From measuring outcomes to providing inputs for more effective marine protected areas

Figure 1

Marine protected areas from inputs to outcomes

An OPEN ACCESS article titled From measuring outcomes to providing inputs: Governance, management, and local development for more effective marine protected areas was just published in time for World Oceans Day. This articles asks: What governance, management and local development inputs are likely to lead to more effective and successful marine protected areas?

Abstract: Marine protected areas (MPAs) have the potential to conserve marine resources as well as provide social and economic benefits to local communities. Yet the percentage of MPAs that might be considered “successful” or effective on ecological and/or socio-economic accounts is debatable. Measurement of biophysical and socio-economic outcome indicators has become de rigeur for examining MPA management effectiveness so that adaptive feedback loops can stimulate new management actions. Scholars and practitioners alike have suggested that more attention should be given to the inputs that are likely to lead to successful MPA outcomes. This paper briefly discusses the potential ecological and socio-economic outcomes of MPAs then reviews the literature on three categories of inputs – governance, management, and local development – that lead to effective MPAs. In conclusion, the paper presents a novel inputs framework that incorporates indicators for governance, management P1010715and development to be used in the design and analysis of MPAs.

Bennett, N. J., & Dearden, P. (2014). From measuring outcomes to providing inputs: Governance, management, and local development for more effective marine protected areas. Marine Policy, 50, 96–110. doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2014.05.005

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The capacity to adapt?: communities in a changing climate, environment, and economy on the northern Andaman coast of Thailand

The following article was just published:

Bennett, N. J., P. Dearden, G. Murray and A. Kadfak. 2014. The capacity to adapt?: communities in a changing climate, environment, and economy on the northern Andaman coast of Thailand. Ecology and Society 19 (2): 5. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol19/iss2/art5/

P1010346Abstract: The health and productivity of marine ecosystems, habitats, and fisheries are deteriorating on the Andaman coast of Thailand. Because of their high dependence on natural resources and proximity to the ocean, coastal communities are particularly vulnerable to climate-induced changes in the marine environment. These communities must also adapt to the impacts of management interventions and conservation initiatives, including marine protected areas, which have livelihood implications. Further, communities on the Andaman coast are also experiencing a range of new economic opportunities associated in particular with tourism and agriculture. These complex and ongoing changes require integrated assessment of, and deliberate planning to increase, the adaptive capacity of communities so that they may respond to: (1) environmental degradation and fisheries declines through effective management interventions or conservation initiatives, (2) new economic opportunities to reduce dependence on fisheries, and (3) the increasing impacts of climate change. Our results are from a mixed methods study, which used surveys and interviews to examine multiple dimensions of the adaptive capacity of seven island communities near marine protected areas on the Andaman coast of Thailand. Results show that communities had low adaptive capacity with respect to environmental degradation and fisheries declines, and to management and conservation interventions, as well as uneven levels of adaptive capacity to economic opportunities. Though communities and households were experiencing the impacts of climate change, especially storm events, changing seasons and weather patterns, and erosion, they were reactinKo Sin Hi Pierg to these changes with limited knowledge of climate change pe se. We recommend interventions, in the form of policies, programs, and actions, at multiple scales for increasing the adaptive capacity of Thailand’s coastal communities to change. The analytical and methodological approach used for examining adaptive capacity could be easily modified and applied to other contexts and locales.

This and other publications can be found here: https://nathanbennett.ca/publications/

Why local people do not support conservation: Community perceptions of marine protected area livelihood impacts, governance and management in Thailand

An Open Access article titled “Why local people do not support conservation: Community perceptions of marine protected area livelihood impacts, governance and management in Thailand” was recently published in Marine Policy (Link to the article and PDF of article)

Article Abstract

Conservation success is often predicated on local support for conservation which is strongly influenced by perceptions of the impacts that are experienced by local communities and opinions of management and governance. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are effective conservation and fisheries management tools that can also have a broad array of positive and negative social, economic, cultural, and political impacts on local communities. Drawing on results from a mixed-methods study of communities on the Andaman Coast of Thailand, this paper explores perceptions of MPA impacts on community livelihood resources (assets) and outcomes as well as MPA governance and management. The area includes 17 National Marine Parks (NMPs) that are situated near rural communities that are highly dependent on coastal resources. Interview participants perceived NMPs to have limited to negative impacts on fisheries and agricultural livelihoods and negligible benefits for tourism livelihoods. Perceived impacts on livelihoods were felt to result from NMPs undermining access to or lacking support for development of cultural, social, political, financial, natural, human, physical, and political capital assets. Conflicting views emerged on whether NMPs resulted in negative or positive marine or terrestrial conservation outcomes. Perceptions of NMP governance and management processes were generally negative. These results point to some necessary policy improvements and actions to ameliorate: the relationship between the NMP and communities, NMP management and governance processes, and socio-economic and conservation outcomes.

This and other publications can be found on my publications page: https://nathanbennett.ca/publications/