Friday, August 8, 2008

PS 75-56: Helping coral reef managers build resilience to climate change into marine protected area management with the Reef Resilience Toolkit

Stephanie Wear and Larisa R. G. DeSantis. The Nature Conservancy

Background/Question/Methods Climate change is threatening the survival of coral reef communities globally.  Effectively managed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are an important tool for conserving these diverse marine ecosystems for future generations.  To design MPAs capable of withstanding on-going climate change, it is critical to integrate principles of resilience, including concepts such as representation and replication of ecologically and socioeconomically valuable environments.  Therefore, the primary goal of developing the website and accompanying tools is to assist MPA managers and practitioners with gaining knowledge about resilience concepts and how these concepts can be integrated into MPA design and management.  After evaluating the effectiveness of a previous resilience tool, using the feedback from surveys of tool users, the website was reconstructed to address the needs of past and future users.
Results/Conclusions The Reef Resilience website consists of the following sections: reef resilience toolkits, introduction to resilience, resilience training, case studies, MPA publications and resources, social and economic resources, resilience discussion forum, upcoming events, funding opportunities, partner resources, and links to other Nature Conservancy tools.  The toolkits focus on coral reefs and fish spawning aggregations, providing a solid background in what resilience is, how resilience science can be incorporated, and numerous resources.  Resources pertaining to MPA publication are provided, with accompanying layman abstracts discussing the management implications of the scientific findings.  These resources in addition to those regarding introductions to resilience and resilience training provide an effective means of educating MPA related staff on the importance of incorporating resilience concepts into MPA management activities.  Additional resources focus on social and economic issues, an area that is often overlooked when developing conservation goals.  Case studies provide synopses of how resilience was incorporated at other MPAs, enabling others to gain from first hand examples and lessons learned.  Collectively, the tools available at aid in communicating scientific knowledge to the MPA managers and practitioners that work to conserve coral reef environments.