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Quantitative decision support tools facilitate social-ecological alignment in community-based marine protected area design

Nils C Krueck, School of Biological Sciences and Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia; Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, 15-21 Nubeena Crescent, Taroona, Tasmania 7053, Australia
Ali Yansyah Abdurrahim, Research Centre for Population, Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Jakarta, Indonesia
Dedi S Adhuri, Research Centre for Society and Culture, Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Jakarta, Indonesia
Peter J Mumby, School of Biological Sciences and Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia
Helen Ross, School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-11209-240406

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Abstract

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly used to support both biodiversity conservation and fisheries management. However, MPA performance is likely to be compromised if people who depend on fishing are excluded from MPA design decision making. Participatory MPA design helps to address this problem by engaging local stakeholders in all critical decisions, including the total coverage, placement, and local size of no-take marine reserves. Here, we report the findings from a participatory MPA design project on Selayar Island, Indonesia, in which a community initiated collaborations with scientists to access modern quantitative tools for community-led MPA scenario testing. The outcomes highlight a local disagreement between ecologically and socially desirable MPA designs. Focused on social considerations, the initial community-supported MPA design consisted of four small reserves (0.5–1 km wide) in predominately southern community waters, where they were intended to restrict external fishers. Ecologically optimal MPA designs, in contrast, consisted of one or two large reserves (4–6 km wide) in northern community waters, where they were expected to restrict primarily local fishers but better support the rebuilding of fish populations and fisheries. However, ecologically optimal MPA designs were socially infeasible. Using quantitative MPA performance assessments, the community negotiated an alternative MPA design consisting of two 1.5–2 km wide reserves at socially and ecologically favorable locations. Compared to the initial proposal, this revised MPA design was estimated (1) to protect three to four times more individuals of key fishery species within reserve boundaries and (2) to double local fishery catches. We conclude that even simple MPA design tools, which quantify and visualize local conservation and fishery outcomes under alternative MPA scenarios, add value to participatory decision making and likely MPA performance.

Key words

comanagement; conservation; fisheries management; marine reserve network; marine reserves; MPA; participatory MPA design; social-ecological systems; trade-offs

Copyright © 2019 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087