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THE CHALLENGES OF ACHIEVING STEWARDSHIP OF OCEANS AND COASTS

HIGHLIGHTS

This chapter:

  • Examines the challenges associated with achieving stewardship of oceans and coasts as the basis of discussions in later chapters on barriers to capacity-building and recommended strategies.

  • Discusses the complex linkages between the natural resources of our oceans and coasts, the services provided by them, and human society’s dependence on the sustainability of their healthy ecosystems.

  • Details the current status of the ecosystems, the challenges facing them in the future, and the critical importance of effective ocean and coastal stewardship and ecosystem-based management to address the challenges.

  • Reviews the capacities needed to address the challenges.

OCEAN AND COASTAL ECOSYSTEMS AND SERVICES

Nearly 40% of the world’s population is concentrated in the 100-km-wide strip of coast along each continent, although it comprises only 5% of the habitable land area on Earth (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005a). Many of the coastal residents in developing and developed countries depend directly on ocean and coastal ecosystems for their livelihood. The extraordinary productivity of many ocean and coastal habitats and the strategic benefits of a coastal location to trade, defense, nonrenewable natural resources (such as oil, natural gas, and minerals), industry, and food production have made the ocean and



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2 the challenges of achIevIng stewardshIP of oceans and coasts HIGHLIGHTS This chapter: • Examines the challenges associated with achieving stewardship of oceans and coasts as the basis of discussions in later chapters on barriers to capacity-building and recommended strategies. • Discusses the complex linkages between the natural resources of our oceans and coasts, the services provided by them, and human society’s dependence on the sustainability of their healthy ecosystems. • Details the current status of the ecosystems, the challenges facing them in the future, and the critical importance of effective ocean and coastal stewardship and ecosystem-based management to address the challenges. • Reviews the capacities needed to address the challenges. OCEAN AND COASTAL ECOSYSTEMS AND SERVICES Nearly 40% of the world’s population is concentrated in the 100-km-wide strip of coast along each continent, although it comprises only 5% of the habitable land area on Earth (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005a). Many of the coastal residents in developing and developed countries depend directly on ocean and coastal ecosystems for their liveli- hood. The extraordinary productivity of many ocean and coastal habitats and the strategic benefits of a coastal location to trade, defense, nonrenewable natural resources (such as oil, natural gas, and minerals), industry, and food production have made the ocean and 16

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17 THE CHALLENGES OF ACHIEVING STEWARDSHIP OF OCEANS AND COASTS its shoreline uniquely important. Inland residents also benefit from ocean and coastal resources and habitats through the provision of many services, such as the production of seafood and recreational opportunities and the buffering influence of the ocean on climate. Seafood is one of the obvious benefits obtained from ocean ecosystems, but many other benefits, collectively called “ecosystem services,” are derived from the ocean. Ecosystem services refers to the natural processes that provide renewable resources, main- tain biodiversity, and sustain and fulfill human life (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005a). Ocean and coastal ecosystems provide many services through the diverse, inter- connected assemblages of habitats that collectively provide such resources as food, water, building materials, and economic, recreational, educational, and inspirational opportuni- ties. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005a) divides ecosystem services into four categories: provisioning, regulating, cultural, and supporting (Figure 2.1); the supporting services assist those in the other three categories. Moreover, ecosystems are connected to and interact with adjacent ecosystems. The intimate connections across the land and the sea—transferring nutrients, energy, and material in both directions—are only now beginning to be quantified. Humans are an integral part of the ecosystems through their use of and impact on the environment and associated resources. Extraction of resources, agriculture, forestry, urbanization, aquacul- ture, port dredging, and waste disposal are some of the human actions that can change the Provisioning Regulating Cultural Seafood Climate regulation Spirituality Habitat Disease and pest regulation Recreation Fuel wood Coastal protection Aesthetics Genetic resources Detoxification Education Sediment trapping Supporting Nutrient cycling Primary production FIGURE 2.1 Categories of ecosystem services and examples in ocean and coastal ecosystems. Source: Modified from Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005b; United Nations Environment Programme, 2006. fig 2-1

