Management Strategies

Coral reefs are facing unprecedented threats from a combination of local and global stressors. At the same time, coral reefs are increasingly recognized as a vital foundation for economic development, community wellbeing and social resilience.

Effective management of coral reefs has become an important focus for coastal communities, and a range of strategies are available to help protect reef biodiversity and facilitate sustainable use.

This section introduces some key strategies for coral reef managers to address local stressors and build resilience of coral reefs in the face of global change. These strategies are important complements to marine protected area (MPA) management and are best implemented as part of an integrated management approach.

Waste management problems on Funafuti atoll, Tuvalu, require local management action to reduce this threat. Photo © David Fisk/Marine Photobank

Individual incidents, such as ship groundings or bleaching events, can be inherently unpredictable, yet it is highly likely that managers will have to contend with them.

Last updated August 25, 2015

Managing Local Stressors

Managing local stressors is an important strategy to help maintain the condition of coral reef ecosystems and facilitate the recovery of damaged reefs. Learn more.

Marine Protected Areas

MPAs have been identified as a critical management tool to support reef resilience by addressing local stressors Learn more.

Marine Conservation Agreements

Over the past several years, non-governmental organizations have realized that the creation of formal protected areas may not be sufficient to protect ocean and coastal biodiversity, particularly in areas where rights have already been granted to specific owners and users. Learn more.

Fisheries Management

Fisheries management is an essential component of coral reef management in many locations. Learn more.

Reducing Land Based Impacts

Reducing land-based impacts is an important strategy aimed at ensuring activities in the watershed are managed to reduce downstream impacts on coral reefs. Learn more.

Managing for Disturbance

Managing for disturbance helps coral reef managers to prepare for unpredictable events, such as vessel groundings, disease outbreaks and coral bleaching events. Learn more.

Ecological Restoration

Ecological restoration can be a viable strategy for assisting or accelerating recovery of damaged reefs. Learn more.

Managing for Social Resilience

Understanding social resilience can be important to the effectiveness and equity of coral reef management. Learn more.

Managing for Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification is a particularly serious result of increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and an important consideration for coral reef managers. Learn more.

Integrated Approaches

Integrated approaches to management can help managers deal with the complex interdependencies in coral reef systems. Learn more.

Measuring Effectiveness and Adaptive Management

The challenge of decision-making with incomplete knowledge has given rise to the concept of adaptive management. Learn more.

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