To design effective MPAs, planners need information on the habitats and species they want to protect. Data on the home range of a particular fish species, for example, can be invaluable for siting marine reserves to protect that species. Over the past several decades, scientists have tracked fish movement through mark-and-recapture techniques or following fish with scuba divers - generating useful, though incomplete, information.
In February, delegates from 161 nations met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for biannual talks on strategies to conserve global biodiversity. The meeting - the Seventh Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-7) - featured decisions on international protected-area planning and the conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems, among other items. MPA News invited Bud Ehler, Vice-Chair (Marine) for the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, to explain the implications for MPAs:
Editor's note: When MPA habitats become severely degraded, active rehabilitation by management may be desirable - or necessary, in some cases - to restore ecological functions formerly provided. Such rehabilitation can be controversial, however, when artificial technologies are applied. The concept of "naturalness", which management normally strives to protect with an MPA, becomes somewhat blurred.
New report provides options for financing MPAs
MPA practitioners can benefit in learning from the experience of their peers, particularly when addressing similar challenges. But with MPAs spread out across the world, the transfer of knowledge among practitioners can be a challenge in itself. Without ways of networking peers - and their knowledge - across potentially great distances, the planning and management of marine protected areas can suffer.
Assisting with overseeing the design and implementation of the LMMA Network (described in the previous article) is a US-based not-for-profit organization, Foundations for Success (FOS). Established in 2000, FOS aims to improve the practice of nature conservation by coordinating the sharing of lessons learned among networks of practitioners. Nick Salafsky, a founder of FOS, works closely with the LMMA Network as well as other learning networks worldwide.
Editor's note: The social and political unrest facing the Galapagos Marine Reserve, described in the article below, holds serious potential consequences for one of the world's best-known MPAs. It also reflects challenges this MPA shares with other sites worldwide, including the continual pressure to readjust the balance of resource use and conservation amid changing economic and ecological circumstances.
Dear MPA News:
In supporting what Adrian Phillips said in the February MPA News (MPA News 5:7) about failures in local management, I'd like to quote from my paper in the proceedings of the 2000 International Coral Reef Symposium in Bali entitled "The Development and Establishment of Coral Reef Marine Protected Areas", as follows:
Report: Most coral reefs may disappear by 2050 due to climate change
The December 2003/January 2004 issue of MPA News offered two essays by scientists on marine reserve research. One questioned the rigor with which reserve research has been conducted, while the other explained difficulties involved in studying reserves, including finding adequate control sites. The essays presented a dilemma: we all want the best science on reserves, but to get it will require significantly more time and money - resources that are already scarce for managers.