Marine Protected Area Governance

Marine Protected Area Governance (MPAG)

Book derived from this project

This project and the related book - Governing Marine Protected Areas: resilience through diversity - addresses some important challenges related to the effective and equitable governance of marine protected areas (MPAs). These challenges are explored through a study of 20 MPA case studies from around the world. A novel governance analysis framework is employed to address some key questions: How can top-down and bottom-up approaches to MPA governance be combined? What does this mean, in reality, in different contexts? How can we develop and implement governance approaches that are both effective in achieving conservation objectives and equitable in fairly sharing associated costs and benefits?

This project and the book explore the many issues that these questions raise, as well as exploring options for addressing them. A key theme is that MPA governance needs to combine people, state and market approaches, rather than being based on one approach and its related ideals. Building on a critique of the governance analysis framework developed for common-pool resources, the book puts forward a more holistic and less prescriptive framework for deconstructing and analyzing the governance of MPAs. This inter-disciplinary analysis is aimed at supporting the development of MPA governance approaches that build social-ecological resilience through both institutional and biological diversity. It will also make a significant contribution to wider debates on natural resource governance, as it poses some critical questions for contemporary approaches to related research and offers an alternative theoretical and empirical approach.

This project involves a new partnership amongst a group of governance experts, led by Dr Peter JS Jones (Dept of Geography, University College London), in collaboration with Dr Elizabeth De Santo, Dr Wanfei Qiu, and MPA planners and managers, in collaboration with and initial funding from UNEP. It was established to analyse MPA case studies and develop guidance on governing MPAs in seas under national jurisdiction. 20 MPA case study from around the world have been brought together in the preliminary phase and subjected to detailed analysis employing a new governance analysis framework, ‘deconstructing’ the complexities of MPA governance (MPAG) employing 36 incentives from five categories. The book describes the findings of this work. It is intended to provide a foundation for further discussion and learning, employing the governance analysis framework in different contexts, and to provide a preliminary resource for MPA managers to consider how different incentives might be combined to support the governance of their MPA.

Governing Marine Protected Areas: resilience through diversity - published 25 February 2014. The book is available from Earthscan/Routledge, 20% discount code DC361 taking the price to £40.00 (until 31 December 2014). See leaflet (including seven reviews) and blog for more details on this book.

Recent developments

  • Comment in Nature based on book as part of 'to-do list for the world's parks' - Assess Governance Structures
  • Comprehensive and positive review of book by Bob Earll: "This book does the rare thing of putting the social into the socio-ecology of protected areas and  provides valuable insights into natural resource management  in general... This is a very significant book providing clarity of structure, evidence and insight into the neglected area of social science and marine protected areas. This insight has a value way beyond MPAs, to marine conservation and environmental issues in general"
  • Presentation based on recent book at Oceans Institute, University of Western Australia: Governing MPAs: resilience through diversity (28 July 2014). This presentation argues that governance systems tend to be more resilient to the driving forces that can challenge the fulfillment of conservation objectives where a larger diversity of different incentives are used in combination. It discussed how this is analogous to ecological systems, which tend to be more resilient where a larger diversity of species is present.
  • Interview in MPA News drawing on Governing MPAs book -  Achieving conservation objectives and social equity goals
  • Book briefly reviewed in Nature on 20 March (Vol 507, p.305): Barbara Kiser notes that MPAs cover little more than 2% of the world's oceans despite an internationally agreed target of 10% by 2020. As many scientists have found, thousands of those that do exist are also little more than 'paper parks'. She adds: "Entering these choppy waters is geographer Peter Jones, who shows, through some 20 case studies, how and how not to govern MPAs effectively. Jones compellingly concludes that a diversity of incentives, from economic to social, is as essential as the diversity of the ecosystems MPAs are designed to protect."
  • Linked In discussion group established on MPA governance questions arising from the case studies, and on related papers, issues, potential case studies, etc
  • Special Issue of the journal Marine Policy based on MPAG research findings published - Governing marine protected areas: towards social-ecological resilience through institutional diversity - includes introductory paper (journal version and open copy), synthesis paper (journal version and open copy) and 15 case study papers - See Outline and Full Contents List: English, Spanish and Portuguese version
  • MPAG findings presented at Wildaid Global MPA Enforcement Conference (26 November, 2012). Peter Jones gave a plenary opening presentation: Governing MPAs - resilience through diversity.
  • Nature news feature 'Ocean Conservation: uncertain sanctuary' discusses some of the findings of this report. The editorial of this issue of Nature discusses this news feature: 'Troubled Waters'
  • MPA News feature on MPA Governance report
  • Technical report published - Governing Marine Protected Areas: getting the balance right - Volume 1 Main Report - Volume 2 Case Study Reports (March 2010)

Next MPAG phase: global meta-analysis

The pilot phase of the marine protected area governance (MPAG) project, funded by UNEP, provided for the development and testing of an analytical framework for deconstructing governance in any given MPA. Funds are now being sought to apply this MPA governance analytical framework to a larger number of MPA case studies around the world, the target being 200 case studies. This qualitative meta-analysis will assess the effectiveness of MPA governance institutions in achieving biodiversity and resource conservation objectives, with the aim of analysing the different combinations of incentives that are effective in particular contexts, providing for the identification of 'good practice' in MPA governance, including the potential for the transferability of good practice to other MPAs. This will provide a vital resource for MPA managers as well as providing for comparisons of MPA effectiveness with the governance approach employed. Please contact Dr Peter JS Jones if you have any sources of or suggestions for such funding.

Page last modified on 18 nov 14 15:30