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18 INCREASING CAPACITY FOR STEWARDSHIP OF OCEANS AND COASTS physical, chemical, and biologic nature of ocean and coastal ecosystems. The coupling of coastal development with lack of management or poor management of pollutants and living resources has caused the loss of many coral reefs, mangroves, marshes, beaches, and other coastal habitats and undermined the livelihood of millions of people world- wide. Once the coastal habitats are damaged or lost, restoration is difficult and expensive. In addition, the costs brought about by loss of services, such as coastal protection, are incurred for long periods (Moberg and Rönnbäck, 2003). Humans thus both depend on and modify ecosystems in ways that affect future delivery of services (Figure 2.2). Direct drivers ge Indirect drivers an ch n al ate tatio Ecosystem ob Cr im Gl Cl ores os services s-s e proc c es ale Def ad l tr hics Cr al se a o s ob ap ate ion pross-s Gl ogr Cr limationReg ce cal os s-s sse e m C pro ce cale gul De s re sse al od s Fo iber Loc df an To p Biodiversity co dow ntr n Ag ol gr eg ati on Human well-being s ed ne ic rity s as cu ion ,b t lth , se la ea me ial re H co c in , so om ed fre FIGURE 2.2 Relationship between human dependence and impacts on ecosystem services. Biodiversity, the diversity of life on Earth, provides the foundation for the delivery of services. The provision of ecosystem services is affected by indirect drivers, such as population and global trade, that in turn affect direct drivers of change, such as habitat conversion and climate change. Human health, prosperity, and well-being depend directly on ecosystem services that operate on a variety fig 2-2 of spatial and temporal scales. Sources: Modified from Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005b (reprinted with permission from World Resources Institute); Carpenter et al., 2006 (reprinted with image converted permission from the American Association for the Advancement of Science). to grayscale with more contrast Many labels have been re-typed because the slanted type didn't tranalate properly

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19 THE CHALLENGES OF ACHIEVING STEWARDSHIP OF OCEANS AND COASTS CHALLENGES TO OUR OCEAN AND COASTAL ECOSYSTEMS Current State The rates, magnitude, and diversity of changes in ocean and coastal ecosystems have increased substantially—in many cases exponentially—over the last century (Vitousek et al., 1997; Lubchenco, 1998). The combination of higher global population, increased coastal population, and a more technologically dependent lifestyle has increased the pressure on natural resources and caused significant alterations to ocean and coastal ecosystems (Pew Oceans Commission, 2003; U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, 2004; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005a; United Nations Environment Programme, 2006). Widespread alterations include the conversion of habitat (such as mangroves to shrimp ponds or towns and cities, wetlands to agricultural fields, and sandy beaches to concrete seawalls), modification of flows of water and sediments to the sea, changes in biologic diversity (such as loss of genotypes, populations, and species and introduction of nonnative species), climate change (such as sea-level rise, acidification, higher ocean surface temperatures, and changes in storm intensity), and drainage of excess nutrients and pollutants into coastal waters. Those changes often arose from activities that improved the lives of billions of people, but in many instances they also weakened the ability of ecosystems to generate current and future services. With continuing alteration, many valuable ecosystem services could be lost According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 60% of global ecosystem services are degraded, and only 4 of 24 services are increasing (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005b; United Nations Environment Programme, 2006; Figure 2.3). Those on the increase are primarily provisioning services. The unintended consequence of a focus on provisioning services has been the erosion of regulating, cultural, and supporting services. For example, construction of shrimp ponds in a mangrove forest is intended to produce more food, but alteration of the mangrove ecosystems results in loss of the suite of services they provide. At least 30% of mangroves around the world have been lost because of a combination of coastal development and shrimp aquaculture (Valiela et al., 2001). Often, decisions are made to convert habitats, such as mangroves, without consideration or awareness of the trade-offs in ecosystem services and potential impacts on the communities benefiting from these services. Seafood from wild stocks is a major provisioning service that is threatened, in many cases by unsustainable fishing practices, often combined with loss of fish habitats. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2007a), about one-fourth of the world’s marine fisheries are overexploited or depleted. Although aqua-

