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Stakeholder analysis for marine conservation planning using public participation GIS

Brown, G., Strickland-Munro, J., Kobryn, H. and Moore, S.A. (2016) Stakeholder analysis for marine conservation planning using public participation GIS. Applied Geography, 67 . pp. 77-93.

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Stakeholders are presumed to represent different interests for marine and coastal areas with the potential to influence marine protected area planning and management. We implemented a public participation GIS (PPGIS) system in the remote Kimberley region of Australia to identify the spatial values and preferences for marine and coastal areas. We assessed similarities and differences in PPGIS participants (N = 578) using three operational definitions for "stakeholder" based on: (1) self-identified group, (2) self-identified future interests in the region, and (3) participant value orientation that reflects a preferred trade-off between environmental and economic outcomes. We found moderate levels of association between alternative stakeholder classifications that were logically related to general and place-specific participatory mapping behavior in the study region. We then analyzed how stakeholder classifications influence specific management preferences for proposed marine protected areas (MPAs) in the study region. Conservation-related values and preferences dominated the mapped results in all proposed marine reserves, the likely result of volunteer sampling bias by conservation stakeholder interests participating in the study. However, we suggest these results may also reflect the highly politicized process of marine conservation planning in the Kimberley where conservation efforts have recently emerged and galvanized to oppose a major offshore gas development and associated land-based infrastructure. Consistent with other participatory mapping studies, our results indicate that the chosen operational definition for stakeholder group such as group identity versus interests can influence participatory mapping outcomes, with implications for MPA designation and management. Future research is needed to better understand the strengths and limitations of participatory mapping that is framed in stakeholder perspectives, especially when sampling relies heavily on volunteer recruitment and participation methods that appear predisposed to participatory bias. In parallel, practical efforts to ensure that social research efforts such as this are included in MPA planning must remain of the highest priority for scientists and managers alike.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
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