In one of the most comprehensive global studies of marine reserves, a team of natural and social scientists from the University of Rhode Island and other institutions has found that community involvement is among the most important factors driving the success of marine reserves.
"We make a big mistake thinking that a marine reserve is just about coral, fish and other aquatic organisms," said Richard Pollnac, URI professor of anthropology and marine affairs, who led the study. "They are also composed of the people who can make them succeed or fail and who are either helped or hurt by them."
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on February 22.
The researchers studied 127 marine protected areas in the Caribbean, Western Indian Ocean and the Philippines to identify the key factors that determine the success of marine reserves, which protect the marine environment by prohibiting fishing. Biological assessments were conducted at 56 of the reserves to determine their ecological health, while surveys of residents and community leaders in local communities discerned perceptions and opinions in all 127 reserves.
Among their results, the researchers found that the reserves where residents said they complied with the rules were more effective at protecting fish stocks than those where the rules were often ignored. They noted, however, that compliance with reserve rules occurred not only due to surveillance and enforcement but also due to complex social interactions among community members and opinion leaders.
"The most successful reserves were those where the people said that most of the community follows the rules," explained Graham Forrester, URI associate professor of natural resources science and a co-author of the study. "Compliance with the rules is a measure of how a community feels about the reserve. It's their choice to follow the rules."
The researchers noted that their surveys indicated that it is vital to the success of any marine reserve that community members are participants in the process of setting up and monitoring the reserve.
Other research results were somewhat surprising.
The effect of human population density near marine reserves, for instance, differed significantly from location to location. As the researchers expected, greater population density negatively impacted reserves in the Caribbean, but it had no detectable affect at marine reserves in the Philippines. At reserves in the Western Indian Ocean, on the other hand, greater population density was correlated with healthier reserves and greater fish biomass inside the reserve compared with outside.
Study co-author Tracey Dalton, URI associate professor of marine affairs, said that it is not easy to explain these disparities. The positive effects in the Indian Ocean may be driven by increased fishing pressure outside the reserve or the result of people migrating to areas where the marine reserves are most successful.
"It's important to recognize that people are part of the ecology of marine reserves," Pollnac said. "If you can demonstrate to them that the reserve will have more fish while also providing benefits to the community, and if you pay attention to the needs of the people, then there's a much greater chance that the reserve will be a success."
Todd McLeish | EurekAlert!
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine