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Translating Resilience-based Management from Theory to Practice in Hawai‘i

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Title:Translating Resilience-based Management from Theory to Practice in Hawai‘i
Authors:Chung, Anne Elizabeth
Contributors:Hunter, Cynthia L. (advisor)
Marine Biology (department)
Climate Change
Coral bleaching
Coral reef
Marine resource management
show 1 moreResilience-based management
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Date Issued:Dec 2018
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:The effects of climate change are beginning to be observed more frequently worldwide, including bleaching events, or the loss of mutualistic dinoflagellates called zooxanthellae, which can result in extensive mortality. Coral mortality resulting from bleaching events can trigger regime shifts, depending on a reef’s resilience, meaning the ability to both resist and recover from disturbances. Recently, managers have been working under a new paradigm to promote resilience: resilience-based management. However, there is a gap in our understanding of how to translate resilience-based management at a local scale considering site-specific ecological characteristics. In Hawai‘i, extensive mortality due to back-to-back bleaching events has urged managers to seek resilience-building strategies. The goals of this study are to 1) better understand the intervention options available to coral reef managers and develop a way to prioritize resilience-based interventions, 2) focusing on a top-ranked intervention, tailor the intervention to be applied in the Main Hawaiian Islands, and 3) investigate where resilience-based strategies could be implemented to provide the best chance of success.
Through a systematic literature review, twelve potential management interventions to promote coral resilience were scored and ranked, revealing Herbivore Management Areas (HMAs) as the top-ranked intervention in Hawai‘i. Although HMAs are a highly recommended intervention and have been shown to be effective, there is currently a lack of design guidance on how to implement a network of HMAs addressing local traits. I developed a set of design principles specifically for HMAs incorporating Hawai‘i-specific considerations of habitats, critical areas, connectivity, climate, and local threats. Lastly, I applied the design principles to identify areas within West Hawai‘i and Maui Nui where HMAs would be most effective. Using Marxan, I identified multiple resilience hotspots, some of which overlap with the existing network of Marine Managed Areas (MMAs).
These results demonstrate a method to translate resilience-based management concepts from theory to practical and site-specific guidance that is actionable by Hawai‘i’s coral reef managers. Since the global bleaching event 2013-2017, managers in multiple locations have pursued collaborative initiatives to apply resilience-based management and change their strategy to promote recovery. Despite an ever-increasing threat of frequent and severe bleaching events in Hawai‘i and around the world, this study provides actions that could be taken at a local scale to maintain and re-build herbivory in priority reef sites.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2018.
Pages/Duration:109 pages
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: M.S. - Marine Biology

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