Citizen science and the power of public participation in marine spatial planning

Last modified: 
August 30, 2016 - 9:04am
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2015
Date published: 07/2015
Authors: Rebecca Jarvis, Barbara Breen, Christian Krägeloh, Rex Billington
Journal title: Marine Policy
Volume: 57
Pages: 21 - 26
ISSN: 0308597X

Marine spatial planning (MSP) is becoming increasingly used in the sustainable management of marine and coastal ecosystems. However, limitations on time and resources often restrict the data available for MSP and limit public engagement and participation in the MSP process. While citizen science is being increasingly used to provide fine-scale environmental data across large terrestrial planning areas, there has been little uptake in MSP to date. This paper demonstrates how consistent citizen observations can be used to identify hotspots of good and poor environmental health across a MSP region, and where environmental health has improved or degraded in the past five years; information that is difficult to obtain by other means. The study demonstrates how citizen science provides valuable insight into environmental health across a MSP region, while fostering a supportive space for the public to contribute their own observations and participate in the planning process.

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