The Future of Resilience-based Management in Coral Reef Ecosystems

Elizabeth Mcleod, Kenneth R.N. Anthony, Peter J. Mumby, et al.
Created: 1/04/2021 -


Resilience underpins the sustainability of both ecological and social systems. Extensive loss of reef corals following recent mass bleaching events have challenged the notion that support of system resilience is a viable reef management strategy. While resilience-based management (RBM) cannot prevent the damaging effects of major disturbances, such as mass bleaching events, it can support natural processes that promote resistance and recovery. Here, we review the potential of RBM to help sustain coral reefs in the 21st century. We explore the scope for supporting resilience through existing management approaches and emerging technologies and discuss their opportunities and limitations in a changing climate. We argue that for RBM to be effective in a changing world, reef management strategies need to involve both existing and new interventions that together reduce stress, support the fitness of populations and species, and help people and economies to adapt to a highly altered ecosystem.

Published On


Adaptation Phase
Multilateral / Transboundary
Sector Addressed
Conservation / Restoration
Development (socioeconomic)
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Incorporate climate change into critical habitat rules / species recovery plans
Enhance migration corridors and other connectivity measures
Reduce local climate or related change
Reduce non-climate stressors
Capacity Building
Conduct / Gather additional research, data, and products
Create/enhance resources and tools
Governance and Policy
Develop / implement adaptive management strategies
Maintain adequate financial resources for adaptation
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Culture / communities
Diseases or parasites
Habitat extent
Ocean acidification
Species of concern
Water temperature
Habitat/Biome Type