At a glance
Resilience of the coastal environment includes its resistance to change and its ability to recover once disturbed. Resistance to change is linked to the maintenance of high biodiversity, which is expected to provide greater redundancy in ecological functions. Resistance can also be increased by improving the tolerance of important keystone or habitat-forming species to pressures. Furthermore, resistance to additional pressures can be improved by minimising the impacts of other pressures.
Recovery from change can be facilitated through active restoration or by limiting human use to allow natural recovery. Defining appropriate baselines and quantifying the success of recovery are key challenges for restoration ecology. Protection from some degree of human use is the most common method of ecosystem recovery in coastal Australia, and the extent of protected coastal environments in Australia has increased during 2010–14. There have also been several recent efforts in active restoration, where human intervention aims to restore an ecosystem to a predefined state.
Resilience is defined as the capacity for a system to experience shocks while retaining essentially the same function, structure and feedbacks, and therefore identity. This report considers 2 components of coastal resilience: the extent to which the coast can resist change in the face of pressures, and how well it can recover from change once disturbed.