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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Variables

Variable TypeOrdinal
Variable Component TypeGovernance System
Variable KindComponent
ThemeInstitutions (learn about themes)
ProjectsSESMAD, Fiji fisheries
QuestionDoes this governance system focus exclusively on one target outcome, or on a range of metrics that are interrelated?
Select Options1 Low: One metric for success, 2 Medium: Few metrics for success, 3 High: Many metrics for success
ImportanceThis variable represents a trade-off between two goals: one is optimizing a system for one particular metric, which is generally the way make the system the most productive it can be, at least in the short and medium-term and with respect to this particular metric. On the other hand, many have argued that such optimization, when applied to complex systems, leaves many other important aspects of these systems in poor condition and can lead to a loss of system-wide resilience. There is thus a trade-off implied between efficiency/productivity and resilience that must be struck.

The diversity of metrics employed to both evaluate management performance, and unavoidably as a result, to guide management decisions, is a defining characteristic of any governance system. Many systems focus on only one metric for performance and optimize the target commons for the management of this metric. Examples of this include single-species fisheries management, many pollution cases that deal with a single target pollutant, much of the governance and management of industrial agricultural, many systems in the history of scientific forestry, and in some cases large-scale water management. A similar situation has occurred in implementations of the endangered species act in the United States, although in these cases the single target species is hoped to be a good indicator of the health of the larger ecosystem. On the other end of the spectrum, more holistic approaches have been more popular, and are often captured by terms such as "ecosystem management", which strive to manage for multiple characteristics of a complex system, rather than one defining metric.


Theory Usages

TheoryValue Used
Metric diversity, biodiversity loss and resilienceLow
Conditions for general resilienceModerate or High
Failure of centralized controlLow
Numeric managementLow
Individual transferable quotas (ITQs)Low

