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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Variables

Variable TypeOrdinal
Variable Component TypeGovernance System
Variable KindComponent
ThemeBiophysical (learn about themes)
QuestionDoes the marine protected area protect an ecologically coherent area (i.e., limited or protected by deep water or sand) within no-take zones?
Select Options1 Low, 2 Medium, 3 High
ImportanceMPAs with clear physical delineation of habitats, such as an area of deep water (>25m) or a large expanse of sand from MPAs with shallow reef habitat extending to fished areas (“isolation”) has been found to be a categorical factor that has a strong influence on an increase in fish community level biomass and richness metrics (Edgar et al. 2014). This may be because compliance may be higher in these MPAs because they are well demarcated and readily recognised by fishers and more easily policed than coastlines with complicated mosaics of zoning.

This variable was defined by Edgar et al. (2014) and termed ‘isolation’, referring to the degree that the protected/unfished reef habitat is isolated by habitat boundaries from adjacent fished reef, e.g by deeper water (>,25m) or an expanse of sand.

Check to see if this MPA was coded by Edgar et al.(2014) and if so use the ‘isolation’ rank assigned in their paper (column F “isolation” in the Excel Supplementary Material: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v506/n7487/extref/nature13022-s1.xlsx

Otherwise rankings to be used are:
Low: shallow (,25 m) reef habitat extends continuously across MPA boundary
Medium: a small (1–20%) percentage of zone boundary breached by continuous shallow reef habitat
High: MPA zone isolated from fishing areas by depth (.25m) or sand barriers of at least 20m width.
Note - if an island is all no take then it is classed as High.



SectorsMarine protected areas

Theory Usages

TheoryValue Used
Ecological effectiveness of MPAsYes

Associated Studies

Study Citation

Component Usages

ComponentValue UsedExplanation
GBR Marine Park Act 1975-1999Low (1)The Coastal MPA and GBRMPA are adjacent to land they are not protected by deep water or sand.
GBR Marine Park Act 2004-currentLow (1)The coastal MPA and GBRMPA are adjacent to the coast and are not separated by deep water or sand.
Wakatobi National Park 2008-currentMedium (2)The MPA as a whole covers an ecologically coherent area. Some of the no-take zones cover full reefs/atolls (fulfilling this variable), but some no-take zones are only portions of continuous reef, therefore coded as medium.
Raja Ampat Governance SystemMedium (2)Coded as medium as some of the MPAs are all no take, but others aren't. And from the zoning map it appears not all reefs are included within MPAs, e.g. in Mayalilbit the MPA covers a portion of the reef area, and Dampier Strait some there is no clear boundary at the south-east portion of this MPA.
Joint Sanctuary Management Governance System Low (1)The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary was coded "Low" by Edgar and these Sanctuaries are is very similar. The sanctuaries compose of a diverse set of bottom habitats and fluctuating depths from bays and estuaries and from shoreline to the continental shelf. These NMS are adjacent to heavily populated coastline, but certain areas are further away, more coherent, and (e.g. Cordell Bank) are more isolated.
Macquarie Island Marine Park Management PlanLow (1)No-take areas are not clearly distinguished from habitat species management zone on the basis of depth or benthic characteristics.
Heard Island and McDonald Islands Fishery Management PlanNot Applicable
Self.organized rules and norms for SCUBA divingLow (1)Area protects coral reefs around small island only
Marine Areas for Responsible Fishing (AMPRs) Costa RicaLow (1)
NWHI Monument Act 2006Low (1)The Monument boundary extends into deep, pelagic waters so not clearly delineated
Svalbard Environmental Protection ActLow (1)The Nature Reserves, which protect both land and sea regions, are based more around terrestrial geography (the islands) than on oceanic ecology. Boundaries in the marine zone merely follow 12nm around the islands which are protected.
Seaflower MPA Act 2005Medium (2)I would imagine give that it is considerably large. At least this is the case for different habitat types.
Galapagos Governance System 1998-currentLow (1)Edgar coded 3 different parts of the GMR: two as low and one as medium - therefore coded as low here.
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Plan of Management 2000 - 2005 and Management Plan 2005 - 2012Low (1)The MMPZ and the BPZ of the GABMP (CW) are not isolated by habitat boundaries. The MMPZ is adjacent to the South Australian GABMP (State) and extends from 3 nautical miles to approximately 12 nautical miles offshore and the BPZ is a 20 nautical miles wide zone that extends to the edge of Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone.
Heard and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve Management PlanLow (1)The MPA is based on CAR principles (being comprehensive, adequate and representative), thus on having a certain percentage of habitats covered. In some areas, it has some coherence (e.g., protecting an entire bank), but in other areas, it has little to no coherence (e.g., MPA boundaries draw as hard lines and squares with on apparent ecologically significance).
Cenderwasih governance systemLow (1)There is no clear deliniation of boundaries- the MPA covers half of a large bay. No-take areas are fairly small but focus on reefs and islands, and so are probably likely visable
Caeté-Taperaçú Extractive Reserve (RESEX) in BrazilHigh (3)