Institutional diversity in Marine Protected Areas

“The significance of institutional diversity to governance systems parallels that of species diversity to ecosystems, conferring resilience to the overall social-ecological system,” write Peter Jones, Wanfei Qiu, and Elizabeth De Santo in “Governing marine protected areas: social-ecological resilience through institutional diversity,” the synthesis paper of a special issue of the journal Marine Policy.

Researchers with the Marine Protected Area Governance project, led by Jones, examined institutional “incentives” — categorized as economic, interpretive, knowledge-based, legal, and participatory — in 20 case studies of marine protected areas (MPAs) around the world, reporting on which institutions were perceived as in place and which were perceived as needed.

Greatest gap between perceived as in place (20 cases) and needed (0 cases), one of the interpretive incentives:
Public communication, education and awareness raising on the importance/vulnerability of marine ecosystems and the benefits of the MPA e.g. through newsletters, web sites, education programmes, media campaigns etc.

Greatest gap between perceived as needed (14 cases) and in place (7 cases), one of the legal incentives:
Ensuring that sufficient national-local-state capacity, political will, surveillance technologies and financial resources are available to enforce all restrictions equitably on all local and incoming users, including addressing driving forces – pressures from immigration, corporate mass tourism, fisheries market forces etc.

See also: Integral quadrants and fishery co-management

[Update: Note this special issue is currently available as corrected proofs. A list of papers is here (pdf).]

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