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20 INCREASING CAPACITY FOR STEWARDSHIP OF OCEANS AND COASTS Enhanced Degraded Mixed Crops Capture fisheries Timber Provisioning Livestock Wild foods Fiber Services Aquaculture Wood fuel Genetic resources Biochemicals Carbon Freshwater Water regulation Regulating sequestration Air-quality Disease regulation Services regulation Regional and local climate regulation Erosion regulation Water purification Pest regulation Pollination Natural-hazard regulation Spirituality and Recreation and Cultural religion ecotourism Services Aesthetics FIGURE 2.3 Ecosystem services balance sheet. Global status of 24 ecosystem services on which there is sufficient information to evaluate whether they are “enhanced” (increasing), “degraded” (decreasing), or “mixed” (increasing in some parts of the world and decreasing in others). Services are categorized as provisioning, regulating, or cultural. Information to classify supporting services is insufficient. Sources: Modified from Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005b; United Nations Environment Programme, 2006. fig 2-3 culture has much promise for helping to provide food for future generations, the challenge is to ensure that it is conducted in a sustainable fashion. Salmon and shrimp aquaculture operations use wild-caught fish as a major component of feed, essentially converting fish of low economic value into more popular varieties. Substantial growth of other farmed carnivorous fishes (for example, cod) or of fish ranching (for example, tuna) is expected and will similarly require wild-caught fish for fishmeal and fish oil until fish feeds with reduced or no use of wild fish are developed to avoid unsustainable exploitation of wild stocks. In addition, aquaculture operations often pollute marine habitats, cause habitat degradation, and raise conflicts with other users of marine areas. The downward trend in provision of ecosystem services is not inevitable, and degrad- ed ecosystems may improve with better management or restoration efforts. Many changes

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21 THE CHALLENGES OF ACHIEVING STEWARDSHIP OF OCEANS AND COASTS in practices, policies, and governance will be needed to prevent further loss of marine ecosystem services. Globalization Globalization is driving change in unprecedented ways and is enabled by advances in communication and by increased mobility of people and commodities. Products that were previously exchanged locally are now bought and sold in global markets. For example, farmers in rural villages in India can now access the Internet to check the current price of a commodity and to negotiate an appropriate price with a buyer. Fish markets have become international, and the industrialized nations consume a disproportionate share, given that most of the fish are caught in the waters of developing nations. Globalization presents new challenges to stewardship of oceans and coasts as chang- es in environmental conditions alter ecosystem processes and change the quantity, qual- ity, and spatial and temporal distribution of ecosystem goods and services. Globalization also increases demand for some ecosystem services, for example, rising demand for fish products because of the globalization of markets and increases in tourism opportunities because air travel has become more available and affordable. Globalization will increase the challenges for resource stewardship and will require an ability to manage despite uncertainty in the status and prospects of marine ecosystems. It will require institutional flexibility to adapt to changing conditions. Resource sustain- ability in one location will depend on the quality of resource stewardship in other areas of the ocean, so capacity is required at both the community level and the regional and global level. Climate Change Climate change adds a dimension to the challenges of sustaining ocean and coastal resources. The consequences of a warming climate include inundation caused by sea- level rise; acceleration of coastal erosion; changes in the intensity, distribution, and fre- quency of tropical storms; shifts in precipitation patterns; changes in the distribution and abundance of valuable marine species, including marine mammals, fish, and coral; and the frequency of coral bleaching and death (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007). In parallel with climate change, the ocean is becoming more acidic because of absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (The Royal Society, 2005). Ocean acid- ification has potential for widespread effects on marine ecosystems by inhibiting calcifica- tion, threatening the survival of coral-reef ecosystems, inhibiting the growth of calcareous algae at the base of the food web, and stunting the growth of calcified skeletons in many

