The broad goal of this project is to work collaboratively with Commonwealth and Queensland Government agencies to develop an explicit decision making framework for investing cost-effectively in management actions across the islands of the Great Barrier Reef. More specifically, the goal is to maximise a conservation outcome, defined by specific objectives for diverse natural features (e.g.

Understanding temporal and spatial patterns of vulnerability under environmental impacts and change is central to the management of marine parks. Quantitative assessments of vulnerability, however, are one of the greatest challenges for management planning of coral reef ecosystems, including the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). One reason is the lack of a functional operational framework that can link environmental factors to vulnerability via physical, biological and ecological processes and their interactions.

Spatial zoning for multiple-use is the cornerstone of management for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). Multiple-use zoning was first implemented widely in the GBRMP in the late 1980s and this original zoning plan was in place until 2004, when the marine park was completely rezoned under the Representative Areas Program (RAP).

Invasive species management in the Wet Tropics is currently driven by a species-led prioritisation approach, as are weed and pest animal management activities globally. However, land managers in the region are increasingly recognising the necessity for regional-scale population prioritisation tools that incorporate the complexity of ecological processes of invasive species spread and establishment and take account of the values and assets in the landscape.

Rainforests are generally thought of as being highly susceptible to damage by fire, and for many Southeast Asian and Amazonian rainforests this is indeed the case. However, Australian rainforests have persisted for millennia in an environment where fire is common, and repeated contractions into refugia and subsequent expansions during glacial cycles (Hilbert et al. 2007) means that extant rainforest taxa have survived frequent exposure to fire.

Large predatory fish are essential to a balanced marine ecosystem and also form the basis of important commercial and recreational fisheries. Sustainable fisheries and sustainable ecosystems require that management is able to achieve a balance between these divergent needs. The large size of many of these predators means that they often are highly mobile. This mobility complicates the management of these species, especially in regions such as the Great Barrier Reef, where there is a complex mosaic of open and closed areas.

An understanding of the status of water quality in Torres Strait and its influence on marine foods, human health, marine ecosystems and ecological processes in the Strait is important.

To guide monitoring, management and mitigation decisions, researchers from CSIRO, JCU and AIMS propose to conduct a Phase 1 study to develop a robust approach that will allow them in Phase 2 to carry out an ecological risk assessment (ERA) of nutrients, fine suspended sediments, and pesticides used in agriculture in the Great Barrier Reef region, including ranking the relative risk of individual contaminants originating from priority catchments to the GBR ecosystems using a systematic, objective and transparent approach.

Phase 1 of the project aims to:

This project will develop a Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) framework using a stakeholder driven approach to qualitatively integrate our understanding of the key drivers of change in the GBR inshore ecosystem and human uses, with an emphasis on biodiversity and inshore multi-species fisheries management.

Program 12 will have four projects designed to assist environmental managers, industry and Indigenous and community groups to manage the Wet Tropics bioregion. This is a complex and often highly contested landscape with many competing interests.


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