Journal article

Integrating regional conservation priorities for multiple objectives into national policy

Maria Beger, Jennifer McGowan, Eric A Treml, Alison L Green, Alan T White, Nicholas H Wolff, Carissa J Klein, Peter J Mumby, Hugh P Possingham



Multinational conservation initiatives that prioritize investment across a region invariably navigate trade-offs among multiple objectives. It seems logical to focus where several objectives can be achieved efficiently, but such multi-objective hotspots may be ecologically inappropriate, or politically inequitable. Here we devise a framework to facilitate a regionally cohesive set of marine-protected areas driven by national preferences and supported by quantitative conservation prioritization analyses, and illustrate it using the Coral Triangle Initiative. We identify areas important for achieving six objectives to address ecosystem representation, threatened fauna, connectivity and climate..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by USAID

Awarded by Australian Research Council Discovery Grant

Funding Acknowledgements

We acknowledge initial discussions with participants of the NCEAS working group 'Coral Triangle prioritization'. This project was supported and embraced by the country representatives of the Coral Triangle Initiative countries. The Permanent Regional Secretariat of the CTI-CFF ( is thanked for overall support. We thank members of the Malaysian and Indonesian delegation to the 4th MPA REX meeting in Honiara, Solomon Islands (March 2013) for help with proofing MPA locations in their countries. We thank the Coral Triangle Atlas team for region-wide MPA data. For assistance with Philippines marine reserve data, we thank R. Abesamis, J. Maypa, V. Horique and the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute marine reserve team for MPA data, and R. Venegas for updated data and zoning information. The Solomon Islands Locally Managed Marine Area network allowed access to the location of community-managed fishing closures. We thank SCRFA for the use of fish spawning aggregation data and are particularly indebted to Y. Sadovy de Mitchson. Turtle tracks and habitat data were provided by the WWF Indonesia program and their partners, and additional nesting site data by OBIS-SEAMAP. We thank S. Donner and L. Cao for their contribution of future SST and aragonite predictions to the coral degradation model. We further are grateful to UQ's High Performance Computing Centre for facilitating the connectivity analysis. Funding is acknowledged from the USAID-funded Coral Triangle Support Partnership through the USAID Project: GCP LWA Award # LAG-A-00-99-00048-00. M.B. was supported by an Early Career Research Award to the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CE110001014). This article was further supported by Australian Research Council grants and fellowships to H.P.P., an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP140100733) to C.J.K. and by Capturing Coral Reef Ecosystem Services (GEF/UQ) funding and an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship to P.J.M.