Getting the measure of Marine Protected Areas: surface area or volume as measures for reserve system auditing?



  • 1.Comprehensive classification systems to accurately account for areas managed for biodiversity conservation are an essential component of conservation planning and policy. Traditionally, quantitative targets for reserve system auditing has used a two-dimensional measure of the surface area protected.
  • 2.Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are three-dimensional systems and where zoning of allowable uses or protection is vertically stratified, measures of surface area at sea level are potentially misleading.
  • 3.Measuring the proportion of the volume of MPAs managed for particular purposes provides a more accurate and transparent measure of the amount of protection or management intent in a single reserve.
  • 4.This paper outlines a number of other emerging policy issues in relation to the zoning, protection and auditing of MPAs in Australia. It will be important to ensure that zoning is clearly and accurately articulated to better inform conservation planning decisions when establishing representative systems of Marine Protected Areas.

Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.