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Integrating climate change resilience features into the incremental refinement of an existing marine park

Davies, H.N., Beckley, L.E., Kobryn, H.T.ORCID: 0000-0003-1004-7593, Lombard, A.T., Radford, B. and Heyward, A. (2016) Integrating climate change resilience features into the incremental refinement of an existing marine park. PLoS ONE, 11 (8). e0161094.

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Marine protected area (MPA) designs are likely to require iterative refinement as new knowledge is gained. In particular, there is an increasing need to consider the effects of climate change, especially the ability of ecosystems to resist and/or recover from climate-related disturbances, within the MPA planning process. However, there has been limited research addressing the incorporation of climate change resilience into MPA design. This study used Marxan conservation planning software with fine-scale shallow water (<20 m) bathymetry and habitat maps, models of major benthic communities for deeper water, and comprehensive human use information from Ningaloo Marine Park in Western Australia to identify climate change resilience features to integrate into the incremental refinement of the marine park. The study assessed the representation of benthic habitats within the current marine park zones, identified priority areas of high resilience for inclusion within no-take zones and examined if any iterative refinements to the current no-take zones are necessary. Of the 65 habitat classes, 16 did not meet representation targets within the current no-take zones, most of which 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 no-take zones in the deeper offshore areas. This work demonstrates that inclusion of fine-scale climate change resilience features within the design process for MPAs is feasible, and can be applied to future marine spatial planning practices globally.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Copyright: © 2016 Davies et al.
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