Trade-offs in the marine realm

In this the ‘decade of marine conservation’, we have a number of important decisions to make. At the heart of many of these decisions is a common dilemma, how do we make the most of limited resources when the need is enormous?

Where do we place our marine reserves so that they protect the most biodiversity while minimising the impact on local people? Which projects do we choose to ensure the natural values of our special marine places? How much do we need to invest in acquiring more information to make a sound decision? Where do you start your planning if your knowledge base on your marine biodiversity is minimal? What is the best way to co-ordinate planning across multiple jurisdictions?

CEED is actively researching solutions to all of these issues and this special issue of Decision Point brings you a selection of our work focused on marine conservation and planning. Each story provides strong evidence of the value of our work to marine biodiversity conservation but taken together they present a powerful framework for how good environmental decision making should happen at multiple scales.

Carissa Klein provides a global perspective on where the gaps are in our network of marine protected areas. Maria Beger demonstrates the value of co-operation between the countries that make up the Coral Triangle Initiative. And Carissa Klein, Katrina Davis and Viv Tulloch explain how Malayasia, Chile and PNG can make more of their decisions in conserving biodiversity in individual countries.

And then there are a range of stories on general themes of environmental decision making: value-of-information analysis in conservation planning for turtles; cost-effectiveness prioritisation for sea grasses and catchment management projects; and the use of dynamic vs static models in planning marine reserves. And there are heaps of other stories as well, from connectivity and COTS to oil spills and brittle stars.

Many thanks to Maria Beger at the University of Queensland for proposing this special issue and then doing the groundwork of approaching authors and bringing together the many elements that have gone into making it.

David Salt, Editor,

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