Abstract. It is increasingly apparent that sustainable management of marine ecosystems requires understanding both the ecological and social values of these complex environments. Local and traditional ecological knowledge plays an important role in aiding decision making, particularly in data-poor contexts or where values conflict. However, this knowledge is rarely translated into decision making outcomes for large industrial projects – although this is changing. This seminar will explore the role of local ecological knowledge in informing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) developments in the southern Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Drawing on case study research from the Gladstone LNG industry, the seminar will discuss community perspectives on the risks, benefits and environmental impacts of industrial development and examine the extent to which EIA processes currently respond to local values, priorities and concerns, before discussing how project decisions may be improved through the integration of local ecological knowledge.
Biography. Claudia is an interdisciplinary marine and social scientist specialising in tropical environments. Her recent work has explored the ecological and social impacts of industrial development in Australia and the Pacific region, with a particular focus on coastal social-ecological systems. Prior to joining JCU in February 2017, Claudia worked for the Australian Government in marine conservation management planning, and as a postdoctoral research fellow with the Global Change Institute, University of Queensland.