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22 INCREASING CAPACITY FOR STEWARDSHIP OF OCEANS AND COASTS other marine organisms, including commercial fish species (Caldeira and Wickett, 2003; The Royal Society, 2005). The ocean also provides regulating services such as carbon sequestration. However, an increase in ocean temperature due to climate change could change ocean circulation patterns and suppress the upwelling of nutrient-rich waters. The nutrients stimulate phyto- plankton growth (sequestering carbon) and support highly productive marine ecosystems. Marine-plant photosynthesis fixes about 50 gigatons of carbon per year, roughly as much as is fixed by terrestrial plants, and thus accounts for a major fraction of organic carbon in the global carbon cycle. Hence, ocean acidification and higher surface water temperature could have dramatic effects on marine ecosystems and reduce the capacity of the ocean to moderate the climate and atmospheric carbon dioxide. MOVING TOWARD OCEAN AND COASTAL STEWARDSHIP AND ECOSYSTEM-BASED MANAGEMENT Human uses of oceans and coasts (such as fishing and other resource extractions, coastal development, and tourism) are imbedded in ecosystems and interact with natural pro- cesses to influence the complex dynamics of ecosystems. Indeed, humans are part of ocean and coastal ecosystems. The inescapable relationship between human activities and ecosystem dynamics has led to the widespread acknowledgment that management of the activities should be ecosystem-based. Ecosystem-based management is also known as the ecosystem approach. In 2002, the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa (United Nations, 2002), called for the “use of diverse approaches and tools, including the ecosystem approach.” Human well-being in the developing world and the developed world will depend on the ability of ocean and coastal ecosystems to provide a suite of ecosystem services. It will be a considerable challenge to make the transition to more sustainable practices and policies with the goal of providing services for the common good for both current and future generations. Ecosystem-based management, as characterized in Chapter 1, should be applied to meet the challenge. Improvements can be made in the short term by using knowledge better, acting cautiously to reduce the risk of undesirable outcomes, and including diverse societal goals and values in management decision-making. In the lon- ger term, ecosystem-based management will benefit from research to increase ecological knowledge and implement more inclusive and responsive governance structures. Part of the challenge is to develop the human, institutional, and technological capacities for the evolution toward ecosystem-based management. The application of ecosystem-based management is an evolutionary, as opposed to a revolutionary, process that can be implemented as the base of ecosystem knowledge

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23 THE CHALLENGES OF ACHIEVING STEWARDSHIP OF OCEANS AND COASTS increases. One example of the shift toward ecosystem-based management is described in a National Research Council (1999) report, Sustaining Marine Fisheries. The report addresses how fisheries management can move toward ecosystem-based management and concludes that a “significant overall reduction in fishing mortality is the most compre- hensive and immediate ecosystem-based approach to rebuilding and sustaining fisheries and marine ecosystems.” In the evolution from sectoral management to an ecosystem- based approach, available knowledge about ecosystems can be applied to account for effects outside the sector in recognition of and with respect for the values of people who are not participants in the sector. The Role of Science in Ecosystem Stewardship and Governance Knowledge that is relevant to good stewardship comes from many sources, including elders, cultural practices, communities, local resource users, nongovernmental organi- zations, the private sector, governmental agencies, and academia. Ocean and coastal sciences, including relevant social sciences and applied sciences concerning the man- agement and governance of ocean and coastal resources, are evolving. Those disciplines require approaches that engage local stakeholders effectively. Capacity-building involves the exchange of information and expertise between the builders and the local people who seek assistance. A serious challenge in today’s world is the connection of researchers generating knowledge with those who should be aware of or need to use that knowledge and translate it into action. Ideally, connections operate in both directions; users pose questions for researchers to investigate, and researchers share new knowledge with users. When researchers and users are the same people or when they live close to one another or have established communication channels, knowledge transfer can be accomplished more effectively and efficiently. In considering the relationships between knowledge and action, it is important to clarify the role of science in decision-making. The committee concludes that one critical role of science is to inform individuals, institutions, and society during the decision-mak- ing process. Science should not dictate decisions but inform them in the following ways: • Discover how natural, social, and coupled social-natural systems work. • Document changes in these systems. • Anticipate likely outcomes of the changes in view of an understanding of the workings of the systems. • Develop and evaluate options for alternative trajectories.

