Thesis: Planning for Change in Island Seascapes: Considering the future of the socio-ecological seascape within marine spatial planning
This research aims to demonstrate an anticipative Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) process through the design of a marine indigenous protected area (MIPA) for a remote island in the Northern Territory using a fully participatory approach. Using interdisciplinary methods, it will utilise both empirical ecological data and traditional ecological knowledge to address critical data gaps and incorporate Indigenous cultural values. Analyses will include the development of a model of socio-ecological island systems, a vulnerability assessment and spatial assessment of socio-ecological resilience, developing a methodology to utilise traditional ecological knowledge as a tool for habitat mapping and scenario analysis to determine the implications of different management strategies. The final outcome will be comprehensive marine spatial management recommendations available for policy and decision makers to inform the design of a MIPA.
Why my research is important
Marine ecosystems are increasingly under pressure from human activities which is generating an urgent need for the implementation of effective management measures. Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is one management approach which attempts to ameliorate some of the stressors facing the marine environment and balance ecosystem needs with human uses. In order for MSP to be successful, it is important to incorporate all stakeholder values within the planning process. Furthermore, in a rapidly changing world, it is essential that the MSP process considers future scenarios. Despite being a large and growing body of research, existing MSP exercises have failed to appropriately include indigenous cultural values and socio-ecological resilience within an anticipative framework which makes planning recommendations in light of potential future socio-ecological change.