Capacity shortfalls hinder the performance of marine protected areas globally.
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Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly being used globally to conserve marine resources. However, whether many MPAs are being effectively and equitably managed, and how MPA management influences substantive outcomes remain unknown. We developed a global database of management and fish population data (433 and 218 MPAs, respectively) to assess: MPA management processes; the effects of MPAs on fish populations; and relationships between management processes and ecological effects. Here we report that many MPAs failed to meet thresholds for effective and equitable management processes, with widespread shortfalls in staff and financial resources. Although 71% of MPAs positively influenced fish populations, these conservation impacts were highly variable. Staff and budget capacity were the strongest predictors of conservation impact: MPAs with adequate staff capacity had ecological effects 2.9 times greater than MPAs with inadequate capacity. Thus, continued global expansion of MPAs without adequate investment in human and financial capacity is likely to lead to sub-optimal conservation outcomes.
Conservation of Natural Resources
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1038/nature21708
Publication InfoBasurto, Xavier; Gill, David; Mascia, Michael B; Ahmadia, Gabby N; Glew, Louise; Lester, Sarah E; ... Fox, Helen E (2017). Capacity shortfalls hinder the performance of marine protected areas globally. Nature, 543(7647). pp. 665-669. 10.1038/nature21708. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18610.
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Associate Professor of Sustainability Science
I am interested in the fundamental question of how groups (human and non-human) can find ways to self-organize, cooperate, and engage in successful collective action for the benefit of the common good. To do this I strive to understand how the institutions (formal and informal rules and norms) that govern social behavior, interplay with biophysical variables to shape social-ecological systems. What kind of institutions are better able to govern complex-adaptive systems? and how can societies (la
Assist Professor in the Department of Marine Science and Conservation
David’s research centers on marine coupled human-natural systems, focusing predominantly on marine management and tropical coral reef systems. Overall, his research aims to provide evidence-based insights into how marine management and conservation can lead to equitable and sustainable outcomes. This work is by nature both interdisciplinary and collaborative, drawing on key theories and analytical approaches from disciplines such as economics, community ecology, and political science, a
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