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Expanding marine protected areas to include degraded coral reefs


Abelson, A and Nelson, PA and Edgar, GJ and Shashar, N and Reed, DC and Belmaker, J and Krause, G and Beck, MW and Brokovich, E and France, R and Gaines, SD, Expanding marine protected areas to include degraded coral reefs, Conservation Biology, 30, (6) pp. 1182-1191. ISSN 0888-8892 (2016) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1111/cobi.12722


Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a commonly applied solution to coral reef degradation, yet coral reefs continue to decline worldwide. We argue that expanding the range of MPAs to include degraded reefs (DR-MPA) could help reverse this trend. This approach requires new ecological criteria for MPA design, siting, and management. Rather than focusing solely on preserving healthy reefs, our approach focuses on the potential for biodiversity recovery and renewal of ecosystem services. The new criteria would help identify sites with the highest potential for recovery and the greatest resistance to future threats (e.g., increased temperature and acidification) and sites that contribute to MPA connectivity. The DR-MPA approach is a compliment rather than a substitute for traditional MPA design approaches. We believe that the DR-MPA approach can enhance the natural, or restoration-assisted, recovery of DRs and their ecosystem services; increase total reef area available for protection; promote more resilient and better-connected MPA networks; and improve conditions for human communities dependent on MPA ecosystem services.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:marine protected area, coral reef, marine reserve, human impact, conservation, ecological rehabilitation, ecological restoration, ecosystem degradation, marine ecosystems, MPA
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Edgar, GJ (Professor Graham Edgar)
ID Code:114336
Year Published:2016
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (LP100200122)
Web of Science® Times Cited:26
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2017-02-13
Last Modified:2018-04-19
Downloads:178 View Download Statistics

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