CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF THE MESOAMERICAN BARRIER REEF SYSTEMS PROJECT(MBRS): RECOMMENDATIONS ON METHODOLOGY FOR MONITORING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MPA MANAGEMENT

Heyman, W. and Requena, N. (2003) CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF THE MESOAMERICAN BARRIER REEF SYSTEMS PROJECT(MBRS): RECOMMENDATIONS ON METHODOLOGY FOR MONITORING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MPA MANAGEMENT. Technical Report.

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    Abstract

    A total of 15 marine protected areas (MPAs) within the MBRS region have been identified for special attention within the GEF-World Bank Conservation and Sustainable Management of the MBRS project. They include one area established in 1992 (Turtle Harbor Wildlife Refuge) and three locations not yet formally declared (Rio Sarstun Multiple Use Reserve and Punta de Manabique Special Protection Area, Guatemala, and Omoa-Baracoa Marine Reserve in Honduras). The MPAs range in size from less than 5,000, to 280,000 Ha. We were able to obtain detailed information on the current status of all MPAs except Punta de Manabique and Omoa-Baracoa, neither of which is yet formally established or under active management. Information came from detailed questionnaires provided to reserve managers. While there are clearly substantial differences among the reserves, three things stood out as widely representative. Their management operations are poorly financed and their staff lack equipment and facilities necessary for effective management. While they generally have management plans in place, these are not well implemented and regulations are weakly enforced. There is little attention to educational programs aimed at informing the local population and visitors about the reserve, and at raising consciousness of conservation values and the need to ensure sustainability of fisheries and other extractive activities. Overall, while most respondents reported "moderately effective" management, there are few objective data to support the claims, and there is substantial room for improvement in management effectiveness in these MPAs. A review of current best practice for evaluating MPA management effectiveness reveals a predominant focus on the monitoring of the biophysical attributes of the non-human components of marine ecosystems. Metrics of the abundance and health of foundation species and exploited species are the most commonly used, with a particular emphasis on coral and fish. Most measures of management outcomes for the human communities associated with MPAs quantify subsistence food and economic benefits, or less tangible benefits converted into economic terms. Most assessments of management effectiveness for particular MPAs to date are based on assessments of inputs or outputs derived from once-only interviews with managers, calling into question the objective value and potential to predict and verify the intended effects of management actions. We identify the need to move MPA evaluations to a focus on outcomes measured by scientifically rigorous programs of performance modeling against established baselines Recognizing that MPA management must be adaptive, a program to assess management effectiveness requires that a baseline of objective data be established for a carefully selected suite of evaluation criteria. The criteria must be matched to well-specified objectives (i.e. desired outcomes) of management, and quantifiable measures of performance or achievement must be defined. These metrics must be monitored through time using consistent methods to assess whether the reserve is meeting, or at least approaching its stated objectives (conservation of natural resources in all cases, often with maintenance of sustainable fishery harvests in addition). Appropriate metrics include biophysical measurements within the reserve, and socio-economic indicators that track the outcomes of management. Eleven (11) of the former, and eight (8) of the latter are specified as the minimum suite of measures of MPA management effectiveness.Biophysical criteria establish the quality of the non-human components of environments, ecosystems and communities within the MPA, so that changes in quality through time may be tracked. To be effective in meeting stated management objectives, as embodied in these criteria, a reserve must contain environments that improve in quality absolutely or at least relative to comparable environments outside the reserve borders. Since all 15 MPAs have been selected as Locations within the MBRS Synoptic Monitoring Program (SMP), it is logical and cost-effective to use the environmental monitoring that will take place under this program to also serve the needs of the MPA evaluation program. Our 11 biophysical measurements are included in the minimum suite of annually monitored variables under the SMP.

    Item Type: Technical Reports (Technical Report)
    Related URLs:
      Keywords: conservation, sustainable use, effectiveness, recommendation,monitoring, management, MPA
      Subjects: (H) Protected Areas > (HD) Marine Reserve
      (I) Socio-Economic Information > (IB) Economic Valuation
      (Z) Other or Unspecified
      Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3B) NGOs
      Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2010 15:02
      Last Modified: 20 Jan 2011 14:27
      URI: http://eprints.uberibz.org/id/eprint/1050

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