MPA Tip: Managing Research in MPAs

MPA News

"MPA Tip" is a recurring feature in MPA News that presents advice on planning and management gathered from various publications on protected areas. The purpose is two-fold: to provide useful guidance to practitioners, and to serve as a reminder of valuable literature in the MPA field.

MPA News adapted the following tip from Managing Protected Areas: A Global Guide (IUCN, 2006), edited by Michael Lockwood, Graeme L. Worboys, and Ashish Kothari. The 802-page book is available for US$99.50 from Amazon.com. You can browse much of the book online for free at Google Book Search (http://books.google.com).


Tip: MPA management agencies can derive considerable benefits from partnerships with universities and other research institutions, and should help make non-intrusive research possible in the protected areas. The following guidelines for managers can help ensure these partnerships are effective:

  • Require approval, through a quick and simple process, of all research projects in an MPA before they begin so that managers know what kinds of research are being done there.

  • Proactively define the research that the MPA requires for management purposes, and provide incentives for research institutions to carry it out.

  • Consider providing logistics and funding support to applied research that is relevant to the MPA's needs. While purely academic research should be welcomed as well, it should be expected to pay its own way.

  • Agree on the kinds of support that will be provided to researchers by the MPA, such as transport, housing, laboratory facilities, etc.

  • Require that any specimens collected become part of a museum or herbarium collection that is available to other researchers, unless questions of indigenous or local community ownership intervene.

  • Ensure that any research is not significantly disruptive of the natural values for which the MPA was established.

  • Ensure that copies of all publications resulting from the research are sent to both the MPA where the research was carried out and the national MPA management agency.