Christopher Cvitanovic

Christopher Cvitanovic
Australian National University | ANU · Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science

PhD, Australian National University

About

99
Publications
33,749
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Introduction
Dr Chris Cvitanovic is an environmental social scientist specialising in knowledge exchange, stakeholder engagement and the governance of marine resources. In doing so Chris draws on almost ten years of experience working at the interface of science and policy for the Australian Government Department of Environment, and then as a Knowledge Broker in CSIROs Climate Adaptation Flagship. Previously Chris' research has also focused on understanding the mechanisms underpinning the resilience of coral reef systems, primarily herbivory and water quality.

Publications

Publications (99)
Article
Climate change effects are accelerating, making the need for appropriate actions informed by sound climate knowledge ever more pressing. A strong climate science–policy relationship facilitates the effective integration of climate knowledge into local, national and global policy processes, increases society’s responsiveness to a changing climate, a...
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Failure to stem trends of ecological disruption and associated loss of ecosystem services worldwide is partly due to the inadequate integration of the human dimension into environmental decision-making. Decision-makers need knowledge of the human dimension of resource systems and of the social consequences of decision-making if environmental manage...
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Effective conservation requires knowledge exchange among scientists and decision-makers to enable learning and support evidence-based decision-making. Efforts to improve knowledge exchange have been hindered by a paucity of empirically-grounded guidance to help scientists and practitioners design and implement research programs that actively facili...
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The science-based management of natural resources requires knowledge exchange between scientists and environmental decision-makers, however, this exchange remains a significant challenge. Rather, evidence suggests that decision-makers rely on individual experience or other secondary sources of knowledge in isolation from scientific evidence when fo...
Article
Failure is a normal and critical part of the scientific process; however, the admittance of failure remains largely stigmatized within the sciences. In this paper, we argue that sharing stories of failure should be normalized, not only for the advancement of knowledge and improvement of research outcomes, but also for the health and well-being of t...
Article
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a key policy instrument used for the protection of ocean and coastal environments. However, many MPAs are currently falling short of their intended objectives. Studies show that meaningful public engagement can assist in optimising the outcomes of an MPA by improving stakeholder knowledge, support, and social licen...
Article
Young people are the leaders of the future. Many young people are concerned and overwhelmed about the impacts of climate and ocean change and are emerging as advocates for action. However, challenges including social injustice, climate anxiety, nature disconnectedness, and fake news limit their ability to protect their future from the impacts of cl...
Article
Evidence-informed decision-making is in increasing demand given growing pressures on marine environments. A way to facilitate this is by knowledge exchange among marine scientists and decision-makers. While many barriers are reported in the literature, there are also examples whereby research has successfully informed marine decision-making (i.e.,...
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The importance of understanding the complexities of societal relationships with our global ocean, and how these influence sustainable management and effective, equitable governance, is crucial to addressing ocean challenges. Using established horizon scanning methods, this paper explores current trends in marine social sciences through a survey of...
Article
Climate change, overexploitation, pollution, and other pressures continue to degrade and threaten the marine environment and associated systems. Successfully managing and governing marine socioecological systems in light of these compounding pressures requires approaches that move beyond reactive and business-as-usual responses. Specifically, achie...
Article
The ever-increasing pressure on marine environments is leading to a growing demand for evidence-informed decision-making, which is supported via interactive knowledge exchange among marine researchers and decision-makers. While there is increasing guidance on how to undertake effective knowledge exchange at the interface of science and policy, ther...
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Interdisciplinary research is paramount to addressing ocean sustainability challenges in the 21st century. However, women leaders have been underrepresented in interdisciplinary marine research, and there is little guidance on how to achieve the conditions that will lead to an increased proportion of women scientists in positions of leadership. Her...
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Improved public understanding of the ocean and the importance of sustainable ocean use, or ocean literacy, is essential for achieving global commitments to sustainable development by 2030 and beyond. However, growing human populations (particularly in mega-cities), urbanisation and socio-economic disparity threaten opportunities for people to engag...
