Marine Protected Area Networks: Assessing Whether the Whole is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts

This study looks at whether MPAs in a given network have synergistic benefits on ecological, economic, and social management levels. A proposed analytical framework assessed whether ecological effects across entire an MPA network are greater than the sum of the effects occurring within each individual MPA and evaluates an MPA network in Hawai’i using monitoring data. The West Hawai’i network analyses consists of nine MPAs along with eight smaller, pre-existing protected areas that protect 35% of the coast from aquarium trade fishing. In order for MPA networks to be effective it was established that quantitative monitoring for indicators (biological, ecological, socio-economic, etc.) should be evaluated inside and outside the MPA network before and after MPA establishment. Planning processes should involve all players (managers, scientists, stakeholders) to determine desired goals of the MPA network as well so that monitoring programs collect relevant data to speak to those goals.

Author: Grorud-Colvert K., J. Claudet, B.N. Tissot, J.E. Caselle, M.H. Carr, et al.
Year: 2014
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PLoS ONE 9(8): e102298. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102298

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