Are Marine Protected Areas in the Right Places to Protect People, or Just Nature?

Healthy Hard Coral Reef with Anthias and Coral Grouper at Killibob's Knob dive site in Kimbe Bay of Papua New Guinea. Photo credit: © Jeff Yonover
Healthy Hard Coral Reef with Anthias and Coral Grouper at Killibob’s Knob dive site in Kimbe Bay of Papua New Guinea. Photo credit: © Jeff Yonover

Mark Spalding, senior marine scientist, The Nature Conservancy

I’m at the World Parks Congress, a-once-a-decade global meeting of scientists, protected area managers and other experts to focus on the state and future of national parks and nature reserves. There’s so much to talk about here—new science and technologies to monitor parks, ways to engage local communities, and government commitments to add new protected areas to a growing global list.

But I’m focused on a different question: I want to know whether national parks and nature reserves are doing a good enough job of protecting nature’s services to people, including providing the natural barriers to storms, providing fish production, and supporting tourism and recreation industries that support livelihoods and coastal economies?

In advance of the Congress, colleagues and I conducted new research looking at coral reefs and mangrove forests, iconic habitats with immense importance for both people and nature. They support local communities and cultures through jobs, recreational —> Read More Here

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