Planning frameworks such as Ecosystem-Based Marine Spatial Planning are based on socio-ecological systems and require effective design of management goals and objectives, a task often overlooked in conservation and resource planning. This paper discusses research undertaken in a coastal council of Australia, to assess the significance of well-defined goals and objectives as drivers of management plans. SMART criteria and Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation approaches were integrated into a framework to examine management scope of existing plans; assess the quality of stated goals and objectives; analyse the use of natural and socio-economic targets; and provide recommendations for the development of future plans. Findings provided no indication of organizational learning through revision of previous plans, revealing an ongoing planning cycle with ad-hoc reviews frequently driven by policy changes. Main weaknesses identified included linguistics ambiguity; unclear planning hierarchy; lack of clear time-frames; and adoption of highly ambitious plans. The absence of measurable and time-bounded goals and objectives was noted. Additionally, poor definition of targets resulted in goals not meeting the impact-oriented criteria, and objectives were not outcome-oriented. Recommendations drawn in support of mainstreaming the Ecosystem Based Approach in future coastal and marine plans include: explicit definition of societal values; developing complementary cross-realm management goals and objectives; increasing commitment to produce ‘on-the-ground’ outcomes progressively within each planning period; a greater use of pro-active management measures; and providing an economic context to the plans, fostering alignment of financial resources and future investments with the vision developed by the council.
Flagship species are widely used in conservation to raise awareness and funds, and recent observational research suggests that less popular species can be marketed to increase support for their conservation. Using two species groups, sharks and dolphins, this paper experimentally investigates whether stated conservation preferences can shift from more charismatic species to those not typically considered as flagship species. Although universal appeal is considered a desirable trait for flagship species, there are individual differences in preferences for species. Therefore, this paper also investigates the role of individual demographic and attitudinal differences on choices, as these may impact the success of conservation marketing. Using discrete choice experiments, six forced choice sets of two species were presented to 168 participants, with species shown and the amount of information presented about each one varied. Demographic differences between participants was found to affect donating behavior: individuals with more positive attitudes to sharks were more likely to donate to shark conservation, as are individuals with a biology background. However, it was found that individual choices can also be shifted through the provision of additional information. Participants chose to conserve species with more information, whether the two species in the choice set were both sharks, both dolphins, or a shark and a dolphin. When equal amounts of information were provided about two species, potential donors preferred the more endangered species. This research suggests that by selecting appropriate populations to target for marketing, even less charismatic species can be used as flagship species and attract potential donors.
The impact of changing climate on terrestrial and underwater archaeological sites, historic buildings, and cultural landscapes can be examined through quantitatively-based analyses encompassing large data samples and broad geographic and temporal scales. The Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) is a multi-institutional collaboration that allows researchers online access to linked heritage data from multiple sources and data sets. The effects of sea-level rise and concomitant human population relocation is examined using a sample from nine states encompassing much of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the southeastern United States. A 1 m rise in sea-level will result in the loss of over >13,000 recorded historic and prehistoric archaeological sites, as well as over 1000 locations currently eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), encompassing archaeological sites, standing structures, and other cultural properties. These numbers increase substantially with each additional 1 m rise in sea level, with >32,000 archaeological sites and >2400 NRHP properties lost should a 5 m rise occur. Many more unrecorded archaeological and historic sites will also be lost as large areas of the landscape are flooded. The displacement of millions of people due to rising seas will cause additional impacts where these populations resettle. Sea level rise will thus result in the loss of much of the record of human habitation of the coastal margin in the Southeast within the next one to two centuries, and the numbers indicate the magnitude of the impact on the archaeological record globally. Construction of large linked data sets is essential to developing procedures for sampling, triage, and mitigation of these impacts.
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) can offer significant benefits in terms of economic conservation strategies, optimizing spatial planning and minimizing the impact on the environment. In this paper, we focused on the application of multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) technique for co-locating offshore wind farms and open-water mussel cultivation. An index of co-location sustainability (SI) was developed based on the application of MCE technique constructed with physical and biological parameters on the basis of remote sensing data. The relevant physical factors considered were wind velocity, depth range, concerning the site location for energy production, and sea surface temperature anomaly. The biological variables used were Chlorofill-a (as a measurement of the productivity) and Particle Organic Carbon (POC) concentration, in order to assess their influence on the probable benefits and complete the requirements of this management framework. This SI can be easily implemented to do a first order selection of the most promising areas to be more specifically studied in a second order approach based on local field data
Increasingly, natural resource managers see the marine protected areas that they are responsible for as linked social-ecological systems. This requires an equal focus on managing for both natural and human dimensions of the protected estate. Consequently, identification of indicators that represent the human dimensions of Large Scale Marine Protected Areas (LSMPAs) such as the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is critical if these values are to be properly considered as part of standard management practice. Assessment and monitoring of the human dimensions of LSMPAs requires a replicable, collaborative process, rolled out at local scales but comparable across vast, socially and geographically diverse areas. This paper explores the application of a process for the development, assessment, and monitoring of the GBR's human dimensions. The process includes (a) development of a conceptual framework that links indicator sets to the desired state of the GBR's human dimensions; and (b) a collaborative approach including ten practical steps to implement assessment, monitoring, and benchmarking of the human dimensions of an LSMPA. We conclude with examination of challenges and opportunities for implementing this process in the GBR context, specifically with respect to the targets and objectives of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.
