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Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum

Paradise lost: how marine science failed the world's coral reefs

Posted By: Michael J. Risk - responding to Andrew Jones, Rodney Salm and Paul Siegel
Date: Friday, 8 September 2000, at 1:21 p.m.

In response to: "Conservation needs tourism development / Chumbe Island-Tanzania" (http://www.csiwisepractices.org/?read=247) by Andrew Jones, Rodney Salm and Paul Siegel

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Moderator's note: Following the recent debates on the Forum about coral reef preservation and sustainable/unsustainable tourism, an interesting paper dealing with ways to link science to management, has come to our attention. The paper is published in volume 50 of Marine and Freshwater Research, and the publisher, CSIRO Publishing, has kindly agreed to permit us to reproduce the abstract below and has provided a hotlink to the full paper http://www.publish.csiro.au/journals/mfr/selected/v50n8/MF99067copy.pdf.

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Paradise lost: how marine science failed the world's coral reefs

Michael J. Risk

Department of Geology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4M1, Canada

Abstract. The response of the coral reef scientific community to the present global crisis in coral reefs is here compared with response times and response patterns of scientists in two previous international environmental crises: eutrophication of the Great Lakes and acid rain in the Northern Hemisphere. In both these previous crises, less than a decade passed from first appreciation of the problem to development of identification/evaluation/mitigation frameworks that were useful in a policy context. Key elements were avoidance of arguments over methods, genuinely multidisciplinary teams, and the presence of respected, technically trained managers. By contrast, twenty years after identification of the major stresses on reefs and description of the major monitoring strategies, there is no process response model in place, in any country, equivalent to those produced in response to eutrophication of the Great Lakes or acid rain. Reasons for this failure include, but are not limited to: dominance by one field of science, biology; lack of competent scientific managers; and emphasis on monitoring programmes, with no clear idea how the results will be used.

Click here for Full text: http://www.publish.csiro.au/journals/mfr/selected/v50n8/MF99067copy.pdf

Mar. Freshwater Res., 1999, 50, 831 7 -
10.1071/MF99067abs 1323-1650/99/080831

CSIRO 1999


Marine and Freshwater Research: http://www.publish.csiro.au/journals/mfr

Published by CSIRO PUBLISHING for CSIRO and the Australian Academy of Science

Enquiries: The Managing Editor, Marine and Freshwater Research, CSIRO PUBLISHING, PO Box 1139 (150 Oxford Street), Collingwood, Vic. 3066, Australia. Telephone +61 3 9662 7618; fax +61 3 9662 7611; email ann.grant@publish.csiro.au


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