Journal article

Global conservation outcomes depend on marine protected areas with five key features

Graham J Edgar, Rick D Stuart-Smith, Trevor J Willis, Stuart Kininmonth, Susan C Baker, Stuart Banks, Neville S Barrett, Mikel A Becerro, Anthony TF Bernard, Just Berkhout, Colin D Buxton, Stuart J Campbell, Antonia T Cooper, Marlene Davey, Sophie C Edgar, Guenter Foersterra, David E Galvan, Alejo J Irigoyen, David J Kushner, Rodrigo Moura Show all

NATURE | NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP | Published : 2014

Abstract

In line with global targets agreed under the Convention on Biological Diversity, the number of marine protected areas (MPAs) is increasing rapidly, yet socio-economic benefits generated by MPAs remain difficult to predict and under debate. MPAs often fail to reach their full potential as a consequence of factors such as illegal harvesting, regulations that legally allow detrimental harvesting, or emigration of animals outside boundaries because of continuous habitat or inadequate size of reserve. Here we show that the conservation benefits of 87 MPAs investigated worldwide increase exponentially with the accumulation of five key features: no take, well enforced, old (>10 years), large (>100 ..

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University of Melbourne Researchers

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Funding Acknowledgements

We thank the many Reef Life Survey (RLS) divers who contributed to data collection. Development of the RLS data set was supported by the former Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities Program, whereas analyses were supported by the Australian Research Council, a Fulbright Visiting Scholarship (to G.J.E.), the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, and the Marine Biodiversity Hub, a collaborative partnership funded under the Australian Government's National Environmental Research Program. Surveys were assisted by grants from the National Geographic Society, Conservation International, Wildlife Conservation Society, Winifred Violet Scott Trust, Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, University of Tasmania, and ASSEMBLE Marine. We are grateful to the many park officers who assisted the study by providing permits and assisting with field activities, and to numerous marine institutions worldwide for hosting survey trips.