Assessment and Promotion of the Great Barrier Reef's Human Dimensions Through Collaboration
Increasingly, natural resource managers see the marine protected areas that they are responsible for as linked social-ecological systems. This requires an equal focus on managing for both natural and human dimensions of the protected estate. Consequently, identification of indicators that represent the human dimensions of Large Scale Marine Protected Areas (LSMPAs) such as the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is critical if these values are to be properly considered as part of standard management practice. Assessment and monitoring of the human dimensions of LSMPAs requires a replicable, collaborative process, rolled out at local scales but comparable across vast, socially and geographically diverse areas. This paper explores the application of a process for the development, assessment, and monitoring of the GBR's human dimensions. The process includes (a) development of a conceptual framework that links indicator sets to the desired state of the GBR's human dimensions; and (b) a collaborative approach including ten practical steps to implement assessment, monitoring, and benchmarking of the human dimensions of an LSMPA. We conclude with examination of challenges and opportunities for implementing this process in the GBR context, specifically with respect to the targets and objectives of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.