Adaptive-participative sustainability indicators in Marine Protected Areas: Design and communication.

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Recently there has been an effort to put in practice integrated management plans in Marine Protected Areas (MPA) not only because of their high natural and cultural importance but also due to usual conflicts related to local activities. These plans should include the use of adaptive sustainability indicators that reflect stakeholders concerns, and community interests, allowing a better assessment, management and reporting. An adequate set of indicators for the MPA should help their managers to improve management policies in order to achieve better decision making processes. This study aimed to develop a set of adaptive-participative sustainability indicators (SDI) for the assessment, management and reporting of MPAs that include, through the all process, the participation of local stakeholders at every levels, integrating the stakeholders knowledge and perceptions about the SDI meaning and a self-assessment of the SDI state produced also by the stakeholders. The proposed approach was tested in Luiz Saldanha’s Marine Park, located in South East of Portugal between the municipalities of Sesimbra and Setúbal. The framework to design the SDI comprised four phases: i) an international analysis of SDI sets for coastal zones and MPAs; ii) a participatory process, where the stakeholders had the possibility to state their concerns through an online and face to face questionnaire surveys about the strengths and weaknesses of the MPA; iii) an analysis conducted by a team of experts to reach a set of indicators that include the main relevant aspects of environmental, socioeconomic, and governance issues, taking into account the information from the first two phases and iv) a workshop and questionnaires held to assess the stakeholders’ global views and perception about the selected set of indicators and each indicator’s relative importance. This study showed the importance of a dynamic participative process involving the local stakeholders. It is concluded that this methodology allows a better understanding of each indicator by the local stakeholders and how it could respond to their concerns. It should also help the MPA managers, to define the most suitable management actions and monitor the management plan itself.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)36–45
JournalOcean & Coastal Management
Issue numberNA
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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