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Understanding of the links between coral reef ecosystems, the goods and services they provide to people, and the wellbeing of human societies.


Ecosystem dynamics: past, present and future

Examining the multi-scale dynamics of reefs, from population dynamics to macroevolution


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Advancing the fundamental understanding of the key processes underpinning reef resilience.

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Coral Reef Studies

From 2005 to 2022, the main node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies was headquartered at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland (Australia)

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Planning from the land to the sea: an integrated operational framework


Wednesday, 9th September 2009 12.00pm - 1.00pm

ARC Centre of Excellence Conference Room, JCU (DB44)
Jorge Alvarez-Romero, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, JCU

Jorge was born and grew up in Mexico City. He completed his BSc in Biology at the National University of Mexico (UNAM) with a research on invasive alien species in Mexico and did a Master degree in Management, Conservation and International Trade of Species at the International University of Andalusia, Spain. Previous experiences include conservation, management, and sustainable use of wildlife in Mexico, as well as coordinating Mexico´s Scientific Authority under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) within the National Biodiversity Commission (CONABIO). Jorge is currently a PhD candidate within the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, under the supervision of Professor Bob Pressey, who runs Program 6 of the Centre “Conservation Planning for a Sustainable Future”. His project relates to systematic conservation planning for the Gulf of California and involves a review and further development of planning exercises already undertaken in the region with an integrated land-sea perspective. Novel approaches include explicit incorporation of cross-system threats and competing values in the prioritization of conservation areas in both the terrestrial and the marine environments.


The land and the sea are closely connected, yet conservation planning that integrates the realms is rare. Urbanization, logging, agriculture, industry, and infrastructure have direct impacts on terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, but are also threatening the marine realm through altered fluxes of sediments, water, nutrients, and pollutants. Natural fluxes drive and sustain ecological processes occurring between realms and link remote ecosystems through constrained and diffuse connections. Simultaneously, modifications in one realm may compromise the persistence of these processes and through these linkages have negative impacts on biodiversity in another realm. When linkages between realms are considered, selection of conservation areas and assignment of priorities in all realms can change, hence conservation planning should incorporate both land-sea processes and cross-system threats. Effective implementation of conservation plans calls for integrated management and collective decision-making, involving stakeholders with diverse needs and interests. Few conservation planning exercises consider and explicitly incorporate land-sea connections; instead, independent plans for conservation and management of the terrestrial and marine realms are produced. We reviewed the latest scientific literature on conservation and integrated coastal planning to identify common methods and key elements of integrated land-sea planning. Based on these findings, we propose an operational framework to guide effective approaches to integrated land-sea conservation planning. The framework includes a first array of key elements, arranged in stages, to be taken into account by planners when integrating conservation objectives for coastal and marine ecosystems and accounting for cross-system threats and land-sea processes. We propose that an integrated land-sea approach should be considered when planning for coastal and marine conservation.


Australian Research Council Pandora

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