Order print   subscribe new

Bid To Link Up Ocean Protection

shutterstock 757249291

Helicopter survey of Moore's reef, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The first global database of marine parks and conservation efforts is being created to help establish what is working and where more protection is urgently needed.

James Cook University researchers in Australia say the database will lead to better marine parks by helping to bridge critical gaps in marine conservation planning.

Dr Jorge G Álvarez-Romero from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at the university led a study that looked at marine conservation planning worldwide.

'For this study, we developed a database to document conservation planning and analysed all marine studies available in the scientific literature. It clearly shows deficiencies in the present system,' he said.

Dr Álvarez-Romero said systematic conservation planning studies, used to determine which areas would be most useful in conserving marine biodiversity, are growing very quickly.

Fig1 Cumulative studies

'Despite this, there is no structured or reliable way of finding information on methods, trends and progress. There is little evidence of input from stakeholders. There are important gaps in geographic coverage and not enough work done on the areas most threatened,' he said.

'“We know the number and total extent of protected areas will increase significantly during the next few decades. The challenge is making this expansion count in terms of biodiversity conservation,' he said.

Professor Bob Pressey, co-leader of the study, said researchers from five countries led most studies, with Australia forging the way in global marine conservation planning.

Figure 4 Geographic coverage

'Australian organisations have contributed significantly to developing methods and tools that are widely used in conservation planning,'  he said.

'Despite these advances, the varying quality and detail in the documentation of the studies limits opportunities to develop and apply best-practice principles,' said Professor Pressey.

Dr Morena Mills, conservation scientist at Imperial College London and co-leader of The Conservation Planning Database project, said a global database to track development, implementation and impact of conservation planning is urgently needed, along with a closer analysis of the literature, and continuous and comprehensive documentation of conservation planning exercises.

'The new database is a move towards a centralised repository of information of planning exercises and can advance conservation theory and practice,' she said.

Professor Heather Leslie, an international leader in marine conservation science and Director of the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center, said:  'With this database in hand, donors and non-government organisations can identify regions and topical areas needing further work, and scientists, practitioners and policy-makers can learn from previous plans.'

'In addition, it gives the scientific community – including peer reviewers – a means of assessing trends in conservation planning methods and applications, so that we can learn from our previous work and shape our new work accordingly,' she said.



Share this article...


Love diving? You'll love these. Sign up today to immediately download our unique FREE gifts -

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 WRECKS - DIVE's 70-page, beautifully illustrated, colour guide to the world’s best wrecks

SCUBA STORIES - DIVE's collection of real life stories where divers, who have got themselves into perilous situations, describe how they reacted and what actions they took to ensure they lived to tell the tale

PACIFICHighlights of the Pacific - Dancing mantas in Hawaii • The Best Diving in the World, Galápagos, Cocos, Malpelo & Socorro • Mass Spawning Events in Palau

Sidebar SUBSCRIBE large2

Destinations Spotlight

Need inspiration for your next dive trip? Try one of our featured destinations from DIVE's travel partners.

sidebar philippines sidebar bahamas sidebar mexico sidebar fiji sidebar st helena Sidebar Egypt sidebar banner sabah sidebar banner belize sidebar banner south africa

DIVE Partners

sidebar banner egypt new ceningan divers ad 300x100 LH 300 min giphy subex Wakatobi Siladen Aggressor Fisheye Dive Worldwide gozo banner Arenui


  1. Articles

Read DIVE magazine

DIVE magazine is available to read on many devices. Simply click one one of the options below

PCMac final
Apple finalAndroid final

Like what you see?

Join us on social and keep updated daily...