Research priorities for the sustainability of coral-rich western Pacific seascapes

Cumming, Graeme S., Adamska, Maja, Barnes, Michele L., Barnett, Jon, Bellwood, David R., Cinner, Joshua E., Cohen, Philippa J., Donelson, Jennifer M., Fabricius, Katharina, Grafton, R. Quentin, Grech, Alana, Gurney, Georgina G., Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove, Hoey, Andrew S., Hoogenboom, Mia O., Lau, Jacqueline, Lovelock, Catherine E., Lowe, Ryan, Miller, David J., Morrison, Tiffany H., Mumby, Peter J., Nakata, Martin, Pandolfi, John M., Peterson, Garry D., Pratchett, Morgan S., Ravasi, Timothy, Riginos, Cynthia, Rummer, Jodie L., Schaffelke, Britta, Wernberg, Thomas, and Wilson, Shaun K. (2023) Research priorities for the sustainability of coral-rich western Pacific seascapes. Regional Environmental Change, 23 (2). 66.

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Nearly a billion people depend on tropical seascapes. The need to ensure sustainable use of these vital areas is recognised, as one of 17 policy commitments made by world leaders, in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 (‘Life below Water’) of the United Nations. SDG 14 seeks to secure marine sustainability by 2030. In a time of increasing social-ecological unpredictability and risk, scientists and policymakers working towards SDG 14 in the Asia–Pacific region need to know: (1) How are seascapes changing? (2) What can global society do about these changes? and (3) How can science and society together achieve sustainable seascape futures? Through a horizon scan, we identified nine emerging research priorities that clarify potential research contributions to marine sustainability in locations with high coral reef abundance. They include research on seascape geological and biological evolution and adaptation; elucidating drivers and mechanisms of change; understanding how seascape functions and services are produced, and how people depend on them; costs, benefits, and trade-offs to people in changing seascapes; improving seascape technologies and practices; learning to govern and manage seascapes for all; sustainable use, justice, and human well-being; bridging communities and epistemologies for innovative, equitable, and scale-crossing solutions; and informing resilient seascape futures through modelling and synthesis. Researchers can contribute to the sustainability of tropical seascapes by co-developing transdisciplinary understandings of people and ecosystems, emphasising the importance of equity and justice, and improving knowledge of key cross-scale and cross-level processes, feedbacks, and thresholds.

Item ID: 78928
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1436-378X
Keywords: Coral reef, Development, Marine, Ocean, Resilience, SDG, Social-ecological
Copyright Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2023 00:03
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410206 Landscape ecology @ 30%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410203 Ecosystem function @ 40%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4406 Human geography > 440699 Human geography not elsewhere classified @ 30%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180599 Marine systems and management not elsewhere classified @ 35%
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1901 Adaptation to climate change > 190102 Ecosystem adaptation to climate change @ 35%
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1901 Adaptation to climate change > 190103 Social impacts of climate change and variability @ 30%
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