Guidelines for applying the IUCN protected area management categories to marine protected areas: second edition
This resource provides supplementary information to the 2008 Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories, with a focus on applying that guidance to marine protected areas, and the authors state that this resource should be read in conjunction with the 2008 guidelines. There are several IUCN protected area management categories (Ia, Ib, II, III, IV, V, and VI) that have variations in their primary objectives and levels of protection. Firstly, to qualify for these categories, a potential MPA site must meet the IUCN definition of a protected area, as defined in the 2008 guidelines: “A protected area is a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values”, and in case of conflict with other goals, nature conservation needs to be the main purpose of the site. The relevant IUCN category can then be assigned based on the main management objective of the MPA, which must apply to at least 75% of the MPA. Once a governance type has also been assigned to these sites, they should be reported to the World Database on Protected Areas and the UN List of Protected Areas.
The publication contains seven main sections: 1. Introduction; 2. What is a marine protected area?; 3. Characteristics of the marine environment that affect protected area designation and IUCN category application; 4. The IUCN protected area management categories as applied to MPAs; 5. Applying the categories to different zones in an MPA; 6. Relationship between the categories and different activities; 7. Reporting to the World Database on Protected Areas and the UN List of Protected Areas.
Overall, the aim of this resource is to increase the accuracy and consistency of assigning and reporting the IUCN categories in relation to marine and coastal protected areas.
Key take aways:
- A potential marine protected area (MPA) must meet the 2008 IUCN definition of a protected area: “A protected area is a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values”.
- Once a site is known to meet the definition, it should be assigned to one of the IUCN protected area categories (Ia, Ib, II, III, IV, V, or VI) based on which category is most aligned with the primary management objective of the MPA, which needs to apply to 75% of the site.
- The primary distinction between MPAs and other area-based measures, such as fishery management areas, lies in the fact that the main objective of MPAs, regardless of their form, is the conservation of biodiversity.
Large-scale marine protected areas: guidelines for design and management
This resource provides guidance on the best available practices for large-scale marine protected areas (LSMPAs), which are defined in these guidelines as areas greater than 150,000 km². LSMPAs are an important part of achieving marine conservation goals and they provide numerous ecological, economic, and cultural benefits. However, they also face challenges such as achieving effective jurisdictional and interagency coordination, maintaining sufficient budgets, addressing stakeholder rights, conducting consistent research and monitoring, and providing surveillance and enforcement. LSMPAs are distinct from smaller MPAs as they encompass entire marine ecosystems and ecological processes, provide scientific baselines, and protect extensive cultural spaces.
The publication contains four main sections: 1. Introduction, which explains the role of governance in LSMPAs, why they are valuable, and the challenges they face; 2. Designing LSMPAs, which introduces what good design entails, includes internal and external considerations, as well as planning details; 3. Management Planning, which details considerations such as working with multiple jurisdictions, timelines, deciding the best management approach, engaging with the public, sustainable financing, and other details; 4. Managing LSMPAs, which describes what managing LSMPAs involves, the components of management, reassessing the legal framework, and other considerations. The publication also contains 28 related case studies.
Overall, the aim of this resource is to enhance the efficacy of LSMPAs to enable them to effectively contribute to global conservation objectives and also benefit people.
Key take aways:
- Large-scale marine protected areas (LSMPAs) are defined as areas greater than 150,000 km² in this resource and are distinctive from smaller MPAs as they encompass entire marine ecosystems, protect critical habitats of many migratory species, act as living laboratories, and protect extensive cultural spaces.
- LSMPAs have many benefits as they can promote and preserve biodiversity, protect cultural landscapes/seascapes, enhance food security, support international cooperation, and enhance protected area networks and national conservation strategies. However, existing managers consistently cite challenges such as achieving effective jurisdictional and interagency coordination, maintaining sufficient budgets and developing viable sustainable financing plans, addressing stakeholder rights, conducting consistent research and monitoring, and providing surveillance and enforcement.
- LSMPAs must be well-designed. The key considerations for designing an LSMPA include (a) assessing the most urgent needs and hiring qualified staff early, (b) prioritising hiring a qualified science or research coordinator, (c) building partnerships, (d) assessing relationships between governance and management entities, (e) utilising existing legislation first, (f) characterising the biophysical and social science aspects of the site in parallel, (g) employing systematic conservation strategies and adaptive management practices, (h) carefully listening to stakeholders, and (i) thoughtfully developing outreach materials for the site.