Marine reserves as linked social–ecological systems

Pollnac, Richard, Christie, Patrick, Cinner, Joshua E., Dalton, Tracey, Daw, Tim M., Forrester, Graham E., Graham, Nicholas A.J., and McClanahan, Timothy R. (2010) Marine reserves as linked social–ecological systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107 (43). pp. 18262-18265.

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Marine reserves are increasingly recognized as having linked social and ecological dynamics. This study investigates how the ecological performance of 56 marine reserves throughout the Philippines, Caribbean, and Western Indian Ocean (WIO) is related to both reserve design features and the socioeconomic characteristics in associated coastal communities. Ecological performance was measured as fish biomass in the reserve relative to nearby areas. Of the socioeconomic variables considered, human population density and compliance with reserve rules had the strongest effects on fish biomass, but the effects of these variables were region specific. Relationships between population density and the reserve effect on fish biomass were negative in the Caribbean, positive in the WIO, and not detectable in the Philippines. Differing associations between population density and reserve effectiveness defy simple explanation but may depend on human migration to effective reserves, depletion of fish stocks outside reserves, or other social factors that change with population density. Higher levels of compliance reported by resource users was related to higher fish biomass in reserves compared with outside, but this relationship was only statistically significant in the Caribbean. A heuristic model based on correlations between social, cultural, political, economic, and other contextual conditions in 127 marine reserves showed that high levels of compliance with reserve rules were related to complex social interactions rather than simply to enforcement of reserve rules. Comparative research of this type is important for uncovering the complexities surrounding human dimensions of marine reserves and improving reserve management.

Item ID: 12134
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1091-6490
Keywords: coral reef; human–environment interactions; socioeconomic social-ecological system; marine protected area
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2010 00:48
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 30%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160802 Environmental Sociology @ 30%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830204 Wild Caught Fin Fish (excl. Tuna) @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 50%
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