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Allies, not aliens: increasing the role of local communities in marine protected area implementation

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  • Published online: 03 June 2010

Various management approaches have been proposed to address the alarming depletion of marine coastal resources. Prominent among them are community-based management and the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs). The overall poor performance of MPAs can be traced to a failure to effectively include local communities in the design and implementation of relevant measures. Recent efforts have incorporated aspects of community-based management into a hybrid form of management, which ideally builds upon existing local management practices. A key challenge lies in the development of appropriate frameworks that allow for the successful participation of local communities in management. A review of studies on MPA design and community-based marine resource management and fieldwork observations provides suggestions on how to address current socioeconomic shortcomings in MPA design and implementation, successfully involving local communities in order to provide a better local basis for effective larger MPA networks. A combination of MPA tools as the formal frame and community-based natural resource management as the adaptive core that recognizes local communities as allies, not aliens, is needed to develop successful conservation approaches.

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*Correspondence: Dr Sebastian Ferse Tel: +49 421 2380028 Fax: +49 421 2380030 e-mail:
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