Abstract: Conservation planning lies at the intersection between people and ecosystems. Concerned with the process of designing and implementing management actions, the ultimate goal of planning is to ensure the persistence of biodiversity, both for its intrinsic value and to benefit communities who derive food security, livelihoods and cultural values from it. Many of the challenges associated with conservation planning for coral reef ecosystems in tropical developing countries can be framed as scale mismatches. Failure to detect and resolve scale mismatches during planning undermines the likelihood that plans will be implemented, or that resultant management actions will be successful in ensuring biodiversity persistence. Using case studies from the Coral Triangle and Pacific Islands, I will first demonstrate the implications of scale mismatches during conservation prioritisation. I will then evaluate efforts to resolve social-ecological scale mismatches through the formation of governance networks. I will argue that resolving scale mismatches requires planning with broader perspectives, in addition to managing across greater spatial extents. These perspectives must include an understanding of, and ability to plan for, social and ecological connectivity processes. I will end with a quick preview of my future research plans.
Biography: Rebecca is a research fellow with the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University. Her research interests broadly focus on resolving challenges related to conservation planning for marine and coastal ecosystems in the Coral Triangle and Pacific Islands. Rebecca received her doctorate from James Cook University in 2011, for research on locally managed marine protected areas in the Philippines. Prior to her current appointment, she was a postdoctoral fellow with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Fiji, where she provided scientific support to communities working to improve the effectiveness of their network of protected areas. Rebecca continues to collaborate with the Wildlife Conservation Society, The Nature Conservancy, and other environmental NGOs in The Asia-Pacific region. She sits on the Oceania section board of the Society for Conservation Biology.