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|Back to Basics: An Empirical Study Demonstrating the Importance of Local-Level Dynamics for the Success of Tropical Marine Ecosystem-Based Management
|Year of Publication
|Christie P, Pollnac R, Oracion E, Sabonsolin A, Diaz R, Pietri D
|ecosystem-based management, MPA, MPA networks
|This analysis of marine ecosystem-based management (EBM) and marine protected area (MPA) networks in the Philippines demonstrates that local-level governance and institutional dynamics are central to management effectiveness. Using survey and in-terview data from 36 communities in the Central Visayas, key variables are identified that are correlated with and predictive of marine protected area success. Empirically based management guidelines are: (1) EBM and MPA design must be context appro-priate, (2) capacity development to develop MPA leadership and the technical skills are a good investment, (3) strict and fair punishment for infractions of legitimate rules should be utilized and appear to be welcomed by local residents, and (4) conflict and controversy are a predictable part of MPA design and implementation and need to be planned for. Most importantly, while scaling up management interventions can make both biological and institutional sense, there is a point at which institutional capacity is exceeded. This study strongly suggests that in the Philippines, and likely many other tropical contexts, establishing large-scale EBM, MPA networks, or extensive centrally planned zonation schemes based primarily on national law, international targets, and command-and-control policy are likely to fail. The pressing imperative of ocean-wide environmental decline should not be used to justify infeasible and poorly designed management interventions that ignore local dynamics and institutional constraints.