New ideas on how to better value protected areas

In a new scientific article scientists present a conceptual idea on how to take ecosystem services into account when evaluating marine protected areas.

Photo: Lisa Begqvist.

In the newly published article 18 scientists present a transdisciplinary approach based on the Delphi method forecasting process framework, for mapping and evaluating Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) for their ability to protect biodiversity while providing Ecosystem Services (ES) and related human well-being benefits. 

Henrik Svedäng, Baltic Sea Centre
Henrik Svedäng, Baltic Sea Centre

– We highlight the need to include the human dimensions of marine protection in such assessments, given that their effectiveness over time is conditional on the social, cultural, and institutional contexts in which they evolve, says Henrik Svedäng, at the Baltic Sea Centre. 

In support of an Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM), the scientists propose an overall approach to explore and map biodiversity and ES components in MPAs and their linkages to human well-being. They also highlight the importance of MPAs to support objectives for restoration, conservation, and sustainable development in relation to EU Directives such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (MSPD), and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Expert collaboration

This work is a collaboration between scientists connected to the Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment (Havsmiljöinstitutet), and a range of Universities, aiming to evaluate marine areas of varying protection level by simultaneous considering ecological and socio-economic outcomes. The wide spectrum of expertise has supported a fruitful outcome of the project.

Full list of authors: Andrea Belgrano, Camilla Novaglio, Henrik Svedäng, Sebastián Villasante, Carlos J. Melián, Thorsten Blenckner, Ulf Bergström, Andreas Bryhn, Lena Bergström, Valerio Bartolino, Mattias Sköld, Maciej Tomczak, Sofia A. Wikström, Andreas Skriver Hansen, Sebastian Linke, Richard Emmerson, Andrea Morf and Kajsa Tönnesson.

Henrik Svedäng, Sofia Wikström and Maciej Tomczak from the Baltic Sea Centre are among the authors of this paper.  

TITLE: Mapping and Evaluating Marine Protected Areas and Ecosystem Services: A Transdisciplinary Delphi Forecasting Process Framework

Read full article at: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution