Experts Discuss Coastal Conservation and Development

Prof. Kaufman, Dr. Sandin, Dr. Banks and Prof. Najam engage in lively conversation
Prof. Kaufman, Dr. Sandin, Dr. Banks and Prof. Najam engage in lively conversation

On Wednesday, December 9, 2009, The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future held a seminar onCoastal Conservation and Development’. Part of the ‘Pardee House Seminars’ series, the event featured Prof. Les Kaufman, Dr. Stuart Sandin and Dr. Stuart Banks, and was moderated by Prof. Adil Najam, Director of the Pardee Center. This seminar was organized in collaboration with the Center for Ecology and Conservation Biology and Boston University Marine Program and part of a week-long Marine Management Area Science Scientific Workshop held at the Pardee Center from 7 to 11 December. The workshop is co-organized by the Boston University Marine Program and Conservation International.

Les Kaufman is Professor of Biology at Boston University and Senior Investigator for Marine Management Area Science at Conservation International. He reviewed the idea and need for adaptive management, and the need for Marine Management Area Science that produces data required for sustainable coastal economies. He questioned the cost of accountability and if it is more realistic for developing coastal economies to stay within conservative limits for development or to develop more freely but become dependent on expensive scientific monitoring to know when the limits are being approached.

Stuart Sandin is Assistant Researcher of Marine Ecology at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He addressed importance of knowing what a pristine system would look like compared to a degraded one and how fragile that system may be. He also addressed the tolerance level of marine ecosystems.

Stuart Banks is an oceanographer with the Charles Darwin Research Station at the Galapagos. He provided the audience with insights on the recent discovery in the Galapagos that artisinal fishing can amplify the effects of climate fluctuations and how reduced fishing pressure and marine reserves can be used to combat this effect. He also discussed how local management efforts can be an important tool in developing resilience to climate change but political and economical feasibility must be considered.

Following the presentations the audience engaged in a lively discussion with the panelists. Some of the issues discussed included the methods to link science with practice, the different modalities of human development and the vulnerability of coastal mega-cities. The discussion ended with the panelists calling for more political will and local accountability in coastal conservation and development.