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Walton A.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | White A.T.,The Nature Conservancy | Alino P.M.,University of the Philippines at Diliman | Laroya L.,Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau | And 5 more authors.
Coastal Management | Year: 2014

The six Coral Triangle countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste, each have evolving systems of marine protected areas (MPAs) at the national and local levels. Now with more than 1,900 MPAs covering 208,152 km2 (1.6% of the extended economic zone for the region), the Coral Triangle Initiative for Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security has endorsed a Regional Plan of Action that contains a target of establishing a "Coral Triangle Marine Protected Area System" as part of its third goal on improving MPA management. This article details the contents of the Coral Triangle Marine Protected Area System Framework and Action Plan and describes its development and potential contribution to the improved management in the region once it is implemented. The MPA System Framework, as endorsed by the six countries, contains guidance for standardizing how MPAs and MPA networks are evaluated for effectiveness, and provides options for scaling-up existing MPAs to networks of MPAs that are more ecologically linked, integrated with fisheries management and responsive to changing climate. The Framework establishes an institutional mechanism by which the regional entity can facilitate the continued development and implementation of a region-wide MPA system that provides incentives for improved quality of management and enhanced marine area coverage at the local scale. © 2014 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Cros A.,Asia Pacific Program | Venegas-Li R.,Fundacion Keto | Teoh S.J.,WorldFish | Peterson N.,Asia Pacific Program | And 2 more authors.
Coastal Management | Year: 2014

The Coral Triangle is a global priority for conservation and since the creation of the Coral Triangle Initiative in 2007 it has been a major focus for a multi-lateral conservation partnership uniting the region's six governments. The Coral Triangle (CT) Atlas was developed to provide scientists and managers with the best available data on marine resources in the Coral Triangle. Endorsed as an official supporting tool to the Coral Triangle Initiative, the CT Atlas strives to provide the most accurate information possible to track the success of the conservation efforts of the Initiative. Focusing on marine protected areas and key marine habitats, the CT Atlas tested a process to assess the quality, reliability, and accuracy of different data layers. This article describes the mechanism used to evaluate these layers and to provide accurate data. Results of the preliminary quality control process showed errors in reputable datasets, outdated and missing data, metadata gaps, and a lack of user instructions to interpret layers. It highlighted the need to challenge existing datasets and demonstrated that regional efforts could improve the data available to evaluate the effectiveness of conservation measures. The Coral Triangle Atlas is continuously being updated to be as accurate as possible for reliable analysis. © 2014 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Dygico M.,WWF Philippines | Songco A.,Tubbataha Management Office | White A.T.,Asia Pacific Program | Green S.J.,Rare
Marine Policy | Year: 2013

The dynamic institutional arrangements, which characterized the past two decades of management in the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP), reflect flexibility and diversity in the use of governance incentives. At the initial stage, legal and knowledge incentives provided the main guidance in identifying the appropriate organizational structure to manage the Park and to establish its boundaries and jurisdictional limits. Knowledge incentives provided the added value of generating credible information that showed the significance of the Tubbataha Reefs and the positive impact of management actions. Communicating information to the public, as an interpretative incentive, supported greater recognition and influence at the national and international levels. During the middle stage, the use of economic incentives ensured that the Park management benefitted from tourism through user fees and that Cagayancillo Municipality received a fair share of benefits to partly compensate foregone income opportunities. The Tubbataha Trust Fund was created serving as a depository of revenue from grants and donations and included instituting fiscal management to encourage more partners and stakeholders to contribute. Presently, in the light of current issues and the recently passed TRNP Act, striking a balance between legal-economic-participative incentives takes precedence over interpretative and knowledge incentives which are in place and only need to be maintained. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Wells S.,WCPA Marine | Addison P.F.E.,Australian Institute of Marine Science | Bueno P.A.,Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia | Costantini M.,Marine Programme | And 8 more authors.
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems | Year: 2016

With the number of marine protected areas (MPAs) growing rapidly and progress being made towards protecting 10% of the ocean, as called for by the Convention on Biological Diversity, there is equally a need to increase efforts and provide incentives for effective management of these sites. The IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas (GLPCA), a voluntary global standard that protected areas and their agencies may decide to commit to working towards, has been set up to contribute to this. Protected areas can achieve Green List status by demonstrating a certain performance level and by meeting outcomes measured against a set of defined criteria. An assured verification process is followed before sites are recognized. The GLPCA will thus encourage and identify those protected areas (both terrestrial and marine) that are effectively managed, have equitable governance and achieve significant conservation impacts. The GLPCA pilot phase announced the first 25 protected areas to meet the criteria at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney in November 2014. These included four MPAs: Iroise Natural Marine Park, Cerbère-Banyuls Natural Nature Reserve, and Guadeloupe National Park in France, and Gorgona National Park in Colombia. Italy and China also participated in the pilot phase and each has an MPA that is continuing to work towards GLPCA status. The experiences of these sites are described, as well as three other programmes (two regional and one global) that are being developed to promote improved management of MPAs. This information will be useful for other MPAs considering participation in the GLPCA initiative. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Weeks R.,James Cook University | Russ G.R.,James Cook University | Alcala A.C.,Silliman University | White A.T.,Asia Pacific Program
Conservation Biology | Year: 2010

