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The University of Southampton
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Heather Brown

PhD in Governance of sustainability in coastal zones of small islands

Heather Brown's Photo

Hi, I'm Heather Brown and I am a Leverhulme Trust Doctoral scholar studying within the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute at the University of Southampton.

This research tackles the societal challenge of achieving governance systems in small islands that can anticipate and cope with both immediate shocks and slow onset changes to the coastal landscape, and ultimately contributing to improved coastal sustainability.

The research focuses on small islands where often the entire island is considered as being within the coastal zone. Several case study sites on the Pacific volcanic high island of Samoa will be used.

Governance is a vital element in determining the sustainability of communities at all scales. Governing for sustainability is challenging, especially in coastal areas, where continuous change from natural and human recurrent and chronic stresses and shocks make coastlines highly dynamic social- ecological systems.

Investigating governance of social-ecological systems requires understanding of the biophysical nature of the resources and the societal rules by which they are governed making this project highly interdisciplinary. The projects supervisory team includes Dr Kate Schreckenberg within the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment offering expertise in natural resource governance and participatory research methods to understand equitable management of ecosystem services. Dr Emma Tompkins within the Faculty of Geography and the Environment and Dr Jack Corbett within the Faculty of Social Sciences: Politics and International Relations offer expertise of small islands studies. Dr Emma Tompkins offers expertise in risk and hazard assessments, and adaption and resilience to climate change and Dr Jack Corbett offers expertise in the politics of small islands and capacity for institutional analysis.


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