Reflections on #ICRS2016

A whole week of the best minds in coral reef science and conservation comes to a close today. As a quantitative conservation and decision scientist, I focused on the policy, management and decision science parts of the action packed program.

Three themes emerged:
1. We still don’t have a good handle pm whether most interventions are effective and why, and its not good enough. Myriad talks noted ongoing declines that they had trouble explaining. If the conservation science community can’t demonstrate the IMPACT of our actions, are pursue the best ones, we are letting the ecosystems and communities that depend on them down.

“Its not whats there now, its what would have gone extinct of you had done nothing”

Yet, its hard to find resources for the tools and methods to support this – like control sites, so donors – please remember how important they are, and NGOs and funders like the GEF, use your collective influence to demand useful and strategic evaluation. The rest of us need to broker creative partnerships – like Helen Fox has been doing in Indonesia!

2. Unless we address GHG emissions, coral reefs will go the way of the dodo… there is hope, and coral reef management focused directly on recovery is needed to save one of the most amazing ecosystems on the planet.

“Nothing should be off the table”

3. The most likely reefs to persist with the greatest manageable threats are where we need to act – not the most pristine, or biggest, or most threatened under climate change – as these are the places we can make the biggest difference!!

Finally, on top this, whatever your message – make sure you say it well – the right message, the wrong way, doesn’t get through – so work with smart comms peoples!!!

Aloha, and mahalo to all for a brilliant conference!!
Megan

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