Integrating socio-economic impacts in marine resource management

Integrating socio-economic impacts in marine resource management


The global human footprint continues to increase, with greater pressures occurring in areas with high biodiversity. As a result, anthropogenic impacts have caused unprecedented decline in biodiversity and habitat extent worldwide, with an especially negative impact on coastal and marine habitats. These pressures include land use change, climate change, and urban development. Impacts are not only ecological, but also socioeconomic, as disturbed ecosystems are less able to deliver ecosystem services for human populations. To address these threats and hence maintain proper ecosystem function, interventions are necessary. Interventions fall into two categories: preventative and restorative. Preventative interventions are actions taken before degradation has occurred. Restorative interventions, on the other hand, are measures taken to improve ecological function of an already degraded habitat.

Project Description

Three main challenges must be overcome to successfully implement any intervention: (i) deciding which methods to use (preventative, restorative, or a mixture of both), (ii) predicting the socioeconomic impacts of the chosen intervention, and (iii) finding a funding source that will support the intervention. This interdisciplinary research, in collaboration with DEFRA, aims to address these challenges by: (1) identifying, through modelling, the most effective way of achieving environmental net gain from coastal and marine preventative and restorative interventions, (2) conducting an analysis, e.g. social network analysis, to identify the stakeholders impacted by the interventions, and (3) using an offsetting framework and the goal of environmental net gain to secure funding sources for the interventions.

This research will develop novel insights into the ecological success of marine and coastal conservation interventions, which are vastly underrepresented in the scientific literature relative to terrestrial interventions. In addition, this research will consider the socioeconomic impacts of intervention methods—again, an area where greater understanding is needed. The guidance that will emerge from this research will help scientists, policy-makers, NGO’s, and industry partners in ensuring environmental net gain through ecologically successful and socially conscious marine and coastal conservation interventions.

Please contact Roberto Salguero Gomez if you are interested in this project.

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