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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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ARTICLE
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 173-188

Emerging marine protected area networks in the coral triangle: Lessons and way forward


1 Rare, Tagbilaran City, Bohol, the Philippines
2 The Nature Conservancy
3 The University of Washington
4 Aecos Inc
5 DAI Inc
6 Conservation International
7 World Wildlife Fund
8 Wildlife Conservation Society
9 Mazars Starling Resources; The University of Washington

Correspondence Address:
Stuart J Green
Rare, Tagbilaran City, Bohol
the Philippines
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.86986

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Marine protected areas (MPAs) and MPA networks are valuable tools for protecting coral reef habitats and managing near-shore fisheries, while playing an essential role in the overall conservation of marine biodiversity. In addition, MPAs and their networks are often the core strategy for larger scale and more integrated forms of marine resource management that can lead to ecosystem-based management regimes for seascapes and eco-regions. This study conducted in 2008 documents the status of selected MPAs and MPA networks in Indonesia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea, to better understand development and their level of success in the Coral Triangle. Findings reveal that substantial gaps exist between the theory and practice of creating functional MPA networks. Across these sites, biophysical and social science knowledge, required to build functional and effective MPAs or MPA networks, lagged behind substantially. Aspects that appeared to require the most attention to improve MPA network effectiveness included essential management systems, institutional arrangements, governance and sustainable financing. Common indicators of success such as increased fish catch and habitat quality parameters were consistently associated with several independent variables: sustainable financing for management, clarity of MPA network rules, enforcement by community level enforcers, local skills development, and involvement in management by local elected politicians, a functional management board, multi-stakeholder planning mechanisms and participatory biophysical assessments. Conclusions are that although considerable investments have been made in MPAs and potential MPA networks in the Coral Triangle, management effectiveness is generally poor throughout the region and that not many large, formally declared MPAs are well managed.


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