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Coupling marine ecosystem state with environmental management and conservation: A risk-based approach

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Fabrice StephensonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2024 The Author(s)The sustainability of marine ecosystems demands a focus on ecological improvement, necessitating managers and conservationists to consider a range of actions from those that limit stressors to those that actively restore. Deciding the most appropriate action should be informed by environmental context, which includes assessing information on both degradation and recovery potential. Here, we provide an analysis of how the degree of ecological degradation coupled with the stressor regime can inform environmental management and conservation actions (e.g., stressor reductions, adaptive management, assisted recovery/restoration). With this analysis we design a risk framework combining principles that define ecosystem resilience and recovery times with those that characterize stressor regimes (i.e., the number, type, and impact). The combination of these principles defines where an ecosystem is placed along sliding scales of degradation and recovery and likely response to protective and restorative interventions. It is designed to facilitate place-based conversations regarding the risks of different management actions informed by the temporal dynamics of ecosystem degradation and recovery.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gladstone-Gallagher RV, Hewitt JE, Low JML, Pilditch CA, Stephenson F, Thrush SF, Ellis JI

Publication type: Note

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biological Conservation

Year: 2024

Volume: 292

Print publication date: 01/04/2024

Online publication date: 08/03/2024

Acceptance date: 18/02/2024

ISSN (print): 0006-3207

ISSN (electronic): 1873-2917

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2024.110516