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The concentration of human population along coastlines has far-reaching effects on ocean and societal health. The oceans provide benefits to humans such as food, coastal protection and improved mental well-being, but can also impact negatively via natural disasters. At the same time, humans influence ocean health, for example, via coastal developme...
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Co-production, the collaborative weaving of research and practice by diverse societal actors, is argued to play an important role in sustainability transformations. Yet, there is still poor understanding of how to navigate the tensions that emerge in these processes. Through analyzing 32 initiatives worldwide that co-produced knowledge and action t...
Article
Scientists and scientific institutions alike are under increased pressure to demonstrate the tangible ‘impacts’ arising from their research. However, current conceptualisations of impact are largely instrumental and do not recognise the full diversity of forms that impacts can take across the spectrum of activities that comprise the ‘science-policy...
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In this article, we integrate our authorship experiences with insights from nine interviews of knowledge exchange practitioners at the Canadian Forest Service about challenges and opportunities of digital knowledge exchange (KE) brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. We aim to inform how best to maintain effective KE practices and processes in a digi...
Article
Abstract. Crown-of-thorns sea stars (Acanthaster sp.) are among the most studied coral reef organisms, owing to their propensity to undergo major population irruptions, which contribute to significant coral loss and reef degradation throughout the Indo-Pacific. However, there are still important knowledge gaps pertaining to the biology, ecology, an...
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The promise of co-production to address complex sustainability challenges is compelling. Yet, co-production, the collaborative weaving of research and practice, encompasses diverse aims, terminologies and practices, with poor clarity over their implications. To explore this diversity, we systematically mapped differences in how 32 initiatives from...
Article
Conservation programs are traditionally built on an understanding of the ecology and biology of the animal and plant species they aim to protect. They also frequently rely on the engagement of stakeholders to positively influence program outcomes. Trust and clear communication between the managers, decision-makers, and the different stakeholders is...
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The Kimberley marine environment in Western Australia is widely recognised for its outstanding natural features, vast and remote sea and landscapes, and Indigenous cultural significance. To ensure that adequate baseline information is available to understand, monitor and manage this remote and relatively understudied region, scientific exploration...
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As anthropogenic pressures on the environment grow, science-policy interaction is increasingly needed to support evidence-informed decision-making. However, there are many barriers to knowledge exchange (KE) at the science-policy interface, including difficulties evaluating its outcomes. The aims of this study are to synthesize the literature to el...
Article
Trust is a critical precondition underpinning successful knowledge exchange among environmental scientists and decision-makers, and thus, evidence-informed decision-making processes. While the importance of trust is well established, however, specific approaches to building, managing and maintaining trust at the interface of environmental science a...
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The theory-practice gap (TPG) is well known in the environmental realm, referring to disconnects between knowledge generated through scientific research and the needs, expectations, and practices of knowledge users for environmental decision-making and practice. While the presence of the TPG is well established, we have yet to fully implement mecha...
Article
The promise of co-production to address complex sustainability challenges is compelling. Yet, co-production, the collaborative weaving of research and practice, encompasses diverse aims, terminologies and practices, with poor clarity over their implications. To explore this diversity, we systematically mapped differences in how 32 initiatives from...
Article
Full-text available
Research funders can play an important role in supporting the integration of marine science into policy and practice to enable evidence-informed decision-making. However, to date, there is a paucity of guidance available to help research funders understand the specific actions they can take to support knowledge exchange among the researchers that t...
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Many current marine conservation approaches do not adequately consider the diverse social elements and human aspects necessary to achieve conservation outcomes. The results of conservation research are therefore not always useful for conservation managers to apply in practice. To address this gap, this study combines qualitative methods and quantit...
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Successful management and mitigation of marine challenges depends on cooperation and knowledge sharing which often occurs across culturally diverse geographic regions. Global ocean science collaboration is therefore essential for developing global solutions. Building effective global research networks that can enable collaboration also need to ensu...
