Marine protected areas are one of many tools to help ensure reef health. Many of these tools need to be implemented together for best results. Non-integrated planning may result in fractured governance, multiple agencies, and lack of communication. There is a need to create an atmosphere of integrated management that includes all aspects of the reef ecosystem, including human impacts. These broad, integrated methods are referred to by several names: Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM), Integrated Coastal Management (ICM), Area Based Management (ABM), and others.
The main tenet of these methods is to integrate planning to include as many aspects of the environment as possible, including humans, and adapt the management plan as time goes on. There are some differences between these broad-scale management approaches, such as a focus on spatial planning for ABM, a land-sea development focus on ICM and a broader, expansive nature for EBM.
To better manage for resilience in MPA networks, existing management plans should be adapted to better integrate multiple sectors, and new MPA networks should be created with integrated planning approaches in mind. Both goals will require integration of politics with science, management, and the local community.
The idea of an integrated management approach is not new, but has proved difficult to implement in the field due to the economic and political constraints, as well as to lack of data. Some tools and examples exist to help shape an integrated framework of management including:
- Establishing Resilient Marine Protected Area Networks—Making it Happen (download pdf, 6,157k)
- Marine Planning: Practical approaches to ocean and coastal decision-making
- Ecosystem Based Management Tools Network
- EBM Approaches in Raja Ampat
- Designing ICM projects for sustainability: Lessons from the Philippines and Indonesia