Symposia

  • CONFERENCE SYMPOSIA

    The listed symposia below have been accepted to the SCBO Fiji 2014 conference. Abstracts are presently being accepted for speaking slots in the symposia with “Open” status. Please see the Abstracts page for information on how to format your abstract for submission.

    VULNERABLE ECOSYSTEMS, COMMUNITIES AND SPECIES

    VE-01: Using Biogeography to Set the Scale of Conservation in Melanesia

    Understanding how populations, species, communities and ecosystems are linked together is essential in formulating effective conservation plans. However, in areas like Melanesia where marine systems have a lack of obvious barriers and terrestrial creatures have a lack of obvious connections, discovering the scales over which conservation management actions should be applied remains a challenge. In this symposium we will bring together researchers using a variety of tools and focusing on a variety of ecosystems to find out what biogeographic patterns are shared between marine and terrestrial systems as well as among different taxonomic groups. Our goal will be to present an overview of the major biogeographic patterns in the region and open a discussion about how to translate this scientific knowledge into conservation action.

    Status: Open

    VE-02: Exploring the resilience of Pacific Island species, habitats, ecosystems and communities

    Pacific Island countries have experienced unprecedented and accelerated changes over the last century. Multiple and cumulative stressors are increasing the vulnerability of ecosystems and the communities and societies that depend on their goods and services. Island ecosystems are particularly vulnerable from natural disturbances as well as anthropogenic stresses/threats, including climate change. For example, shifts in the timing or pattern of rainfall and temperature will impact agricultural crops, coral and fish populations, disease vectors, pests, parasites, coastal vegetation, pollinators, etc. The likelihood of species, habitats, ecosystems and communities being able to respond to disturbances will depend on their ability to repel or resist disturbances, as well as their ability to recover from these disturbances. These two factors – resistance (to stress) and recovery (from stress) will determine how ‘resilient’ ecosystems and communities will be to environmental change. This symposium will explore the resilience of species, habitats, ecosystems and Pacific Island communities to environmental change.

    Status: Open

    VE-03: Species Conservation

    Pacific species face heightened levels of threats due to the isolation of many Pacific Islands and rapid changes from development and invasions. This geographic isolation is also a major barrier to the spread of knowledge and facilitation of support networks for species conservation. As such, there has been a lack of consolidated approaches on species issues within the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) and species conservation is often low on the agenda. This symposium will be an opportunity for scientists, researchers, policy-makers, and conservation practitioners to come together and share scientific knowledge relating to species research and conservation in the Pacific.

    Status: Open

    VE-05: Pacific Reptiles: Declines, Extinctions and New Species

    This symposium will review the new findings regarding threats, speciation and conservation of Pacific reptiles, with particular focus on frog, turtle and iguana species of Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

    Status: Closed

    VE-06: Systematic Conservation Planning for Marine Mega-fauna

    Marine mega-fauna, which includes seabirds, marine turtles, marine mammals and elasmobranchs (sharks and rays), are key components of marine ecosystems and are socially and economically valued around the world. Many populations of marine mega-fauna, however, have declined in recent decades, largely due to human activities and are expected to be further impacted by climate change. Managers, therefore, face the challenge of addressing the multitude of ongoing and future threats that marine mega-fauna face throughout their geographic/distributional range. However, for logistical, financial and political reasons, natural resource agencies cannot address all of these threats simultaneously: priorities must be established. Systematic conservation planning can be useful to identify conservation priorities, in particular the best locations to act and the best set of strategies to use to maximise the conservation of marine mega-fauna, especially when budgets are constrained. This symposium will showcase decision support tools (e.g. spatial risk assessments, cost benefit analysis, simulation models) and frameworks (e.g. vulnerability assessments) that can be used to systematically prioritize the management of marine mega-fauna to enhance their management. The symposium will also explore the existing gaps that enable/prevent the implementation of conservation planning in small island countries, with a focus in the South Pacific, where data availability and capacity/acquisition/collection is a limitation. More importantly the symposium will emphasise the value of local traditional ecological knowledge and the relevance of collaborative work between western scientists and local indigenous/native communities to optimize conservation planning in such areas.

