Ecosystem-Based Management for More Effective and Equitable Marine Protected Areas
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are increasingly employed as a tool to protect Europe's swiftly declining marine biodiversity. However, despite increasing coverage, MPA effectiveness and equity is considered highly variable. Concurrently, Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) – that is, management that aims to protect, restore, or enhance the resilience and sustainability of an ecosystem to ensure sustainable flows of ecosystem services and conserve its biodiversity – is growing in prominence.
This chapter documents the application of EBM in the Faial-Pico Channel, a 240 km2 MPA in the Azores (Portugal), a case study in the AQUACROSS project. The authors applied EBM to see whether it can protect biodiversity whilst meeting diverse stakeholder and policy goals. This chapter documents the steps of Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM): identifying integrative policy and stakeholder objectives, understanding the social-ecological system, scenario development, and identification and evaluation of EBM measures and policies. The authors find that stakeholder co-creation and collaboration is a key strength of EBM and should be strengthened in the Faial-Pico Channel. Local stakeholders support effective and equitable EBM of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by clearly identifying challenges and priorities, co-creating solutions, providing low-cost knowledge and expertise, and through ongoing monitoring, enforcement, and evaluation of the impact of management.
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