Ecosystem based modelling for strategic sustainable regional development of marine uses and industries in coastal NSW
The coming decades will see NSW experience extensive changes to its marine and coastal environment. Large-scale changes in population are expected, regional development in industries will continue and impacts from climate change are forecast to occur. Simultaneously and, in some respects in conflict with these changes, community demands for healthy and robust ecosystems will continue to grow.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries is currently engaged in a joint strategic research project with CSIRO Marine Research that will provide the tools and ideas to assist planners, decision-makers and the community to understand how we can sustainably develop our regional coastal and marine ecosystems to be ecologically healthy and economically productive. This requires an integration of our understanding of the climate, ocean and estuaries, complex biology and ecology of natural and man-made systems, economic and social development, and systems of human governance.
CSIRO Marine Research has developed complex computer modelling that predicts the consequences of a range of natural resource management decisions for a given bio-economic system. The modelling identifies strategies that generate good biological, economic and social outcomes and compares the necessary trade-offs among different strategies to enable resource managers and the community to make informed decisions.
The initial phase of the project will focus on the Clarence River system and other coastal systems will be added. The five year project will provide practical tools to support the ecosystem-based development of coastal NSW. Complex and inter-relating biophysical, economic and social systems demand new research to understand and improve long-term regional and aquatic planning.