From outcomes to inputs: What is required to achieve the ecological and socioeconomic potential of marine protected areas?




Bennett, Nathan
Dearden, Philip

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Marine Protected Areas Research Group/University of Victoria


Marine protected areas (MPAs) are one tool that has been shown to be effective for achieving marine conservation objectives. MPAs might also result in beneficial social and economic outcomes for local communities through, for example, increasing fish abundance and the resultant spillover into surrounding fisheries or the creation of alternative livelihoods. Yet the percentage of MPAs that might be considered “successful” on ecological and/or socio-economic accounts is debatable. MPA scholars and conservation organizations alike have suggested that much remains to be understood about what the requirements are for successful implementation and operation of MPAs. It is on this problem that this paper focuses through asking: “What inputs are required to achieve the potential ecological, social, and economic outcomes of marine protected areas?” In this paper, we discuss the potential positive and negative outcomes of MPAs and explore the inputs required to achieve balanced and beneficial outcomes while giving consideration to the implications of local and macro contexts. Moreover, we suggest that a tripartite approach to MPA implementation and operations that gives appropriate and contextualized attention to governance, management, and development is more likely to lead to successful MPA outcomes as there are inherent feedbacks between the three inputs.


A working paper of Project IMPAACT and the Marine Protected Areas Research Group


marine protected areas, development, management, governance, success


Bennett, N. & Dearden, P. (2012). From Outcomes to Inputs: What is Required to Achieve the Ecological and Socio-Economic Potential of Marine Protected Areas? (Working Paper). Victoria, Canada: Marine Protected Areas Research Group/University of Victoria. 38 p.