CORAL REEF MONITORING PROGRAMS: WORKING TOWARDS A SYNTHESIS OF SCIENCE, MANAGEMENT AND POLICY.
Brian Tissot, Program in Environmental Science and Regional Planning, Washington State University, 14204 NE Salmon Creek Ave., Vancouver, WA 98686 USA Email email@example.com
Monitoring programs provide information on coral reef communities which can be used to effectively manage human impacts. However, many monitoring programs suffer from weak links to effective management strategies and from gaps between state and federal policy. Problems with sustaining strong connections between science, management and policy include institutional barriers, traditional disciplinary boundaries, lack of funding and scientific perceptions of monitoring activities. The most important long-term driver of monitoring programs is likely to be changes in technology. Increases in the resolution of remote sensing combined with increasing scale of underwater survey work will provide large-scale data for ecosystem management. However, efficient management at the ecosystem level will require better integration of state and federal policy and cooperation and collaboration among a wide variety of stakeholders. Moreover, community-based councils are likely to play an increasing role in resource management and require better integration of community education with monitoring programs. In the US the Coral Reef Protection Act offers an unparalleled opportunity to mesh state and federal policy and establish a national coral reef monitoring program. However, in order to develop an efficient, effective and sustainable monitoring program we need to conduct a comprehensive review and synthesis of existing long-term programs, identify gaps in information, and develop a greater integration of ecological concepts into experimental design.
Presented at the 9th International Coral Reef Symposium Bali, Indonesia, October 23-27, 2000.