RRAP: An ambitious and inclusive research program to help the Great Barrier Reef

    The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living structure and an ecosystem of significant aesthetic, cultural, economic and ecological value. However, warming oceans are causing more frequent and serious bleaching events, and it is becoming evident that emissions reduction will not be enough to guarantee its survival.  The Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP) is a multi-institutional consortium of partners working together on designing and implementing various small, medium and large scale interventions to sustain critical functions and values for the Great Barrier Reef.

    A fundamental principle of RRAP is to work collaboratively with Great Barrier Reef Traditional Owners, and engage different stakeholders, community groups and interests in the co-design, deployment and evaluation of proposed interventions or technologies. The Cairns Institute at James Cook University is playing a critical role in the Stakeholder and Traditional Engagement sub-program which will implement multiple research methods to ensure that decisions about interventions are socially and culturally responsible and legitimate to stakeholders, rights-holders, managers and the public.

    Distinguished Professor Stewart Lockie and the team at The Cairns Institute will lead the Social Licence and Impact Monitoring component of the sub-program, which will involve ongoing regional ‘deep-dive’ discussions with Reef stakeholders, surveys of public attitudes towards reef restoration, and a social, cultural and economic impact assessment to identify how the risks, opportunities and benefits of reef restoration are distributed across Reef communities and stakeholders.  

    Featured photograph by Gaby Stein (Pixabay)

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