Harnessing Ecological Spatial Connectivity for Effective Marine Protected Areas and Resilient Marine Ecosystems: Scientific Synthesis and Action Agenda
The Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee (MPA FAC) is a 20-member committee of outside experts that advises the United States Secretaries of Commerce and Interior on matters concerning marine protected areas and networks of marine protected areas (hereafter "MPAs") in the United States. In April 2015, the Secretaries charged the MPA FAC to advise them on incorporating knowledge about ecological spatial connectivity (hereafter "connectivity" or "ecological spatial connectivity") and climate change into the design, use, and management of MPAs. Incorporating knowledge about connectivity is essential for the success of any and all ecological MPAs, i.e., MPAs that aim to restore or maintain ecological phenomena - populations, communities, ecosystems. In addition, incorporating knowledge about connectivity into ecological MPAs best equips them to achieve their conservation goals as the marine environment undergoes significant changes due to climate change.
The MPA FAC created two products in response to the Secretaries' charge. The first is a comprehensive Scientific Synthesis that addresses connectivity and MPAs, as well as the use of connectivity-informed MPAs to address climate change in the marine environment. The second product is an Action Agenda for the Secretaries, which recommends six specific actions for the Secretaries and also puts forth a set of guidelines for use by any MPA program on incorporating connectivity into MPAs.