Contrasts in social and ecological assessments of coral reef health in Melanesia

Albert, S., Love, M. and Brewer, T. (2013) Contrasts in social and ecological assessments of coral reef health in Melanesia. Pacific Science, 67 3: 409-424. doi:10.2984/67.3.8

Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your UQ eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads

Author Albert, S.
Love, M.
Brewer, T.
Title Contrasts in social and ecological assessments of coral reef health in Melanesia
Journal name Pacific Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0030-8870
Publication date 2013-02-23
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.2984/67.3.8
Volume 67
Issue 3
Start page 409
End page 424
Total pages 32
Place of publication Honolulu, HI, United States
Publisher University of Hawaii Press
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Abstract Numerous studies have explored the ‘shifting baseline syndrome’ (SBS) which suggests that individual perceptions of environmental health are formed by comparing the environment to a ‘baseline’ from the past. Understanding social perceptions of environmental conditions, especially where they differ from ecological assessments, can help guide environmental management efforts. This study compares ecological assessments of coral reef health with perceptions of reef health from surveyed residents in five villages in the Solomon Islands and Fiji. Comparative analysis suggests that respondents from the Solomon Islands perceived their reefs as being degraded, yet based on ecological measurements actually had healthier reefs, while in Fiji fewer people perceived their reefs to be declining in health yet ecological measurement showed them to be more degraded than Solomon Islands reefs. We found no evidence of baselines “shifting” relative to respondent age in this instance and suggest that these differential baselines and the inverse relationship between local perceptions and ecological measurements may be a result of: (1) differences in the rate of environmental change experienced at local scales; and (2) may also be related to differences in respondent perceptions of ‘quality of life’ at each site. If the success of conservation approaches such as marine protected areas (MPAs) are dependent on local social consensus that natural resources are diminished or degraded, then tracking broader social indicators like ‘quality of life’, ‘rates of change’ (real and perceived) alongside ecological assessments of environmental health may prove beneficial to conservation practitioners.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Civil Engineering Publications
Official 2014 Collection
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 3 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 09:25:25 EST by Mr Simon Albert on behalf of School of Civil Engineering