Capacity shortfalls hinder the performance of marine protected areas globally.

Abstract

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.

Department

Description

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Citation

Published Version (Please cite this version)

10.1038/nature21708

Publication Info

Gill, David A, Michael B Mascia, Gabby N Ahmadia, Louise Glew, Sarah E Lester, Megan Barnes, Ian Craigie, Emily S Darling, et al. (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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Scholars@Duke

Gill

David Antonio Gill

Assistant Professor in the Division 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, and working alongside researchers and practitioners to co-develop salient research questions, approaches and dissemination pathways. His recent work includes global and regional assessments of the social and ecological impacts of marine conservation, justice and equity considerations in marine governance, and developing cost-effective approaches for monitoring socioecological systems in capacity-limited regions.

David holds an MSc and PhD from the Centre of Resource Management and Environmental Studies, University of the West Indies, Barbados. His post-graduate career included two years as a Luc Hoffmann Fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC; 2014-2016) and a David H. Smith Conservation fellowship (2016-2018) based at George Mason University and Conservation International.

 

Basurto

Xavier Basurto

Truman and Nellie Semans/Alex Brown & Sons Associate Professor

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 (large and small) develop robust institutions that provide enough flexibility for collective learning and adaptation over the long-term?

My academic and professional training is based on a deep conviction that it is through integrating different disciplinary perspectives and methods that we will be able to find solutions to challenging dilemmas in natural resources management, conservation, and environmental policy. Trained as a marine biologist, I completed a M.S in natural resources studying small-scale fisheries in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Realizing the need to bring social science theories into my work on common-pool resources sustainability, I earned an MPA and a Ph.D. in Management (with a minor in cultural anthropology) from the University of Arizona and under the supervision of Edella Schlager. Following I spent two years working with Elinor Ostrom, 2009 co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, at the Workshop for Political Theory and Policy Analysis of Indiana University. Methodologically, I am familiar with a variety of quantitative and qualitative approaches and formally trained to conduct Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA or more recently fsQCA), that allows among other things, systematic comparisons of middle range N sample sizes and address issues of multiple-causality.


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