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24 INCREASING CAPACITY FOR STEWARDSHIP OF OCEANS AND COASTS New knowledge about ocean and coastal ecosystems is not always communicated to decision-makers effectively. Scientific information is often complex and nuanced and can contain uncertainties that are difficult to convey to a nontechnical audience. Moreover, many academic scientists have little understanding of the needs, culture, or language of different users, and this poses additional barriers to communication. If decision-makers are to be informed by science, they need to have access to scientific information that is understandable, relevant, credible, and useful (National Research Council, 2004). Scientific evaluation is based on observations; sustained, long-term observations cre- ate the underpinning of scientific advice on stewardship of oceans and coasts. However, establishing and maintaining a global, integrated, and coordinated system of ocean obser- vations to serve societies worldwide is a major undertaking—even components of the existing observing system are still far from complete. Much of the observing system oper- ates through components of research programs and has no plan for sustained observations. Two-thirds of the world ocean is in the Southern Hemisphere, whereas most of the observ- ing capability lies in the developed countries of the Northern Hemisphere (Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans, 2001). Full implementation of a global observing system and full exploitation of the system for stewardship of the oceans and coasts will require participation from countries worldwide. In many instances, similar types of ecosystems exist in geographically disparate parts of the globe (for example, coral reefs, mangroves, and coastal upwelling ecosystems). Knowledge about changes in an ecosystem type in one part of the world can shed light on likely changes elsewhere and thus improve management. For example, coastal upwelling ecosystems, which collectively represent 1% of the world’s oceans but produce 20% of the world’s fisheries, are found off the west coasts of Africa, Europe, North America, South America, and India. Many coastal upwelling systems appear to be undergoing substan- tial changes that are resulting in zones of low or no oxygen (hypoxic or anoxic zones). Knowledge of what happens in one or more of these systems can inform management of geographically distinct but ecologically similar ecosystems. Developing New Strategies for Ecosystem Stewardship Because humans are a part of the ecological system, human “systems” are intrinsically coupled to ecological systems. The coupled systems are inherently complex and char- acterized by nonlinear dynamics that occur over multiple spatial and temporal scales. Change can be abrupt, with little warning if a threshold is reached. Once a threshold has been crossed, a system may fail to return to its previous state even with the release or reversal of the pressures that caused the change. Coupled human-ecological systems are

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25 THE CHALLENGES OF ACHIEVING STEWARDSHIP OF OCEANS AND COASTS prime examples of complex adaptive systems (Levin and Lubchenco, submitted; Leslie and Kinzig, in review). New fields of scientific study are emerging in response to the increasing impact of human societies on ecosystems, particularly over the last decade (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005c, d; Lotze et al., 2006). Called coupled human and natural systems (Liu et al., 2007, in press), science and technology for sustainability, and sustainability science (Kates et al., 2001), these fields are attempting to understand the linkages between natural and social systems, with a focus on emergent properties, knowledge, indicators, and tools for management and policy. Resilience thinking is one new approach to addressing the decline in the capacity of communities, ecosystems, and landscapes to provide essential services. The intent is to recognize the complexity and variability of ecosystems, including the human component, and to build systems that can adapt to incorporate new knowledge or adjust to chang- ing conditions. Management would shift away from production targets (such as tons of seafood caught or farmed) to management for resilience of the ecosystem (Walker and Salt, 2006). Capacities Required for Effective Stewardship Effective stewardship depends on capacities that are multidisciplinary—incorporating observations of the physical and chemical environment; ecosystem properties, processes, and human impacts; and biodiversity—so building capacity will entail such factors as human resource development through education and training, institutional and infrastruc- ture development, and the creation of favorable policy environments that encompass a variety of public and private stakeholders. Strengthening governance skills in law, regula- tion, compliance, enforcement, monitoring, and evaluation is an important part of this mix and can help to ensure that advances are not short-lived. Developing Required Expertise Stewardship of oceans and coasts involves many sectors of society and depends on the expertise of many disciplines to address the complex challenges discussed earlier in this chapter. Capacity is required in the following disciplines: • Natural sciences, such as mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, oceanography, and ecology. • Social sciences, such as economics, sociology, anthropology, political science, geography, and law and government.

