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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.


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


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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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The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area Strategic Assessment: Adaptive Management in practice


Thursday, 7th February 2013; 12:00 to 13:00 hrs.

Building 19 (Kevin Stark Research Building) Room #106 (upstairs), JCU, Townsville; with live video-link to the University of Queensland (GCI Boardroom)
Dr Laurence McCook, Director of Climate Change and Science at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Abstract: Adaptive management aims to improve management based on regular monitoring and review of management effectiveness. Although the Great Barrier Reef is considered one of the best managed marine protected areas in the world, there is increasing concern that the Reef is declining. Last year, the World Heritage Committee expressed particular concern about the extent of coastal development adjacent to the Reef. In response to these concerns, the Australian Government, including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), and the Queensland Government, is undertaking a comprehensive strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and the adjacent coastal zone.

The comprehensive strategic assessment will help identify, plan for and manage existing and emerging risks to ensure ongoing protection and management of the unique environmental values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and adjacent coastal zone. This will be achieved by:

·       Reviewing the status and trends of the Area’s environmental values, and the impacts on them;

·       Investigating the adequacy of the existing management arrangement for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area; and

·       Assessing current and future development policies and planning in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and the adjacent coastal zone and analysing likely direct, indirect and cumulative impacts.

There are two parts to the comprehensive strategic assessment:

·       GBRMPA is leading the marine component which is looking at the arrangements in place to manage and protect the Great Barrier Reef Region.

·       Queensland Government is leading the coastal component which is looking at coastal development such as planning for urban, industrial and port development and the processes and management arrangements in place to ensure development occurs sustainably and does not impact unacceptably on the Reef’s unique values.

This talk will give an overview and update on the Strategic Assessment process.

Biography: Laurence McCook is acting Director of Climate Change and Science at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. He has managed adaptive management, the Outlook Report and the strategic coordination of the scientific information needed to protect the Great Barrier Reef for nearly 10 years.  Laurence’s scientific experience includes the ecological processes underlying coral reef resilience and degradation and the effects of marine reserve networks. He has strong interests in the application of science to environmental management, including the interface between environmental and economic values. In 2005, Laurence was awarded a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation, which was focused on the resilience of coral reefs under climate change, and included a series of workshops on coral reef management for reef managers and communities across Indonesia.


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