Marine Protected Area Network Design Features that Support Resilient Human-Ocean Systems
In 2013 I lead a collaborative research effort to synthesize the general design guidelines for marine protected area (MPA) networks that strive to meet ecological, governance, social and cultural objectives. This work was initially done as a contract for the Kitasoo/XaiXais First Nation and Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative, however the report findings have been presented widely and integrated into the ecological design strategies of the Northern Shelf Bioregion MPA Network planning initiative.
Summary of the report: In this report, we synthesize the overarching principles and general guidelines that underpin the establishment of MPA networks designed to meet ecological, governance, social and cultural objectives, based on the peer-reviewed literature. These guidelines are supported by scientific research, institutional experience and global case studies, and take a social-ecological systems approach to marine conservation. Our synthesis suggests the successful establishment and effective management of MPA networks depend on legitimate and effective governance arrangements that can accommodate ecological criteria while considering the perspectives and input of local resource users and stakeholders. Planners, managers and decision-makers can use the guidelines summarized in this report to support the process of MPA network design in their local contexts. We discuss how several of the design guidelines apply to the Pacific region of British Columbia (B.C.), Canada, given the federal and provincial governments have committed to establishing a bioregional network of MPAs. Specifically, this report contains:
• Ecological principles and guidelines for MPA network design;
• Species’ home ranges & larval duration estimates for a selection of valued BC marine species to inform size and spacing of MPA networks in B.C.;
• MPA governance principles from global literature on good governance;
• Design goals & strategies for achieving different social objectives in MPA network planning; and
• Opportunities and challenges for integrating Indigenous knowledge systems into marine planning and MPA design.
Community-Driven Marine Planning in Howe Sound
Since 2013 I have been working in Howe Sound with First Nations, NGOs, government agency staff, academics, educators, citizen scientists and the community leaders to host forums and workshops that have catalyzed several integrated marine planning initiatives. Read more about this work here.