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Planning for adequate marine sanctuaries through integration of climate change resilience features

Davies, H., Beckley, L.E. and Kobryn, H. (2015) Planning for adequate marine sanctuaries through integration of climate change resilience features. In: AMSA2015, 5 - 9 July, Geelong, Vic, Australia.

Abstract

A quantitative and systematic approach to marine protected area (MPA) design is now common practice world-wide, yet many pre-existing MPAs have been developed without explicit goals and are likely to require incremental refinement as new knowledge is gained. In particular, there is a growing need to consider the effects of climate change. However, there has been limited research addressing the incremental incorporation of climate change resilience features into MPA design. This study used MARXAN conservation planning software with fine-scale, remotely-sensed, shallow water (<20m) bathymetry and habitat maps, empirical benthic community data from deeper water, and comprehensive socio-economic information from Ningaloo Marine park. It, assessed the representation of benthic habitats within the current marine park zones, identified priority areas of high resilience for inclusion within sanctuary zones and examined if any iterative refinements to the current sanctuary zones are necessary. Of the 65 habitat classes, 16 were less than ideally represented within the current sanctuary zones; most of these habitat classes were in deeper offshore waters. These deeper areas also demonstrated the highest resilience values and, as such, MARXAN outputs suggested minor increases to the current Sanctuary zones in the deeper offshore areas. Incorporation of the recent data and a systematic approach for the new Ningaloo Marine Park management plan for the next decade can refine representative marine park zones. In addition, the study also demonstrated that inclusion of climate change resilience factors within the design process for MPAs is feasible and can be applied to future marine conservation planning practice; on a global scale.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/37220
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