MPA Science Corner: MPA trade-offs - Addressing criticisms of large-scale MPAs - Curbing threats

MPA News

These recent articles or preprints on MPA-related science and policy are all free to access.

Article: Davies, T. E. et al. “Assessing trade-offs in large marine protected areas.” PLOS ONE 13, e0195760 (2018)

Finding: Although the ideal for MPAs is that they provide beneficial outcomes for people and the environment, the reality is that there are often trade-offs. In this study of the outcomes of 12 large MPAs, the authors found evidence of three types of trade-offs: (1) between different ecological resources (supply trade-offs); (2) between ecological resource conditions and the well-being of resource users (supply-demand trade-offs); and (3) between the well-being outcomes of different resource users (demand trade-offs). The study suggests that large MPAs may improve their performance across multiple social and ecological objectives if integrated with larger-scale conservation efforts.


Article: O’Leary, B. C. et al. “Addressing Criticisms of Large-Scale Marine Protected Areas.” Bioscience 68:5 (2018)

Finding: Large-scale MPAs are 100,000 km2 in area or larger. This paper identifies several common criticisms of large-scale MPAs along three themes: (1) placement, governance, and management; (2) political expediency; and (3) social-ecological value and cost. The authors conclude that although some criticisms are valid and need addressing, none pertain exclusively to large-scale MPAs, and many involve challenges ubiquitous in management.


Preprint: Zupan, M. et al. “How good is your marine protected area at curbing threats?” Biological Conservation 221, 237 - 245 (2018)

Finding: This study applies indices to quantify MPA effectiveness in reducing anthropogenic threats (extractive and non-extractive) in and around 15 Mediterranean MPAs. The authors show that fully protected areas effectively eliminated extractive activities. However, within partially protected areas the intensity of artisanal and recreational fishing was actually higher than that found outside MPAs. In addition, both fully and partially protected areas attracted non-extractive activities (tourism) that posed potential threats.


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In addition, OCTO – the organization that produces MPA News and OpenChannels – also runs MarXiv, the free research repository for marine conservation science and marine climate change science. Each week the MarXiv team produces brief, one-page summaries of selected papers in its repository for an audience of managers and policymakers. Share your research in MarXiv now and we may summarize your paper, too!

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