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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Variables

Variable TypeOrdinal
Variable Component TypeGovernance System
Variable KindComponent
ThemeInstitutional-biophysical linkage (learn about themes)
QuestionWere the ecological principles of Comprehensive, Adequate, Representative considered in the design of this MPA?
Select Options1 No, 2 Partially, 3 Yes
ImportanceComprehensive, Adequate, and Representative (CAR) are three key principles from the conservation planning literature that broadly determine what it is that a reserve should protect. The goal of the CAR principles is to find a system of reserves that comprehensively captures viable representatives of all biodiversity features. The CAR principles serve to inform the design of a resilient MPA that reflects available data and knowledge of the biodiversity of the region. (see Beaver & Llewellyn 2009 or http://www.uq.edu.au/marxan/tutorial/module1.html for further information)

Comprehensive: refers to an aim to capture the full range of biodiversity (both typical and atypical) within an MPA, taking into consideration biodiversity composition, structure and function and evolutionary processes. A reserve system is most comprehensive if it contains examples of as many elements of biodiversity as possible (Possingham et al. 2005).


Adequate: refers to a MPA/network’s ability to play a role in the long term protection of biodiversity within a given bioregion – it builds on the comprehensiveness principle – but with the goal not to just capture biodiversity, but to promote its persistence (long-term viability)


Representative: requires MPAs to capture biodiversity that is representative of their surroundings (i.e. protection covers the range of variation in that chosen species and/or habitat). The selection of such areas should also take into consideration any communities/species that are rare, endangered or unique.

Yes: the CAR principles were fully considered in the design of the MPA and applied in practice, and the MPA is considered an appropriate size, shape and management level to ensure the ecological viability and integrity of the populations, species and communities, which have been selected as conservation features.

Partially: consideration was given to the CAR principles in the design of the MPA but their application was compromised, either through size, shape (some features bisected), or insufficient management or protection.

No: the CAR principles were not considered in the design of the MPA (i.e. little or no consideration was given to the size and/or shape of the sites, and/or entire features are not sufficiently protected).

SectorsMarine protected areas

Theory Usages

TheoryValue Used
CAR principles for conservation area designYes

Component Usages

ComponentValue UsedExplanation
GBR Marine Park Act 1975-1999Yes (3)
GBR Marine Park Act 2004-currentYes (3)Representative Areas Program specifically used these principles to re-zone the GBR
Wakatobi National Park 2008-currentPartially (2)The WNP is considered to adhere to two of the required criteria (based on documentation to the Coral Triangle Atlas) Representation and Replication are cited, with the WNP including at least 396 coral species and 572 fish species (Rapid Ecological Assessment, 2003). And No take zones were designated in each main group of islands. Coded as 'partially' as awareness of the principles in the zoning is evident, but the extent to which they were applied is unclear. Ref: CTMPAs Wakatobi National Park information requirements
NWHI Monument Act 2006Yes (3)Fulfills all the principles, although not explicitly stated
Raja Ampat Governance SystemYes (3)Yes - the ecological prinicples were fully considered, including the use of Marxan, expert mapping and the wide variety of surveys (see Agostini et al 2012).
Joint Sanctuary Management Governance System Yes (3)Multiple ecosystems, depths, and habitat types are included in the sanctuaries. The Sanctuaries specify protecting and researching rocky shores, kelp forests, beaches, continental shelf habitats, sandy floor, estuaries, seamounts and banks, submarine canyons, rocks and islands, deep sea habitats, and the open ocean. In 2015, the Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones NMSs were expanded to protect more ecologically critical habitats. The three sanctuaries are bordering to enhance protection of these habitats.
Svalbard Environmental Protection ActNo (1)These reserves were created in 1973, before these principles had become commonplace.
Seaflower MPA Act 2005Partially (2)I am not sure if the creation of this MPA followed these principles or not. They were not mentioned in the literature as such. However, based on the variables Mpa Comprehensiviness and Mpa Representativeness I would imagine that it was pretty close to this principle. That is why I selected Partially as my answer.
Galapagos Governance System 1998-currentPartially (2)The CDF proposed a zoning scheme to represent all habitats and biogeographic regions of the archipelago in the two categories of no-take zone, (mainly focusing on inshore areas). But the final zoning plan was not based as much on scientific evidence, but instead it focussed on consensus between fishing and tourism sectors
Macquarie Island Marine Park Management PlanYes (3)
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Plan of Management 2000 - 2005 and Management Plan 2005 - 2012Partially (2)CAR principles are well recognised in Australia and have been talked about regarding the GAB. However, in reality when this MPA was designated there was not enough knoweldge to know if the MPA was fulfilling these principles, so coded as partially. At the national level the goal of a "Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative System of Reserves" for Australia is endorsed by the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments and the Australian Guidelines for Establishing the National Reserve System include information on processes used to work towards a comprehensive, adequate and representative system of reserves (Commonwealth of Australia, 1999). Although, there was a lack of information on the benthic communities of the GAB region at the time of the establishment of the GABMP (CW) and the location of the BPZ was not based on quantitative ecological data.
Heard and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve Management PlanYes (3)These were the foundational principles used in citing this MPA.
Heard Island and McDonald Islands Fishery Management PlanNot Applicable
Cenderwasih governance systemPartially (2)50% of critical habitats (mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass beds, where nesting, fish spawning sites) designed to be the no take zone