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


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:

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:

Vulnerability to multiple stressors in coastal communities: A study of the Andaman Coast of Thailand

The following article has been published online.

Bennett, N., Dearden, P., & Peredo, A.M. (2014-online). “Vulnerability to multiple stressors in coastal communities: A study of the Andaman Coast of ThailandClimate and Development

Abstract: Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change have become a dominant theme in development and conservation research and work. Yet coastal communities are facing a wider array of different stressors that affect the sustainability of natural resources and the adaptive capacity of local residents. The ability of communities and households to adapt is influenced by the nature, number, and magnitude of the changes with which they have to contend. In this paper, we present the range of 36 socio-economic (i.e. economic, social, governance and conflict) and biophysical (i.e. climate change and other environmental) stressors that emerged from qualitative interviews in seven coastal communities on the Andaman coast of Thailand. These stressors were then integrated into a quantitative survey of 237 households wherein participants were asked to rate the level of impact of these stressors on household livelihoods. Ratings showed that economic and some climate change stressors – extreme Figure 1 - Vulnerability as a Funtion of E, S, and AC finalweather events and changes in rainfall patterns and seasons – were scored higher than other stressors. The paper also examines the relationships between community and various individual and household characteristics – such as gender, age, livelihoods, levels of social capital, and socio-economic status – and the perceived level of impacts of various stressors on household livelihoods. Overall, community and livelihoods had the most differentiated impacts on perceptions of stressors but few other prominent patterns emerged. In conclusion, this paper discusses the implications of the results for current climate change vulnerability and adaptation policy and practice in Thailand and elsewhere.

It is available on my publications page: