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


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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