This article reviews the potential of resilience-based management (RBM) to support coral reef resilience into the future and highlights opportunities and challenges faced by RBM management strategies. The authors describe RBM as “Using knowledge of current and future drivers influencing ecosystem function (e.g., coral disease outbreaks; changes in land-use, trade, or fishing practices) to prioritize, implement, and adapt management actions that sustain ecosystems and human well-being.” Key differences between RBM, conventional reef management, and ecosystem-based management (EBM) are outlined in the article. While RBM is similar to EBM, RBM emphasizes the role that humans play in driving change, adaptation, and especially transformation, which is now recognized as an essential property of a resilient system. To assess the scope for RBM to help sustain coral reefs, the authors describe the objectives of RBM as: 1) managing ecosystem services to support human wellbeing; 2) managing for large-scale change, uncertainty, and surprise; 3) shaping change to sustain social-ecological properties and apply adaptive management; 4) maintaining variability, diversity, and redundancy; and 5) integrating humans with ecosystems to drive changes, adaptation, and transformation in socio-ecological systems. This paper then reviews the evidence for RBM’s implementation, highlighting key challenges, identifying research needs, and providing recommendations for reef managers. Specifically, the following management recommendations for RBM are highlighted: 1) protect a diversity of species, habitats, and functional groups; 2) maintain pathways of connectivity; 3) reduce reef stressors; 4) implement MPAs to support reef resilience; 5) manage adaptively to accommodate uncertainty and change; 6) prioritize areas with low environmental risk and high social adaptive capacity; 7) incorporate social and ecological indicators to assess early warnings, recovery patterns, and regime shifts in conservation planning and monitoring; 8) invest in experimental approaches to support resilience; 9) implement strategies to build social and ecological adaptive capacity; and 10) implement strategies to facilitate adaptation and transformation. The authors assert that reef management strategies need to involve both existing and new interventions that together promote social-ecological resilience for RBM to be effective in a changing climate.

Authors: E. Mcleod, K. R. N. Anthony, P J. Mumby, J. Maynard, R. Beeden, N. A. J. Graham, S. F. Heron, O. Hoegh-Guldberg, S. Jupiterk, P. MacGowan, S. Mangubhai, N. Marshall, P. A. Marshall, T. R. McClanahan, K. Mcleod, M. Nyström, D. Obura, B. Parker, H. P. Possingham, R. V. Salm, J. Tamelander

Year: 2019

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Journal of Environmental Management 233: