Future-Proof Ocean Governance: Re-conceptualizing Dynamic Marine Protected Areas

Bastiaan Ewoud Klerk, Katharina Heinrich

Tutkimustuotokset: KonferenssiesitysAbstraktiTieteellinen


The Ocean is an inherently fluid and highly dynamic environment. Yet, the present ocean governance system for the conservation of marine biodiversity seems to presuppose a situation of equilibrium, as it substantially depends on a conventional suite of area-based management tools (ABMTs), including marine protected areas (MPAs), which are in virtually all instances static. The rigidity of their boundaries and measures creates a disconnect between the dynamic nature of marine ecosystems and the immobility of MPAs. In the case of ecosystems which consist of fixed structures (e.g., coral reefs) this approach may be appropriate, however even the species inhabiting those ecosystems may be mere passers-by while engaged in transoceanic journeys. In addition, the MPA boundaries may become null and void as these organisms shift their distribution in response to human interferences (e.g., climate change), potentially moving beyond the confines of MPA borders. Furthermore, the measures put in place within MPAs may become less effective as ecosystem dynamics and composition transform in response to climate change or other anthropogenic impacts. To future-proof the ocean governance system, we argue that the set of management tools aiming to protect marine ecosystems, specifically MPAs, should be designed as to better reflect their dynamic nature. As such, the paper outlines a reconceptualization of the concept of ‘dynamic MPAs’, aligning their design with the dynamic nature of the Ocean. Their boundaries should be fluid and adjustable, not only in a geographical sense, but also in a temporal sense, through the development of ecological thresholds that trigger their establishment, expansion, or re-location, if applicable. Similarly, the conservation measures should be volatile and adaptive, subject to periodic review in tandem with a comprehensive monitoring program. In addition, mechanisms should be put in place which allow for the automatic adjustment of measures when an ecosystem surpasses certain ecological thresholds.
TilaHyväksytty/Painossa - 2023
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TapahtumaIUCN AEL Colloquium 2023: Future-Proofing Law in a Time of Environmental Emergency - Joensuu, Suomi
Kesto: 31 heinäk. 20234 elok. 2023


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