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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Variables

Variable TypeOrdinal
Variable Component TypeGovernance System
Variable KindComponent
ThemeInstitutions (learn about themes)
QuestionAre areas of known or suspected importance to connectivity protected within this MPA, and sites are well distributed across the region with a range of distances between sites?
Select Options1 No, 2 Partially, 3 Yes
ImportanceThis concept comes from the systematic conservation planning literature for designing resilient MPAs. A key premise of a network is that individual MPAs interact through ecological linkages. For example, the connectivity between mangroves, seagrass and coral reef systems provides a functional role; mediating the exchange of resources and providing critical habitat for certain life history stages of species that move between those habitats through their life stages (Mumby 2006).

Connectivity describes the extent to which populations in different parts of a species’ range are linked by the exchange of eggs, larvae recruits or other propagules, juveniles or adults (Palumbi 2003). For an MPA to have considered Connectivity appropriately it must have been considered using the best available data at a range of scales and  not be focused on one element or one species.

Yes: Connectivity was considered when designing the MPA, and the MPA encompasses linked habitats (e.g. coral reef and seagrass) and there is some understanding of species lifecycles (larval dispersal and adult movements)

Partially: Connectivity was considered when designing the MPA, and the MPA encompasses some linked habitats or there is some understanding of species lifecycles

No: Connectivity was not appropriately considered when designing this MPA

SectorsMarine protected areas

Theory Usages

TheoryValue Used

Component Usages

ComponentValue UsedExplanation
GBR Marine Park Act 1975-1999Partially (2)The initial zoning plan did not deliberately consider connectivity in its design or coverage of areas, but did have a range of no-take areas distributed through the broader MPA.
GBR Marine Park Act 2004-currentYes (3)Connectivity was specifically taken into account in re-zoning the GBRMP. Information about connectivity is fairly limited, though (as in most marine systems).
Wakatobi National Park 2008-currentYes (3)Connectivity was considered during the zoning of the WNP. Information on larval dispersal and climate change was not yet available but the following rules of thumb were used in Wakatobi zoning design revision:  Size of no-take zones: minimum = 13 km2 / maximum = 365 km2  Distance between no-take zones: minimum = 10 km / maximum = 20 km  30% of coral reefs (fringing, barrier, atoll and patch)  40% of mangrove forests  20% of seagrass beds  100% of Fish Spawning Aggregation sites  100% of turtle nesting sites  100% of seabird nesting sites
NWHI Monument Act 2006Yes (3)A range of areas and levels of connectivity were considered when establishing the MPA. The NWHI has a high range of different areas, such as nesting grounds, coral reefs, atolls and sand banks, deep water foraging grounds and sea grass areas. Ranges of distances were not explicit.
Raja Ampat Governance SystemYes (3)This is a network of MPAs with sites distributed across the region. Knowledge of currents was apparently considered when designing MPAs (see Agostini et al. 2012)
Joint Sanctuary Management Governance System Yes (3)The MPA network designated by the state includes small reserves within the sanctuaries specifically designated for ecological connectivity purposes (Laffoley et al. 2008). The three national marine sanctuaries are bordering to further strengthen resource protection and ensure consistency among the 3 NMSs. None of the sanctuaries are divided into distinct sites, rather a geometric shaped identified by coordinates. The estuaries in the region are important support systems for the ecosystem, particularly Elkhorn Slough which was included in the designation of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and serves as a vital nursery for many species. Seamounts were especially chosen because of their contribution of larval recruits. Population genetics and coupled biophysical models were used to assess larval dispersal, particularly for the Cordell Bank NMS. Kelp beds were chosen to be protected partially because of their ability to retain larvae (based on Duggins 1988). Rocky shelf communities in the Gulf of the Farallones were noted for their importance in post larval settlements, particularly of abalone (based on Haaker et al. 2001). Outreach programs were developed for watershed populations to learn about how watersheds are connected to the GFNMS (GFNMS FMP, 2008).
Svalbard Environmental Protection ActNo (1)No information found which addresses connectivity considerations.
Seaflower MPA Act 2005MissingNO DATA
Galapagos Governance System 1998-currentPartially (2)The GMR encompasses an area of current convergence. However there was no explicit aim to account for connectivity, other than the size of the park.
Macquarie Island Marine Park Management PlanNo (1)There is no clear evidence that connectivity was considered as part of the design of this reserve. Although it is now part of the South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network Management Plan it is somewhat of an outlier from the other members of the network.
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Plan of Management 2000 - 2005 and Management Plan 2005 - 2012Partially (2)The State marine mammal protection zone was considered in the design and implementation of Commonwealth marine mammal protection zone.
Heard and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve Management PlanNo (1)No evidence that connectivity was explicitly considered. Also note that the Heard and McDonald Islands are an Australian overseas territory, so incredibly remote and far from all the other areas that are part of AU's national MPA network.
Heard Island and McDonald Islands Fishery Management PlanNot Applicable
Cenderwasih governance systemPartially (2)The MPA is a large continuous shape, and it covers approximately half of the entire Bay area. The Bay is known to have limited connectivity outside of this region which has lead to the high number of endemics within the Bay. Teluk Cenderwasih also inlcudes the neighbouring land and so there is some connectivity between habitats and land-sea - I odn't think these were explicitly considered during the design of the MPA.