Developing a social, cultural and economic report card for a regional industrial harbour.
journal contributionposted on 09.08.2018, 00:00 by S Pascoe, R Tobin, Jill Windle, T Cannard, N Marshall, Sm Zobaidul Kabir, Nicole Flint
Report cards are increasingly used to provide ongoing snap-shots of progress towards specific ecosystem health goals, particularly in coastal regions where planners need to balance competing demands for coastal resources from a range of industries. While most previous report cards focus on the biophysical components of the system, there is a growing interest in including the social and economic implications of ecosystem management to provide a greater social-ecological system understanding. Such a report card was requested on the Gladstone Harbour area in central Queensland, Australia. Gladstone Harbour adjoins the southern Great Barrier Reef, and is also a major industrial and shipping port. Balancing social, economic and environmental interests is therefore of great concern to the regional managers. While environmental benchmarking procedures are well established within Australia (and elsewhere), a method for assessing social and economic performance of coastal management is generally lacking. The key aim of this study was to develop and pilot a system for the development of a report card relating to appropriate cultural, social and economic objectives. The approach developed uses a range of multicriteria decision analysis methods to assess and combine different qualitative and quantitative measures, including the use of Bayesian Belief Networks to combine the different measures and provide an overall quantitative score for each of the key management objectives. The approach developed is readily transferable for purposes of similar assessments in other regions.