal as ecosystem assemblages transform to novel configurations. A central challenge for policy makers in the Anthropocene is navigating environmental crises and coping with societal insecurity and change. Ecosystem governance needs a new paradigm to embrace rapid change and shape future trajectories. In this Perspective, we focus on coral reefs as vanguards for governance transformation. We explain the spatial, temporal, and political dynamics of reefs as they respond to climate change and outline a new governance paradigm applicable to all ecosystems.

Item ID: 61618
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2590-3322
Keywords: Coral Reef; Governance; Anthropocene
Copyright Information: Copyright 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc.This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2020 02:25
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4407 Policy and administration > 440709 Public policy @ 35%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4408 Political science > 440805 Environmental politics @ 35%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410103 Human impacts of climate change and human adaptation @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 30%
87 CONSTRUCTION > 8701 Construction Planning > 870103 Regional Planning @ 35%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960310 Global Effects of Climate Change and Variability (excl. Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and the South Pacific) @ 35%
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