    Status: Closed

    ADAPTIVE & COMMUNITY-BASED MANAGEMENT OF SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS

    CBM-01: Advancing the Integration of Connectivity Processes into Marine Conservation Planning

    Ecological connectivity processes, including larval dispersal, fish movement between habitats and to spawning aggregation sites, have important consequences for how coral reef populations persist, how they respond to and recover from disturbance, and how they should be managed. In the past decade, many papers and policy documents have put forth guidelines that have emphasised the need to incorporate connectivity in marine protected area network design. However in the context of planning, connectivity is poorly defined, and guidelines have focused on providing broad “rules of thumb”, as opposed to specific, quantitative recommendations. New empirical data, acquired through novel techniques such as genetic parentage and seascape analysis, have advanced our understanding of complex ecological connectivity processes, and the spatial scales across which they need to be managed. We are now in a position to advance conservation planning theory and develop new tools for conservation practitioners that move beyond ensuring representation of static biodiversity features (e.g., species and habitats), to also consider dynamic connectivity processes. The research to be presented in this symposium is grounded in real management initiatives in PNG, Australia, Mexico and Solomon Islands, and has implications both for future research priorities, and immediate application by practitioners.

    Status: Open

    CBM-04: Socioeconomic Considerations in Conservation Planning: Past, Present, Future

    In the past decade, scientists and conservation practitioners have recognized the importance of accounting for social and economic factors early in the conservation planning process to help bridge the planning-implementation gap and to achieve positive social outcomes. Furthermore, in many islands in Oceania, livelihoods are strongly connected to direct use of natural resources and acknowledging this link is critical to ensure compliance and minimize impacts on livelihoods. The main way of considering socioeconomic factors in conservation planning has been through the inclusion of opportunity costs (or their surrogates) in the protected area selection process. However, limitations of cost data and the ways they have been included to date have yet to be adequately addressed. For example, costs to fisheries are often included as a fixed data layer, failing to recognize the dynamic nature of fishing effort due to seasonality, changes in market demand, and increasing access to better transport. Furthermore, potential costs to stakeholders are only part of the equation and other socioeconomic aspects, such as governance, cultural values, and opportunities for conservation management should be incorporated as well.
    The symposium will bring together current approaches in incorporating social and economic factors into conservation planning. Case studies, mainly from Oceania, will address the advantages and limitations of current approaches and highlight advances in best-practice methods as well as stimulate discussion on what data is useful, what challenges are there in collecting, analysing or using the data.

    Status: Closed

    CBM-05: Integrated Land-Sea Planning

    Both land- and sea-based human activities are threatening marine ecosystems, thus conservation strategies should address both. Many marine ecosystems are threatened by local-scale human activities across the globe, with examples from developed nations like Australia where human activities have caused a 20-50% decline in coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef over the past two decades, to developing nations like India where over 40% of mangroves have been converted to agriculture or urban development. These issues are particularly acute when people’s livelihoods depend upon the natural resources under threat, such as fisheries, which sustain some of the world’s poorest people. Management and conservation of marine resources and human impact on marine systems is almost always focused on reducing overfishing without regard to the influence of terrestrial activities. Two possible reasons for this biased focus are: 1) asymmetry of information, where more data are available on the impacts of overfishing than on land-based activities; and 2) lack of integrated land-sea models and planning approaches to support management decisions. The proposed symposium will feature several integrated land-sea studies that address these gaps, covering both the science behind the concept of integrative land-sea conservation planning, and also perspectives from people who work with these approaches in Oceania.

