Exploring the balance of ecological, economic, governance, and social considerations in marine protected area network evaluations

Miller-Meehan, Mairi C. (2022) Exploring the balance of ecological, economic, governance, and social considerations in marine protected area network evaluations. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Marine protected area networks (MPANs) are a critical tool at the forefront of global marine biodiversity conservation and sustainable development agendas. MPANs are complex tools that seek to provide important ecological and human benefits. The Convention on Biological Diversity “Aichi Targets” were developed to safeguard biodiversity and enhance benefits for people through sustainable use. Target 11 (draft 2030 action Target 3) describes elements of the key (environmental, economic, governance, social) dimensions associated with MPANs from a global perspective. Understanding the balance of these interrelated dimensions in MPAN evaluations is critical to developing future conservation strategies that can adapt to changing contexts and conditions. This dissertation draws on Aichi Biodiversity Target 11, and its associated multidimensional foundation to understand how MPANs are evaluated toward their global targets. The research herein was grounded in this multidimensional context to offer insight into how MPANs have been evaluated. I performed a systematic literature review to understand the indicators used to evaluate Aichi Target 11 qualitative elements. Results showed that the qualitative elements were unevenly evaluated in MPAN literature. I then conducted a two-part online survey to characterize attributes of ecological, economic, governance, and social dimensions considered in MPAN evaluations, and identify the indicators used to evaluate them. Survey results indicated that MPANs with both biodiversity and socially-oriented objectives considered a larger suite of attributes in their evaluations than those without social considerations, without de-emphasizing ecological considerations. In practice, attributes were informed by a suite of indicators with varied composition, unlike the single, attribute-specific indicators identified in the literature. This dissertation aligned with an increased interest in MPANs that go beyond a focus solely on biodiversity conservation to encompass sustainable models, which incorporate socially-oriented objectives. The findings revealed limited use of approaches that holistically assess MPANs. Existing practices tend to be biased towards ecological and governance dimensions. Future research is needed to identify attributes and indicators to help elucidate challenges from all dimensions, and in every part of the MPAN process, from design through evaluation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/15884
Item ID: 15884
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references
Keywords: marine protected area network, indicators, protected area evaluation, survey
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Geography
Date: December 2022
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.48336/H7JR-0H17
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Marine parks and reserves--Evaluation; Marine resources conservation--Evaluation; Marine biodiversity conservation--Government policy; Convention on Biological Diversity “Aichi Targets”

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