People and Reef Organisations Tackling Environmental Change Together (PROTECT)
Project Aims and Outcomes
The PROTECT project aims to monitor how individuals and community organisations engage in Reef stewardship. It will describe and establish a new monitoring activity for the systematic monitoring of community stewardship activities for Reef Health. Our approach recognises the diverse ways that stewardship can be conceptualised and will engage with
stewardship practitioners and other end users to inform the design. The project will Develop a Theory of Change for Reef stewardship to strengthen understanding of the relationship between stewardship and impact, and approaches to strengthen impact.
Specifically, by June 2024, the project will provide:
1. A fit-for-purpose and streamlined method to monitor and promote organisational and individual stewardship, as well as stewardship impacts
2. A database (with extractable data) on related stewardship monitoring data
3. A tool that can be used to visualise stewardship monitoring activities in an accessible and
What is Stewardship?
There is no one definition of stewardship. Stewardship is multi-dimensional, multi-level and contextually based, incorporating a range of potential actions and precursors to action (e.g., motivation, capacity, opportunities). On-ground actions may include participating in restoration of coastal ecosystems or removing marine debris. However, it is not limited to these types of ‘in situ’ actions—stewardship may encompass civic actions, such as getting involved in a reef-management organisation or petitioning to support decarbonisation, or social actions, such as encouraging others to take action. Stewardship may be undertaken by individuals, or by groups in the community supported by organisations. Importantly, it is argued that stewardship is not just engaging in a physical act. Rather, it also incorporates psychological, social and contextual factors including motivation to engage in actions that protect the Great Barrier Reef
as well as the capacity to undertake stewardship actions, and the opportunities available in one’s community.
The project team will be led by Dr Angela Dean from the University of Queensland (UQ) and
supported by a consortium of experts from across the UQ, Australia’s national science agency –
CSIRO, and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). The project team includes
researchers with skills in social science and monitoring, human behaviour and economics, human geography, governance, working with Indigenous leaders, data science, machine learning and data visualisation.
The project will also be guided by a Project Steering Committee and Expert Advisory Group with representatives from across government, Reef organisations and community groups as well as context experts.
The PROTECT project is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.