Stakeholder Engagement in the Designation Process of the Marine Protected Areas in Taiwan: A Social-Ecological System Perspective
There are many islands in the ocean surrounding Taiwan which can provide rich resources for the people such as fisheries. However, Taiwan is facing environmental issues from increasing human activities and the functions of natural systems that are weakened large anthropogenic disturbances. The concept of resilience is introduced to explain the unbalanced interactions and feedbacks between social and ecological system would impede recovery in the natural process and negatively impact on the social system. This study examines the Social Ecological System（SES）approach as a tool, which gives the decision maker a holistic picture of the complexity of the interactions between the human system and the natural environment system regarding the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) designation. To apply this idea to a real world case, this research examines three case studies in Taiwan, i.e., the Green Island case as a failure in establishing a MPA; the Dongsha Atoll National Park as a successful case of marine national park establishment in Taiwan. By reviewing these two examples, this study applies lessons two cases to the proposed Four Islands of Southern Penghu National Park. Among the key factors that affect the Marine Protected Area (MPA) designation in Taiwan, stakeholder engagement is the focus of this study. Stakeholder analysis is a main method to clarify different perspectives of stakeholders toward the MPA development because stakeholder support was critical in defeating the Green Island proposal but important in the success of Dongsha National Park. Stakeholder interviews are performed to better understand the conflicts among different parties and how they are involved in the designation processes. The results are mainly based on discussion of the stakeholders' perspectives and engagement in the case of the Four Island of Southern Penghu National Park. In the end, the conclusions show the importance of the enhancing adaptive capacity of the government, including stakeholder engagement in the designation process, and the Socio-Ecological System (SES) framework application in the context of MPA designation.