Quantifying the extent to which existing reserves meet conservation objectives and identifying gaps in coverage are vital to developing systematic protected-area networks. Despite widespread recognition of the Philippines as a global priority for marine conservation, limited work has been undertaken to evaluate the conservation effectiveness of existing marine protected areas (MPAs). Targets for MPA coverage in the Philippines have been specified in the 1998 Fisheries Code legislation, which calls for 15% of coastal municipal waters (within 15 km of the coastline) to be protected within no-take MPAs, and the Philippine Marine Sanctuary Strategy (2004), which aims to protect 10% of coral reef area in no-take MPAs by 2020. We used a newly compiled database of nearly 1000 MPAs to measure progress toward these targets. We evaluated conservation effectiveness of MPAs in two ways. First, we determined the degree to which marine bioregions and conservation priority areas are represented within existing MPAs. Second, we assessed the size and spacing patterns of reserves in terms of best-practice recommendations. We found that the current extent and distribution of MPAs does not adequately represent biodiversity. At present just 0.5% of municipal waters and 2.7-3.4% of coral reef area in the Philippines are protected in no-take MPAs. Moreover, 85% of no-take area is in just two sites; 90% of MPAs are <1 km 2. Nevertheless, distances between existing MPAs should ensure larval connectivity between them, providing opportunities to develop regional-scale MPA networks. Despite the considerable success of community-based approaches to MPA implementation in the Philippines, this strategy will not be sufficient to meet conservation targets, even under a best-case scenario for future MPA establishment. We recommend that implementation of community-based MPAs be supplemented by designation of additional large no-take areas specifically located to address conservation targets. ©2009 Society for Conservation Biology.

Ban N.C.,James Cook University | Adams V.M.,James Cook University | Almany G.R.,James Cook University | Ban S.,James Cook University | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology | Year: 2011

Coral reefs are in dire need of effective governance, yet the science and planning of coral reef protected areas largely stem from wealthy, developed nations, with very different social, economic, and cultural characteristics than the nations in which most coral reefs occur. Much has been written about coral reefs and the use of marine protected areas (MPAs) as a management tool, but emerging trends and recommendations have not been adequately synthesized for the context of developing nations. We found that 60% of studies on MPA design and planning are from North America, Australia, Europe and the Mediterranean. As a result, many recommendations about how best to design, implement and manage coral reef protected areas may need to be adapted to address the needs of other nations. Based on the literature and our experiences, we review three emerging trends in MPA design and management, and relate these to the context of coral reef developing nations. First, MPA design is evolving to merge community (usually bottom-up) and regional (usually top-down) planning approaches. Second, the increasing recognition that social and ecological systems are tightly coupled is leading to planning and management of MPAs that better incorporate the human dimensions of reef systems and their linkages with reef ecology. Finally, there has been a trend toward adaptive management of MPAs and the emergence of related ideas about adaptive planning. These three trends provide crucial and much needed opportunities for improving MPAs and their effectiveness in coral reef nations. © 2011.

Wells S.,IUCN WCPA Marine | Ray G.C.,University of Virginia | Gjerde K.M.,IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme & WCPA High Seas MPA Specialist Group | White A.T.,Asia Pacific Program | And 8 more authors.
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems | Year: 2016

Marine protected areas (MPAs) have a long history, originating in traditional and cultural initiatives often focused on reserving resources for food security. A handful of ‘parks’ were established between the 1870s and 1940s and, following World War II, increased awareness of threats to the ocean led to global programmes that started in the 1970–1980s. Initially IUCN became the leader, piloting a science-based ‘critical marine habitats’ approach, by which MPAs were aimed at conserving the healthiest and most diverse ecosystems, endangered and charismatic species, and high-profile habitats. During the 1970s, with the support of WWF, UNESCO, UNEP, and growing national efforts, the MPA concept evolved to include biosphere reserves, marine reserves and sanctuaries, large ocean reserves, and other designations that aimed to reconcile long-term protection with human use. From the 1980s, MPAs greatly expanded in number and scope. By the turn of the millennium, MPAs were proliferating, and principles and methodologies were available to guide their establishment and management in a harmonized manner. Zoning for different uses was widespread, but questions were being raised about the efficacy of biodiversity conservation in areas where extractive uses were permitted. MPA implementation accelerated once targets were introduced by the Convention on Biological Diversity. Campaigns and fundraising by non-governmental organizations and further national efforts resulted in a rapid increase although, by 2015, less than 4% of ocean surface was protected. Current challenges include: (1) understanding the role of MPAs in maintaining ecosystem services, fishery management, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and other emergent problems; (2) more rigorous network design; (3) effective governance and demonstration of ‘success’; and (4) integrating MPAs with marine spatial planning. While MPAs have provided one of the most viable and politically acceptable approaches to marine conservation for 50 years, their role in developing a fully effective marine ecosystems management regime has yet to be fully explored and understood. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Ban N.C.,James Cook University | Cinner J.E.,James Cook University | Adams V.M.,James Cook University | Mills M.,James Cook University | And 4 more authors.
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems | Year: 2012

Many marine ecosystems are in critical decline. Iterative assessments of the costs, benefits, and problems associated with conservation initiatives such as marine protected areas (MPAs) can help to improve their effectiveness. The increasingly popular framework of marine spatial planning (MSP) provides opportunities for improving marine management but also needs to avoid similar shortfalls to those identified for MPAs. There is a critical need for realistic presentation of the scope and capacity of MPAs to counteract biodiversity loss, both in isolation and as part of marine spatial planning or other approaches to complementary management. The purpose of this viewpoint is to generate increased momentum to integrate MPAs with other strategies and to recognize the important advances that have been made in MPA planning, implementation and management. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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