    Status: Open

    CONSERVATION IN A CHANGING OCEANIA

    CCO-01: Fisheries Bycatch in Oceania: Assessment & Solutions

    The issue of fisheries bycatch is particularly important to the large region of Oceania, which encompasses over 20 countries and territories and over 300 square km of the largest ocean in the world. Fisheries are expansive throughout the region and vary greatly with regard to gear type, species targeted, economics of fishery sector, as well as level of exploitation, from substantial subsistence to commercial fishing. Many questions remain in regards to understanding the level of fisheries bycatch or the unintended ecological consequences of fishing effort. In order to address these concerns and identify means to minimize these consequences, fisheries managers should be made aware of the areas and species of greatest concern. This symposium will provide an opportunity to share information on levels of catch of juvenile tunas in purse seine fisheries and rates of capture of sea turtles, marine mammals and sea birds in longline and gillnet fisheries. This symposium will also highlight successful efforts to reduce bycatch in a variety of fisheries.

    Status: Open

    CCO-02: Managing for Impacts of Deep-Sea Mining

    Mining companies are now looking beyond the land and are competing for rights to the seafloor. Increases in the demand and price for industrial metals, combined with advances in technological capabilities have now made deep-sea mining more feasible and potentially economically viable. In the southwest Pacific, existing marine protected areas and vulnerable unprotected areas are under growing pressure from resource developers. However, as yet, there is negligible overarching regional analysis, planning or coordination of these potentially conflicting issues. Nonetheless, there is growing interest within regional governments, local communities, other marine industries and civil society to constructively manage this growing dynamic. Drawing on the experience from the wider region, including Australia, this session will give an overview of mineral deposits in the region, explore the use of environmental impact assessments and describe new approaches to help deliver MPAs for food security and biodiversity conservation, and manage the risks from extractive industry activities. This is being attempted using new conservation planning and mapping approaches being deployed in this region now to show where the tension between seabed mining and natural features is most acute, and to provide options to reduce conflict or even avoid it.

    Status: Open

    CCO-03: Spatial Management of Coastal Seascapes for Ecological Functioning, Ecosystem Services and Food Security

    Coastal ecosystems in Oceania are under stress from multiple local, regional and global threats, including: fishing, loss of coastal habitat, catchment runoff and global climate change. These threats result from the pressures that burgeoning human populations place on the natural environment, but also actively undermine fisheries productivity and, therefore, impact directly on regional food security and human health. Consequently, it is important to develop sound programs for conservation, rehabilitation and ecosystem-based management across the region. It is also necessary to identify important species, ecological processes and landscape elements as targets for management. Many conservation and restoration projects, however, fail to achieve their objectives, and key spatial processes (like connectivity) and ecosystems (like mangroves, seagrasses and beaches) are often poorly represented in conservation actions. This symposium is focused on improving the spatial management of coastal seascapes to deliver better outcomes for ecosystems and people. It will incorporate presentations that are based on real conservation and restoration initiatives in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Indonesia and Australia, as well as regional and global reviews of conservation actions.

    Status: Closed

    CCO-04: Prioritising Conservation Actions on Tropical Islands

    Tropical ecosystems of Oceania islands face many pressures, including climate change, invasive species, industrial development, and tourism. In the face of these threats, environmental managers need a framework with specific objectives to guide their conservation investments. Managers of islands face difficult decisions when it comes to investing in conservation management. With insufficient staff and funds to deal with all management problems, where should they invest limited resources to achieve the best outcomes? These conservation decisions must be made in the face of spatially heterogeneous and dynamic threats, including invasive plants and animals and inappropriate fire regimes, and within a constrained budget. A suite of actions can be applied to address conservation objectives, but they cost different amounts, and contribute differently to goals. Furthermore, most decisions must be made under considerable uncertainty. This problem – complex, dynamic and multifaceted – describes the reality of much conservation decision-making, and defines the problem faced by managers of islands in Oceania. This symposium will bring together diverse researchers attempting to overcome similar challenges from a wide geographical area and allow for valuable knowledge exchange between academic and applied scientists.

    Status: Closed

    CCO-05: Integrating Science with Participatory Conservation

    Participatory conservation projects contribute significantly to the preservation of natural and historical landscapes. Pairing participatory projects with science-based methodology and practices offers measurability to project outcomes. This symposium will explore successful participatory conservation projects where science was incorporated and discuss ways to improve community conservation schemes. We will specifically draw from the experience of local SCB Oceania chapters.

    Status: Open