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In recent decades, scientists and practitioners have increasingly focused on identifying and codifying the best ways to manage activities in marine systems, leading to the development and implementation of concepts such as the social-ecological systems approach, ecosystem-based management, integrated management, marine spatial planning, participato...
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Developing solutions to the complex and uncertain problems facing marine and coastal social-ecological ecosystems requires new forms of knowledge production and integration. While progress has been made both in terms of successfully producing integrated marine research and connecting that knowledge to decision-makers, a number of significant challe...
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Evaluating the impacts of environmental science on policy and practice is inherently challenging. Impacts can take a variety of forms, occur over protracted timeframes and often involve subtle and hard-to-track changes. As a result, diverse impacts are impossible to capture through traditional academic metrics such as publications and citations, an...
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Fisheries are under threat from climate change, with observed impacts greater in faster-warming regions. This research investigated current and future potential for climate adaptation to be integrated into fisheries management strategies using Tasmanian commercial wild-catch fisheries as a case study, and then identified obstacles and recommendatio...
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For Australian fisheries to remain productive and sustainable (environmentally and commercially), there is a need to incorporate climate change considerations into management and planning, and to implement planned climate adaptation options. Here, we determine the extent to which Australian state fisheries management documents consider issues relat...
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To generate innovative solutions for marine sustainability challenges, scientists, policymakers, and funders are increasingly calling for interdisciplinary research that transcends disciplinary boundaries. However, challenges associated with doing interdisciplinary research persist and undermine progress toward tackling the complex challenges faced...
Article
In a rapidly changing world, scientists and research institutions need to plan for the infrastructure, skills, and policy engagement that will help society navigate social-ecological challenges. Foresighting draws on approaches used in strategic and long-range (>10 years) planning and participatory futures studies. Here, we describe a new quantitat...
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Protecting biodiversity in the face of contemporary conservation challenges requires actions across all land and sea tenures. In seeking improved conservation outcomes across these tenures, we undertook a multidisciplinary review of the property law, conservation and environmental ethics literature. Our review revealed three major threats of proper...
Article
There is substantial and unexplored potential for scientists to engage with the private sector for a sustainable ocean. The importance of such cooperation is a frequent emphasis of international dialogues and statements, it is embedded within the Sustainable Development Goals, and has been championed by prominent business leaders and scientists. Bu...
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A key component of successful coastal management efforts is an effective communication and engagement strategy focused on raising awareness of a region to different stakeholders to encourage more pro-environmental behaviors. Accordingly, in recent times there has been a proliferation of research focused on improving engagement and communication wit...
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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were designed to address interactions between the economy, society, and the biosphere. However, indicators used for assessing progress toward the goals do not account for these interactions. To understand the potential implications of this compartmentalized assessment framework, we explore progress evaluatio...
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Developing solutions to contemporary sustainability challenges requires new integrative forms of knowledge production, such as those embodied by interdisciplinary research approaches. The growing interest and investment toward building successful interdisciplinary collaborations has led to an emergent body of literature focused on understanding how...
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Research practice, funding agencies and global science organizations suggest that research aimed at addressing sustainability challenges is most effective when ‘co-produced’ by academics and non-academics. Co-production promises to address the complex nature of contemporary sustainability challenges better than more traditional scientific approache...
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Full-text available
In a rapidly changing world, scientists and research institutions need to plan for the infrastructure, skills, and policy engagement that will help society navigate social-ecological challenges. Foresighting draws on approaches used in strategic and long-range (>10 years) planning and participatory futures studies. Here, we describe a new quantitat...
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Full-text available
Fisheries and marine ecosystems are challenged globally by climate change with subsequent biological and socio-ecological implications. Adaptation represents one pathway by which management agencies can seek to ensure sustainability of these resources for societal well-being, particularly when based on strong scientific evidence. Here, we examined...
Data
Infographic designed by @McCorkStudios for publication: Kelly, R., Mackay, M., Nash, K.L., Cvitanovic, C., Allison, E.H., Armitage, D., Bonn, A., Cooke, S.J., Frusher, S., Fulton, E.A., Halpern, B.S., Lopes, P.F.M., Milner-Gulland, E.J., Peck, M.A., Pecl, G.T., Stephenson, R.L. & Werner, F. (2019) Ten tips for developing interdisciplinary socio-ec...