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26 INCREASING CAPACITY FOR STEWARDSHIP OF OCEANS AND COASTS • Engineering—such as civil, industrial, mechanical, electrical, and chemical—and computer science and information technology. • Business management, such as accounting, finance, and marketing. • Professional skills, such as teaching, vessel operation, fishing, hatchery operation, and food processing. • Organization management skills, such as human resource management, strategic leadership, conflict management and resolution, negotiation (alternative dispute resolution), strategic environmental planning, budget management, and project evaluation. Capacity to Translate Knowledge into Action Addressing the many complex facets of resource stewardship will require the capability to work across disciplines. There will be a need for scientists who understand management processes, managers who understand the strengths and limitations of science, and people who understand the role of institutions and legal instruments in governance for steward- ship of oceans and coasts. Furthermore, stewardship requires the capacity to observe the environment, analyze data, and translate observations into information that is readily understood by the general public. New programs or mechanisms to connect fundamental academic marine science and scientists to the public, policy-makers, nongovernmental organizations, the mass media, and the private sector are beginning to emerge. Some programs, such as the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program (Box 2.1), focus on training scientists to be better communicators. Others, such as the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans, integrate outreach with research programs. Still others—such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas, the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and the World Conservation Union with its various commissions, including the World Commission on Protected Areas, the Commission on Ecosystem Management, and the Species Survival Commission—produce consensus statements, syntheses, or assessments of knowledge on particular topics. Ultimately, stewardship of oceans and coasts depends on a literate civil society. Literacy shapes societal values and public opinion and contributes to more informed deci- sion-making. It can engender the political will to resist pressure from special interests in favor of decisions for the public good. It can also lead to public support for management, including compliance with regulations and intolerance for violators; for volunteers that participate in stewardship activities; and for monetary contributions to pay for capacity- building and stewardship activities.

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27 THE CHALLENGES OF ACHIEVING STEWARDSHIP OF OCEANS AND COASTS Box 2.1 The Aldo Leopold Leadership Program The Aldo Leopold Leadership Program (2006) advances environmental decision-mak- ing by providing academic scientists with the skills and connections needed to be effec- tive leaders and communicators. Each year, up to 20 academic environmental scientists in North America are selected to receive intensive and analytic experiential training, expert consultation, and peer networking. During a two-week intensive training program, Leopold Leadership Fellows hone skills in communicating the science associated with complex environmental issues to the mass media, policy-makers, business leaders, and other nonscientists. More than 100 past fellows are actively engaged in scientific outreach in issues ranging from marine conservation science and river restoration ecology to effects of global climate change on human health. The target audience for the program is mid- career academic environmental scientists. Academic scientists are seen as trusted scientific voices, but they typically have no training in or understanding of effective ways to share their knowledge with nonscientists. FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Ocean and coastal ecosystems are inextricably linked with humans and human well- being. Pressures on ocean and coastal ecosystems are likely to increase substantially as the human population continues to grow, as more people move to coastal areas, and as dependence on ocean and coastal resources increases. Improved understanding of the gains and losses in using and modifying ecosystems is urgently needed so that the trade-offs of various management options can be taken into account by decision-makers. In addition, alternative management approaches need to be developed and to coalesce under the concept of ecosystem-based management. Building the capacity for implementing ecosystem-based management will, for example, require cultural literacy, interdisciplinary approaches, monitoring capabilities, communication skills, and channels to adapt concepts to a local or regional context. Future capacity-building in support of ocean and coastal stewardship should recognize the combination of tools, knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will be required to address the many dimensions of complex, ever-changing ecosystems efficiently. Capacity-building will require the shared expertise of both interdisciplinary teams and individuals. The ocean connects the various parts of the globe physically through the currents that move water between the poles and the equator and between the surface and the deep and economically through global shipping routes and international markets for marine goods and services. More integrated approaches to stewardship—such as approaches that cross multiple sectors, focus on long-term benefits, adopt an ecosystem approach, and

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28 INCREASING CAPACITY FOR STEWARDSHIP OF OCEANS AND COASTS take full advantage of new knowledge—will be necessary to advance a global culture of stewardship. Modern information and communication training and technology should be included in the creation of capacity-building programs to share expertise and lessons learned locally, regionally, and globally. New methods will be needed to translate scientific results into useful, relevant, and accessible information for decision-making. Both doers and donors should look for ways to apply new technologies and knowledge and improved communication methods.