Solely focusing on biophysical research and monitoring can lead to ineffective management of coral reefs and coastal resources. Many key drivers of coral reef ecosystem decline are linked to human behavior and activities, including urban and coastal development, tourism, overfishing, coastal pollution, and global climate change.
What We Are Doing
The Coral Reef Conservation Program’s Social Science Program improves coral reef management by recognizing people and society as part of the coral reef ecosystem and incorporating related data into coral reef management strategies. The program provides critical information on how society values coral reefs. This deeper understanding of the human connections to coral reefs helps managers assess the social and economic consequences of coral reef management policies, interventions, and activities.
Goals of the Social Science Program:
Improve and enhance capacity to answer key questions about coral reef management
Increase collaboration in socioeconomic research across NOAA to improve jurisdictional capacity for local management and decision-making
Streamline sharing of social science information to support national and jurisdictional needs
Strengthen existing community-based management efforts and increase community participation in place-based managed activities in the jurisdictions
Develop and apply social science tools—including the economic valuation of ecosystem services—to enhance the Coral Reef Conservation Program's management and conservation activities
Understand the socioeconomic implications of climate change in coral reef jurisdictions
Continue the Coral Reef Conservation Program's global leadership in facilitating socioeconomic monitoring by supporting the Global Socioeconomic Monitoring Initiative for Coastal Management (SocMon—and in the Pacific Region, SEM-Pasifika)
The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program was established in 2000 by the Coral Reef Conservation Act. Headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, the program is part of NOAA's Office for Coastal Management.