Assessing Social-Ecological linkages and outcomes of marine protected areas

Jan 30 - Feb 2, 2023, University of Victoria

A global effort is underway to protect the oceans. Marine conservation strategies such as marine protected areas (MPAs) are used to reduce human pressures (e.g., fishing, shipping) that threaten sustainability of the oceans. Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), including Canada, agreed to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030. MPAs can be an effective conservation tool when they are well planned and managed. However, given their social and ecological linked nature, their capacity to effectively protect marine biodiversity is underpinned by socio-economic aspects. Thus, understanding the social implications of MPAs is critical for achieving ecological and social outcomes. While there is now a strong theoretical understanding of the social-ecological linked nature of MPAs, the development of methods to measure and disentangle the pathways through which ecological changes influence social aspects and vice versa have been more evasive. Similarly, there is a need to understand the linked social-ecological pathways that result in different outcomes of MPAs in order to develop effective management actions. 

We are convening a three-day invitation-only workshop with social and ecological scientists and practitioners from Canada and abroad. The workshop has following objectives:

  • To characterize the mechanisms and pathways through which ecological changes influence social aspects of MPAs networks, and vice versa; 
  • To identify ways that MPA network monitoring programs can assess the linked social-ecological outcomes. 
  • To think about social-ecological linkages and mechanisms as potential management action / interventions.