Research advances and gaps in marine planning: towards a global database in systematic conservation planning

Alvarez-Romero, Jorge C., Mills, Morena, Adams, Vanessa M., Gurney, Georgina G., Pressey, Robert L., Weeks, Rebecca, Ban, Natalie C., Cheok, Jessica, Davis, Tammy E., Day, Jon C., Hamel, Melanie A., Leslie, Heather M., Magris, Rafael A., and Storlie, Collin J. (2018) Research advances and gaps in marine planning: towards a global database in systematic conservation planning. Biological Conservation. (In Press)

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Abstract

Systematic conservation planning (SCP) has increasingly been used to prioritize conservation actions, including the design of new protected areas to achieve conservation objectives. Over the last 10 years, the number of marine SCP studies has increased exponentially, yet there is no structured or reliable way to find information on methods, trends, and progress. The rapid growth in methods and marine applications warrants an updated analysis of the literature, as well as reflection on the need for continuous and systematic documentation of SCP exercises in general. To address these gaps, we developed a database to document SCP exercises and populated it with 155 marine SCP exercises found in the primary literature. Based on our review, we provide an update on global advances and trends in marine SCP literature. We found accelerating growth in the number of studies over the past decade, with increasing consideration of socioeconomic variables, land-sea planning, and ecological connectivity. While several studies aimed to inform conservation decisions, we found little evidence of input from practitioners. There are important gaps in geographic coverage and little correspondence with areas most threatened. Five countries lead most studies, but their networks suggest potential for capacity building through collaborations. The varying quality and detail in documentation of studies confirmed the limited opportunities to develop and assess the application of best practice in conservation planning. A global database to track the development, implementation, and impact of SCP applications can thus provide numerous benefits. Our database constitutes an important step towards the development of a centralized repository of information on planning exercises and can serve several roles to advance SCP theory and practice: it facilitates assessing geographic coverage and gaps; scientists and practitioners can access information to identify trends in the use of data, methods, and tools; reviewers and editors of journals can assess whether studies have covered important literature and developments; donors and non-government organizations can identify regions needing further work; and practitioners and policy-makers can learn from previous plans.

Item ID: 55361
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Aichi biodiversity targets; integrated land-sea planning; marine conservation planning; marine protected areas; marine spatial planning; systematic conservation planning
Additional Information:

The paper is accompanied by the 'Global conservation planning database: marine proof-of-concept'. The Conservation Planning Database project (database.conservationplanning.org) aims to create a global database to help track the development, implementation, and impact of systematic conservation planning (SCP) applications, and improve scholarship in the field. The marine proof-of-concept database includes marine conservation planning exercises following a SCP approach to guide the spatial allocation of limited resources to achieve explicit conservation objectives. The marine SCP prototype currently contains 115 database fields and includes information on goals and objectives, geographic scope and location, targeted features, methods and decision-support tools, planning units, threats to features, stakeholder participation, planning outputs, and approaches to incorporating ecological connectivity, climate change, and socioeconomic considerations.

The marine proof-of-concept database is the most comprehensive and systematic compilation of marine SCP studies to date, thus providing a unique opportunity for scientists to access and analyse further aspects of marine planning. It provides a full and consistent coverage of the primary literature on marine SCP (155 case studies), and constitutes an important step towards the development of a centralized repository of key information on planning exercises worldwide.

Please cite both the paper: (a) Álvarez-Romero, J. G., M. Mills, V. M. Adams, G. G. Gurney, R. L. Pressey, R. Weeks, N. C. Ban, J. Cheok, T. E. Davies, J. C. Day, M. A. Hamel, H. M. Leslie, R. A. Magris, C. J. Storlie. 2018. Research advances and gaps in marine planning: towards a global database in systematic conservation planning. Biological Conservation: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2018.06.027 and (b) dataset: Alvarez-Romero, J. 2018. Global conservation planning database: marine proof-of-concept. James Cook University. [Data Files] http://dx.doi.org/10.4225/28/5b189660a6746

ISSN: 1873-2917
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), James Cook University
Research Data: http://dx.doi.org/10.4225/28/5b189660a6746
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2018 01:28
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 70%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961308 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas at Regional or Larger Scales @ 40%
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