SUCCESS: Sustainable Coastal Communities and Ecosystems 2005-2009

Applying Science to Management and Good Governance

The wealth of scientific information available to U.S. coastal managers is not accessible in most developing countries. And when scientific capacity does exist, seldom is it applied to planning and decision-making on natural resource issues. The SUCCESS Program seeks to change this by strengthening the links between science, management and the human activities that often depend upon, but also create pressures on, the coastal environment and its resources.

The Coastal Resources Center (CRC) believes it is essential to monitor societal and ecosystem change for a range of spatial scales, assessing the implications of future trends, and specifying the changes necessary to reach the desired outcomes in a specific locale or at a regional or global scale. In the SUCCESS Program this is done by assessing the governance, socio-economic, and ecosystem impacts of program activities at the local scale and across field sites. The Program also encourages strong links between science for management and knowledge management through research that is connected to learning networks in Latin America and East Africa.

Examples of how SUCCESS practices science for management:

Program staff prepared governance baselines for each SUCCESS field site and several others involved in the EcoCostas network. These baselines provide a platform for monitoring change on variables that are critical to understanding the evolution of social and environmental qualities of the sites.

  • The SUCCESS performance management plan includes goal-based monitoring of economic, institutional, and environmental indicators used in assessing progress toward stated Program goals.
  • Biodiversity threats assessments are conducted in order to identify conservation priorities and assess risks to maintaining desired environmental qualities.
  • In Tanzania and Nicaragua, the Program regularly conducts environmental monitoring of intertidal areas to understand the impacts of local management plans—including no-take zones—on the abundance of cockles and bivalves.
  • Lessons are being learned as a result of outcome assessments of SUCCESS livelihood activities in multiple field sites—leading to an improved understanding of how to build more resilient coastal communities.