Project: Human Dimensions of Ecosystem-based Ocean Planning

Putting people in ecosystem-based ocean management.

While considerable effort has gone into establishing ecological principles for ocean and coastal planning processes, approaches for characterizing the human dimensions of ocean systems remain fragmented, sectoral and limited in scope. Human dimensions can be described as the ways in which individuals and societies interact with, affect, and are affected by natural ecosystems and environmental change through time. The importance of human dimensions and social data in marine planning and management is increasingly recognized, yet incorporation of human dimensions data is hindered by the lack of a comprehensive framework to assess and characterize social interactions with coastal seas.

To fill this gap in scholarship and practice, we advance a step-by-step approach practitioners can use to better incorporate social data into ocean planning initiatives. We also aim to communicate our findings to ocean practitioners and research scientists.

Marine debris is one consequence of humans interacting with their ocean environment.  Photo Credit: Marine Photobank.