Article
Despite frequent calls for Integrated Management (IM) of coastal and marine activities, there is no consensus on the ‘recipe’ for successful adoption and implementation, and there has been insufficient evaluation of successes and failures of IM to date. The primary rationale for IM is to overcome four major deficiencies of sector-based management:...
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Interdisciplinary research and collaborations are essential to disentangle complex and wicked global socio-ecological challenges. However, institutional structures and practices to support interdisciplinary research are still developing and a shared understanding on how best to develop effective interdisciplinary researchers (particularly at early...
Article
Participatory research approaches are increasingly advocated as an effective means to produce usable climate adaptation science, and increase the likelihood that it will be beneficially incorporated into decision-making processes. However, while the implementation of participatory research approaches, such as those associated with knowledge co-prod...
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As atmospheric CO2 levels continue to rise so too does the risk of severe impacts. Scientists clearly have an important role to play in preparing for and responding to climate change impacts, however, calls by scientists for global action have not led to the required changes. It is timely, therefore, for scientists to critically consider their own...
Article
Environmental organizations, programs, and research efforts are increasingly interested in spanning the boundaries between science and policy so that decision making processes are informed by the most current and best available scientific knowledge. ‘Boundary spanning’ is a practice that has been developed to help in this regard, by enabling knowle...
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Effectively translating scientific knowledge into policy and practice is essential for helping humanity navigate contemporary environmental challenges. The likelihood of achieving this can be increased through the study of bright spots-instances where science has successfully influenced policy and practice-and the sense of optimism that this can in...
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Successfully managing current threats to marine resources and ecosystems is largely dependent on our ability to understand and manage human behavior. In recent times we have seen increased growth in research to understand the human dimension of marine resource use, and the associated implications for management. However, despite progress to date, m...
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The term “social licence to operate” (SLO), popularized in corporate usage over the last 20 years, is frequently used to refer to the level of social approval that exists in relation to the development of natural resources for private or public purposes. However, the theoretical and practical utility of the concept remains contested and it is often...
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Responding to modern day environmental challenges for societal well-being and prosperity necessitates the integration of science into policy and practice. This has spurred the development of novel institutional structures among research organisations aimed at enhancing the impact of environmental science on policy and practice. However, such initia...
Data
Interview guide that formed the basis of data collection. (DOCX)
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Scientists are increasingly required to demonstrate the real world tangible impacts arising from their research. Despite significant advances in scholarship dedicated to understanding and improving the relationships between science, policy and practice, much of the existing literature remains high level, theoretical, and not immediately accessible...
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The most critical question for climate research is no longer about the problem, but about how to facilitate the transformative changes necessary to avoid catastrophic climate-induced change. Addressing this question, however, will require massive upscaling of research that can rapidly enhance learning about transformations. Ten essentials for guidi...
Preprint
The success of participatory marine governance arrangements is influenced by the levels of trust that exist between decision-makers and diverse stakeholder groups within the community. While the benefits of high levels of trust among these groups is well established, specific approaches to building trust remain largely unknown. The aim of this study i...
Article
The success of participatory marine governance arrangements is influenced by the levels of trust that exist between decision-makers and diverse stakeholder groups within the community. While the benefits of high levels of trust among these groups is well established, specific approaches to building trust remain largely unknown. The aim of this stud...
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Full-text available
Cultivating a more dynamic relationship between science and policy is essential for responding to complex social challenges such as sustainability. One approach to doing so is to “span the boundaries” between science and decision making and create a more comprehensive and inclusive knowledge exchange process. The exact definition and role of bounda...
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The next 10 years are considered a critical decade for fisheries. Declining fish stocks in combination with mounting climate pressure are likely to lead to significant and adverse socio-ecological impacts, threatening sustainability. Responding to these challenges requires modes of governance that are capable of dealing with the complexity and unce...