Effective management is the most important principle in the Reef Resilience model. Effective management refers to the daily activities required of managers, as well as larger community-based efforts to address such problems as local pollution, and poorly planned coastal development, and destructive fishing practices. All of these activities continue to be a priority, in the context of resilience-based management. In the face of global climate change, it is critical for managers to work with stakeholders to reduce and eliminate major threats to coral reef communities that occur locally.
Effective Management Fundamentals
Communication: Communication is often both the reason for success and the reason for failure of management strategies. Focusing on the two-way communication of information between stakeholders and managers is critical to achieving management goals and objectives. Making sure the community is fully aware of the rationale for management activities, as well as the intended outcome, will help gain support for current and future actions. For more information on communication, refer to Communicating Resilience in this toolkit.
Measuring Up: In order to manage effectively, a manager must stay informed about changes and progress in the managed area. Understanding the impact certain threats are having, or the response a particular management action is having, helps managers make necessary adjustments, as well as justify management activities based on these trends. There are a variety of resources to help managers evaluate management of their sites, depending on the kind of information and resources available. Further discussion of Evaluating Management Effectiveness can be found in this toolkit.
Adaptive Management: Once managers have collected information about progress and trends, decisions must be made about current and future strategies. Adjustments in management (e.g., regulations, zoning, or in protected area boundaries) are facilitated by having institutional flexibility incorporated into the management framework. Ensuring that both the community and legislative bodies are prepared for changes in the resource management approach will enable the process of change to occur more efficiently. Further discussion of Adaptive Management can be found in this toolkit.
Precautionary Approach: Employing a precautionary approach whenever information is lacking is a reasonable way to proceed. The precautionary principle is defined as follows: When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken, even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically (Wingspread Statement’s Definition, 1998). The precautionary principle suggests that caution be taken in decision-making, but that it does not lead to paralysis until perfect information is available. Designing MPA networks using local knowledge and customary management practices (when possible) can be important elements of a precautionary design, and can be accessed in situations when limited “formal” data have been acquired.
See the Ecosystem-based Management Toolkit for more information.