Strategies in scheduling marine protected area establishment in a network system

Kininmonth, Stuart, Weeks, Rebecca, Abesamis, Rene A., Bernardo, Lawrence Patrick C., Beger, Maria, Treml, Eric A., Williamson, David, and Pressey, Robert L. (2019) Strategies in scheduling marine protected area establishment in a network system. Ecological Applications, 29 (1). e01820.

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Instantaneous implementation of systematic conservation plans at regional scales is rare. More typically, planned actions are applied incrementally over periods of years or decades. During protracted implementation, the character of the connected ecological system will change as a function of external anthropogenic pressures, local metapopulation processes, and environmental fluctuations. For heavily exploited systems, habitat quality will deteriorate as the plan is implemented, potentially influencing the schedule of protected area implementation necessary to achieve conservation objectives. Understanding the best strategy to adopt for applying management within a connected environment is desirable, especially given limited conservation resources. Here, we model the sequential application of no‐take marine protected areas (MPAs) in the central Philippines within a metapopulation framework, using a range of network‐based decision rules. The model was based on selecting 33 sites for protection from 101 possible sites over a 35‐yr period. The graph‐theoretic network criteria to select sites for protection included PageRank, maximum degree, closeness centrality, betweenness centrality, minimum degree, random, and historical events. We also included a dynamic strategy called colonization–extinction rate that was updated every year based on the changing capacity of each site to produce and absorb larvae. Each rule was evaluated in the context of achieving the maximum metapopulation mean lifetime at the conclusion of the implementation phase. MPAs were designated through the alteration of the extinction risk parameter. The highest ranked criteria were PageRank while the actual implementation from historical records ranked lowest. Our results indicate that protecting the sites ranked highest with regard to larval supply is likely to yield the highest benefit for fish abundance and fish metapopulation persistence. Model results highlighted the benefits of including network processes in conservation planning.

Item ID: 56868
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1051-0761
Keywords: conservation planning, larval networks, marine protected areas, metapopulation, PageRank algorithm, Philippines, scheduled implementation
Funders: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University (JCU), Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2019 07:30
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410406 Natural resource management @ 40%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410206 Landscape ecology @ 60%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961303 Protected Conservation Areas in Marine Environments @ 25%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960701 Coastal and Marine Management Policy @ 25%
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