How effective is a marine spatial plan: An evaluation case study in China

Last modified: 
December 13, 2019 - 2:18pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2019
Date published: 03/2019
Authors: Qinhua Fang, Shouqin Zhu, Deqiang Ma, Liyu Zhang, Suzhen Yang
Journal title: Ecological Indicators
Volume: 98
Pages: 508 - 514
ISSN: 1470160X

Marine/maritime spatial planning (MSP) aims to address conflicts between different sea uses and conflicts between such uses and marine environments. However, how to evaluate, particularly quantitatively evaluate, an MSP scheme on its performance of achieving the above objectives is still an issue. In this paper, an MSP scheme evaluation framework focusing on sea use compatibility and the protection degree of key ecological areas is put forward. First, the intensity of every sea use is graded on a scale of 1–10 based on its demand on marine resources and impacts on marine environments, and key ecological areas are identified based on scientific criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Then, a set of formulas are designed to calculate the conflict value among sea uses. The protection degree in a sea area is calculated through buffer zone tools and overlap analysis in Geographic Information System (GIS). The proposed method is applied to a case study of Xiamen, China, by comparing its marine spatial plans of version 2007 and version 2013. The results show that the sea use intensity increases from 3.51 to 4.20 on average in the Western Sea of Xiamen. The key ecological area protection value decreases from 0.59 to 0.45, and the sea use conflicts value decreases from 0.28 to 0.20. The results demonstrate that MSP is successful in reducing sea use conflicts in version 2013 in the context of an increasing sea use intensity. However, the protection degree of key ecological areas needs to be strengthened. Further statistical analysis of the results provides more information for the cause analysis of the performance changes. This information would inform potential revisions of the current marine spatial plan and future sea use management. The proposed method provides a feasible approach to analyse the MSP scheme in a quantitative way.

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