Predicting impact to assess the efficacy of community-based marine reserve design

Smallhorn-West, Patrick F., Bridge, Tom C.L., Malimali, Siola'a, Pressey, Robert L., and Jones, Geoffrey P. (2019) Predicting impact to assess the efficacy of community-based marine reserve design. Conservation Letters, 12 (1). e12602.

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During the planning phase the efficacy of different strategies to manage marine resources should ultimately be assessed by their potential impact, or ability to make a difference to ecological and social outcomes. While community-based and systematic approaches to establishing marine protected areas have their strengths and weaknesses, comparisons of their effectiveness often fail to explicitly address potential impact. Here, we predict conservation impact to compare recently implemented community-based marine reserves in Tonga to a systematic configuration specifically aimed at maximizing impact. Boosted regression tree outputs indicated that fishing pressure accounted for ∼24% of variation in target species biomass. We estimate that the community-based approach provides 84% of the recovery potential of the configuration with the greatest potential impact. This high potential impact results from community-based reserves being located close to villages, where fishing pressure is greatest. These results provide strong support for community-based marine management, with short-term benefits likely to accrue even where there is little scope for systematic reserve design.

Item ID: 57322
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1755-263X
Keywords: boosted regression trees, community-based management, conservation biology, fishing pressure, marine protected area, predictive impact, spatial planning, Tonga
Copyright Information: © 2018 The Authors.
Funders: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, McIntyre Adventure Marine Discovery Centre
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2019 07:36
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410406 Natural resource management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960902 Coastal and Estuarine Land Management @ 100%
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