Researchers from Bond University’s School of Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management have received federal government funding to investigate how coastal communities can adapt to the potential impacts of climate change.
According to principal researcher and Associate Professor of Tourism Management, Dr Mike Raybould, the study is particularly timely in the wake of Cyclone Yasi and other extreme weather events experienced along the Australian coast in recent months.
“Coastal areas are already subject to natural patterns of erosion and storm-related damage,” said Dr Raybould.
“With rises in sea level and increased coastal development, the effects of these events will be greater.”
“Through our research project, we will be creating a suite of tools and templates that will allow coastal Councils, associations, recreational groups, relevant industry sectors and even individual businesses to develop procedures for recovering from and adapting to the devastation caused by more frequent events like Cyclone Yasi.”
Other practical outcomes from the project include a classification system to identify and put a value on beach and surf ‘assets’, in terms of the economic, social and environmental benefits they bring to a region.
“The tools and templates developed through the study will be relevant and available to all coastal communities around Australia and could be equally applied internationally,” said Dr Raybould.
“As such, this is a landmark project that has the potential to position Australia as a leader in coastal climate change adaptation.”
The project has received $400,000 funding under the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Plan: Marine Biodiversity and Resources which is administered by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. Additional monetary and in-kind support has also been provided by the Griffith University Centre for Coastal Management and the Sydney Coastal Councils Group.
The funding further strengthens Bond University’s research portfolio which has grown significantly following on from a record $4.2 million in research grants secured over the past 12 months.
”This is an exceptional result for a comparatively small university and is testament to the high quality experience and international standing of our research academics,” said Bond University Vice Chancellor, Professor Robert Stable.