Achieving Success under Pressure in the Conservation of Intensely Used Coastal Areas
Fiorenza Micheli, Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, California, USA
Federico Niccolini, Department of Economics, University of Macerata, Macerata, Italy
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Understanding how biological conservation and socioeconomic development can be harmonized in social-ecological systems is at the core of sustainability science. We present the case of a Mediterranean marine protected area (MPA), the Tavolara-Punta Coda Cavallo MPA, that exhibits high ecological performance under intense pressure from fishing, tourism, and coastal development. This case study illustrates how socioeconomic development and significant conservation benefits can coexist, even in a challenging context. Based on this case study, we present a framework for what elements and interactions have determined the high ecological performance of this MPA, and highlight the key leverages that have enabled ecosystem recovery. In particular, the most critical elements underlying high performance were sufficient leadership and knowledge to identify a conservation vision and to catalyze some key actors in the implementation of this vision. Thus, success was ultimately determined by the ability of the leadership of the MPA to devise and implement an effective strategy, with the support and participation of key actors that were external to the MPA organization. The insights from this case study may be applicable to improving MPA management in other systems with similar characteristics, including high human pressures and the presence of an MPA authority.
conservation performance; marine protected areas; Mediterranean; social-ecological systems; Tavolara-Punta Coda Cavallo MPA; Visionary Organization