Understanding how people are dependent on Large Scale Marine Protected Areas (LSMPAs) is important for understanding how people might be sensitive to changes that affect these seascapes. We review how resource dependency is conceptualized and propose that it be broadened to include cultural values such as pride in resource status, scientific heritage, appreciation of aesthetics, biodiversity, and lifestyle opportunities. We provide an overview of how local residents (n = 3,181 face-to-face surveys), commercial fishers (n = 210, telephone surveys), and tourism operators (n = 119 telephone surveys) are potentially dependent on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), a region currently experiencing significant environmental, social, and economic change. We found that commercial fishers and tourism operators were dependent not only financially on the GBR, but also because of their age, years in the industry and region, lack of education, and the number of dependents. These stakeholders lacked flexibility to secure alternative employment. All stakeholder groups, regardless of economic imperatives, were dependent on the GBR because of their cultural connections. We propose that resource dependency also provides an umbrella concept to describe the cultural services provided by an ecosystem, which can be described through place-based dependence and place-identity.
With the increase in development of large marine protected areas (LMPAs) worldwide, there have been calls from social scientists to gather better empirical information about the human dimensions of LMPAs. Of the social research done on LMPAs to date, most has focused on the perceptions of stakeholders closely connected to their implementation, and little research has explored the general public's response. This paper presents the results of a phone survey conducted in the US territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to assess residents' knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument—a LMPA designated offshore in 2009. The survey was administered in 2012 to 500 randomly-selected residents from each territory. Findings suggest: (1) public awareness of the Monument prior to the survey was low; (2) residents generally supported designation of the Monument; (3) most residents did not believe that the Monument would affect them or their community; and (4) knowledge and perceptions of the Monument varied between fishing and non-fishing households. This research illustrates that awareness and views differ between stakeholders and those of the general public, which should be used to inform social research on LMPAs and outreach for LMPA managers.
Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef (GBR) continues to suffer from repeated impacts of cyclones, coral bleaching, and outbreaks of the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), losing much of its coral cover in the process. This raises the question of the ecosystem’s systemic resilience and its ability to rebound after large-scale population loss. Here, we reveal that around 100 reefs of the GBR, or around 3%, have the ideal properties to facilitate recovery of disturbed areas, thereby imparting a level of systemic resilience and aiding its continued recovery. These reefs (1) are highly connected by ocean currents to the wider reef network, (2) have a relatively low risk of exposure to disturbances so that they are likely to provide replenishment when other reefs are depleted, and (3) have an ability to promote recovery of desirable species but are unlikely to either experience or spread COTS outbreaks. The great replenishment potential of these ‘robust source reefs’, which may supply 47% of the ecosystem in a single dispersal event, emerges from the interaction between oceanographic conditions and geographic location, a process that is likely to be repeated in other reef systems. Such natural resilience of reef systems will become increasingly important as the frequency of disturbances accelerates under climate change.
Establishing marine protected areas (MPAs) is one of the most significant measures governments can take to halt the degradation of marine ecosystems and fisheries overexploitation. Although MPAs can be created with the support of current stakeholders, mainly fishers, implementation of spatial restrictions and of no-take zones in particular, force adjustments to the existing fisheries in the area. The Llevant de Mallorca-Cala Rajada MPA (Spain, Western Mediterranean) was created in 2007 under the patronage of the artisanal fishermen association of Cala Rajada. This study uses onboard observer data of the existing artisanal fisheries practices (métiers), their seasonality and spatial distribution of effort in the area before (2003–2007) and after (2008–2012) MPA designation, to illustrate how fishing restrictions and regulations have changed the structure and dynamics of local fishery métiers, with inshore fishing effort partially reallocated to offshore fishing grounds farther from port. Unforeseen effects of MPA restrictions concerned coastal artisanal métiers – impinging on the smaller boats and the oldest and most knowledgeable fishers – and the expansion of métiers that use newer boats and manned by younger, less experienced fishermen. Studies like this are needed to inform the design of future fisheries spatial management measures for Mediterranean artisanal fisheries that take into account foreseeable socio-economic outcomes and loss of knowledge.
Recent research has suggested that decision makers may misunderstand public attitudes regarding natural resource use. Using research on Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) in six European countries, we illustrate one case in which this is true. We describe two studies: one revealing stakeholders’ beliefs about the environmental sustainability of IMTA in addition to their beliefs regarding public perceptions of the same; and a second investigating perceptions held by the public. In comparing the studies, we identified a gap between what decision-makers believe the public perceives and what the public actually perceives. There is reason to believe that this phenomenon is not sector-specific because policy and planning mechanisms for incorporating the views of stakeholders and the larger public tend to be the similar, regardless of sector. This may cause a dilemma for developing natural-resource based industries, as well as public policy. For this reason, we suggest, as an alternative to over-reliance on citizens’ initiative, making greater use of mechanisms that actively elicit opinions, such as deliberative consultation/engagement models that both inform and elicit pReferences