Component Usages

ComponentValue UsedExplanation
GMR governance system 1998-currentMedium: Few metrics for success (2)Lobster, sea cucumber, and tuna are main fishing resources, surveyed for population growth or decline, as well as several health metrics within the populations
GBR Marine Park Act 1975-1999 
GBR Marine Park Act 2004-currentHigh: Many metrics for success (3)
Wakatobi National Park 2008-currentHigh: Many metrics for success (3)MPA manages for a range of outcomes - both ecological and social objectives (including: coral cover, fish spawning, fish abundance, turtles, seagrass, seabird habitat, resource use of users within the park) - although it has been difficult to find this information
NWHI Monument Act 2006High: Many metrics for success (3)Success metrics range from cultural perseverance in the Monument to ecological health (which includes fisheries, pollution, biodiversity, migratory species, trophic density, etc.)
Magnuson-Stevens ActHigh: Many metrics for success (3)
Raja Ampat Governance SystemHigh: Many metrics for success (3)Many metrics from social (perceptions) to ecological (turtles, coral, fish spawning)
Joint Sanctuary Management Governance System High: Many metrics for success (3)Metrics for success include effective education and outreach, resource protection, and research goals. Condition reports includes metrics on offshore and nearsore environments, and assess habitat, biodiversity, key species, human activities and human health, living resources, water quality, and maritime archaeological resources.
Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery Management PlanHigh: Many metrics for success (3)Governance system aims to maintain stocks at sustainable levels, but also seeks to limit bycatch, particularly seabird bycatch and the potential impacts of the fishing fleet on the environment.
Macquarie Island Nature Reserve Management Plan High: Many metrics for success (3)The management plan includes 10 major goals that include include conserving biodiversity, reversing negative conservation trends, maintaining quarantine procedures, limiting impact of tourism and research activities, preserving cultural heritage, and maintaining or improving natural ecological processes that are directly or indirectly related to human disturbance.
Community D Governance SystemHigh: Many metrics for success (3)Fish resources are managed with a number of different social, economic and ecological objectives.
Community A Governance SystemHigh: Many metrics for success (3)Community members express diverse social, economic and ecological goals for fisheries management.
Community C Governance SystemHigh: Many metrics for success (3)Fisheries resources are managed with a number of different social, economic and ecological objectives.
Community B Governance SystemHigh: Many metrics for success (3)Community members express a number of social, economic and ecological goals for fisheries management.
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management PlanLow: One metric for success (1)While the MSA specifies success of management plans to focus on 4 areas: prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, increase long-term economic and social benefits, and ensure a safe and sustainable supply of seafood, the Council writes that all sectors of the groundfish fishery are currently constrained by the need to rebuild groundfish species that have been declared overfished. Therefore there is an emphasis on rebuilding overfished stocks as a metric for success.
Svalbard Environmental Protection ActHigh: Many metrics for success (3)The Environmental Protection Act and the Regulations of 1973 specify what is and is not allowed within the Nature Reserves. Therefore, there are no formal “goals for management” for which to gauge success. The ongoing monitoring program does keep track of a few metrics for each of several species (e.g. number of dens, litter size, cub survival for polar bears). The Governor also collects information of many social indicators on Svalbard. Despite the lack of formal management goals, there are many metrics of success (including various species of marine fauna, pollution levels, hunting, fishing, cruise traffic, etc.).
Seaflower MPA Act 2005MissingNO DATA
Community G Governance SystemHigh: Many metrics for success (3)Fisheries resources are managed with a number of different social, economic and ecological objectives.
Community E Governance SystemHigh: Many metrics for success (3)Local fisheries are managed with a number of different social, economic and ecological objectives.
Community F Governance SystemHigh: Many metrics for success (3)Fisheries within the LMMA are managed with a number of different social, economic and ecological objectives.
Community H Governance SystemHigh: Many metrics for success (3)Fish resources are managed with a number of different social, economic and ecological objectives.
Galapagos Governance System 1998-currentHigh: Many metrics for success (3)A variety of ecological factors are monitored, inlcuding fisheries lobster, sea cucumber, and movements of migratory species sharks, turtles. Water quality. Also Galapagos Report 2011-2012 includes sections on tourism and poverty - so assume some social metrics also measured.
Macquarie Island Marine Park Management PlanHigh: Many metrics for success (3)Management plans include a wide range of goals, including preservation of species and habitats, and the elimination of invasive species and minimization of potential threats. The management plan adopts an ecosystem-based approach to management and aims to coordinate regulations with the nature reserve and CCAMLR.
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Plan of Management 2000 - 2005 and Management Plan 2005 - 2012High: Many metrics for success (3)The Plan of Management is written to conform to the Australia and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) best practice model for performance reporting in natural resource management (ANZECC 1997) with an emphasis on measurable performance indicators, targets and monitoring. The Plan of Management is a statutory document intended to be in force for a long period of time, so therefore, the performance assessment details are to be presented in a separate document to allow for new knowledge and feedback to management during the duration of the Plan. Wherever possible, the research requirements are to be closely linked to the performance assessment requirements of the Park. Criteria and Priorities for the GABMP Performance Indicators are outlined in the 2000 - 2005 Management Plan with primary goals for each protection zone and the whole park along with possible research and performance assessment priorities. In the 2005 - 2012 Management Plan, a Performance Assessment Framework was developed by the Director of National Parks that consists of seven Key Result Areas and sets out prescriptions on how each one will be managed.
Heard and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve Management PlanHigh: Many metrics for success (3)The MPA management plan includes a variety of inter-related goals for biodiversity conservation, sustainable management, protection of areas occupied by species during different life history stages (e.g., juveniles toothfish grounds, nesting areas for seabirds, foraging areas for birds and mammals), reduction of invasive species threats, and more.
Heard Island and McDonald Islands Fishery Management PlanHigh: Many metrics for success (3)AFMA aims to maintain stocks at sustainable levels, while also attempting ecosystem based management. This includes having bycatch limits and mitigation measures for avoiding seabirds.
Cenderwasih governance system 
The Falkland Islands Government (FIG) Fisheries Department’s Falklands Interim Conservation and Management Zone (FICZ)Medium: Few metrics for success (2) “At the introduction of the Fisheries regime in 1987, the management objectives were stated (Anon., 1989) as being: 1) To conserve the resource, and thus ensure its continued productivity. 2) To maintain the economic viability of the fisheries as a whole. 3) To enable the Falklands to enjoy greater benefits from the resource. These objectives are still relevant today.” (Barton 2002) ITQ goals include: diversification, economic performance, research and development investment, increased international competitiveness, government income increases, environmental stewardship (Harte and Barton 2007a). Primary goal: Stability. Achieved.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Market Squid Fishery Management PlanMedium: Few metrics for success (2)Primarily ecosystem health and stock health. The MLMA calls for achieving its primary goal of sustainability by meeting several objectives: • preventing overfishing; • rebuilding depressed stocks; • ensuring conservation; • promoting habitat protection and restoration. Capacity Goal: maintain a sustainable squid resource and provide for a fishery that is diverse, stable, and profitable. (FMA 2005)
New Zealand Quota Management SystemLow: One metric for success (1)Our goal is to have New Zealanders maximising benefits from the use of fisheries within environmental limits. Has multiple Use Outcomes, Environment Outcomes, and Governance Outcomes. However: In reality the squid management has one outcome: Reduce sea lion mortality. (Other goal is to manage the TACC, but less so in reality). Greater outcomes and goals, but less in reality.