Resilient MPA Design
The design of a resilient MPA network encompasses cross-disciplinary considerations contributing to how management decisions are ultimately made and implemented.1,2,3,4,5 This section is intended to support coral reef MPA planners and managers in the selection of resilient coral communities for protection, and in the determination of MPA zones and boundaries.
Five criteria are provided to help guide the design and planning for individual MPAs and MPA networks. These criteria are applied to data collected and analyzed through the preceding steps, to help filter out the most suitable sites for protection, with the goal of building resilient MPA networks.
The following guidelines are intended to provide a baseline from which managers and planners can initiate, assess, and modify the MPA network design to reach an effective MPA network.
- Protect multiple examples of the full range of coral habitat types.
- Ensure critical areas are incorporated.
- Incorporate connectivity.
- Consider size, shape and space.
- Identify and accommodate for the social relationships, dynamics, cultural traditions, values and socioeconomic aspects of the MPA.
Overall, the ecological design criteria for selecting coral reef MPA sites should:
- be based on a broad spectrum of data collected on different community types, distribution, resistance and resilience factors, and socioeconomic factors
- favor the protection of maximum biodiversity
- safeguard ecological processes and species
A Literature Review of Biophysical Guidelines for MPA Network Design and Implementation (download pdf, 213k)
Establishing Resilient Marine Protected Area Networks—Making it Happen (download pdf, 6,157k)
Preserving Reef Connectivity: A Handbook for Marine Protected Area Managers (download pdf, 4,136k)
1 Gaines et al. 2003
2 Allison et al. 1998
3 Gerber et al. 2003
4 Halpern 2006
5 Sala et al. 2002