The number of protected areas that restrict or prohibit harvest of wild populations is growing. In general, protected areas are expected to increase the abundance of previously‐harvested species. Whether a protected area achieves this expectation is typically evaluated by assessing trends in abundance after implementation. However, the underlying assumption that harvest has actually ceased is rarely tested directly. Determining whether illegal harvest (poaching) has continued in a protected area is important to planning enforcement and adaptive management. Here, we estimated harvest rates for four kelp forest fish species inside marine protected areas (MPAs) and non‐MPA reference sites in the California Channel Islands, from 2003 (when MPAs were implemented) to 2017. We estimated harvest by fitting a size‐structured population model to survey data. Overall, harvest rates were effectively zero in MPAs but much higher in non‐MPA sites. This indicates successful adherence to MPA regulations, and possible displacement of fishing effort to reference sites. However, some poaching was detected in two MPA sites, highlighting the importance of assessing this quantity. This modeling approach could provide a tool to complement the long‐term management of MPA networks, particularly given the difficulty of acquiring harvest rate data at the spatial scale of individual MPAs.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are being implemented worldwide, yet there are few cases where managers make specific predictions of the response of previously harvested populations to MPA implementation. Such predictions are needed to evaluate whether MPAs are working as expected, and if not, why. This evaluation is necessary to perform adaptive management, identifying whether and when adjustments to management might be necessary to achieve MPA goals. Using monitoring data and population models, we quantified expected responses of targeted species to MPA implementation and compared them to monitoring data. The model required two factors to explain observed responses in MPAs: (a) pre‐MPA harvest rates, which can vary at local spatial scales, and (b) recruitment variability before and after MPA establishment. Low recruitment years before MPA establishment in our study system drove deviations from expected equilibrium population size distributions and introduced an additional time lag to response detectability.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are being implemented worldwide, yet there are few cases where managers make specific predictions of the response of previously harvested populations to MPA implementation.
Such predictions are needed to evaluate whether MPAs are working as expected, and if not, why. This evaluation is necessary to perform adaptive management, identifying whether and when adjustments to management might be necessary to achieve MPA goals.
Using monitoring data and population models, we quantified expected responses of targeted species to MPA implementation and compared them to monitoring data.
The model required two factors to explain observed responses in MPAs: (a) pre‐MPA harvest rates, which can vary at local spatial scales, and (b) recruitment variability before and after MPA establishment. Low recruitment years before MPA establishment in our study system drove deviations from expected equilibrium population size distributions and introduced an additional time lag to response detectability.
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Journal of Applied Ecology
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- p. 2376-2385
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
Calls for using marine protected areas (MPAs) to achieve goals for nature and people are increasing globally. While the conservation and fisheries impacts of MPAs have been comparatively well‐studied, impacts on other dimensions of human use have received less attention. Understanding how humans engage with MPAs and identifying traits of MPAs that promote engagement is critical to designing MPA networks that achieve multiple goals effectively, equitably and with minimal environmental impact.
In this paper, we characterize human engagement in California's MPA network, the world's largest MPA network scientifically designed to function as a coherent network (124 MPAs spanning 16% of state waters and 1300 km of coastline) and identify traits associated with higher human engagement. We assemble and compare diverse indicators of human engagement that capture recreational, educational and scientific activities across California's MPAs.
We find that human engagement is correlated with nearby population density and that site “charisma” can expand human engagement beyond what would be predicted based on population density alone. Charismatic MPAs tend to be located near tourist destinations, have long sandy beaches and be adjacent to state parks and associated amenities. In contrast, underutilized MPAs were often more remote and lacked both sandy beaches and parking lot access.
Synthesis and applications: These results suggest that achieving MPA goals associated with human engagement can be promoted by developing land‐based amenities that increase access to coastal MPAs or by locating new MPAs near existing amenities during the design phase. Alternatively, human engagement can be limited by locating MPAs in areas far from population centres, coastal amenities or sandy beaches. Furthermore, managers may want to prioritize monitoring, enforcement, education and outreach programmes in MPAs with traits that predict high human engagement. Understanding the extent to which human engagement impacts the conservation performance of MPAs is a critical next step to designing MPAs that minimize tradeoffs among potentially competing objectives.
Read the free
Plain Language Summaryfor this article on the Journal blog.
Increasing harvest and overexploitation of wild plants for non‐timber forest products can significantly affect population dynamics of harvested populations. While the most common approach to assess the effect of harvest and perturbation of vital rates is focused on the long‐term population growth rate, most management strategies are planned and implemented over the short‐term.
We developed an integral projection model to investigate the effects of harvest on the demography and the short‐ and long‐term population dynamics of
Banisteriopsis caapiin the Peruvian Amazon rainforest.
Harvest had no significant effect on the size‐dependent growth of lianas, but survival rates increased with size. Harvest had a significant negative effect on size‐dependent survival where larger lianas experienced greater mortality rates under high harvest pressure than smaller lianas. In the populations under high harvest pressure, survival of smaller lianas was greater than that of populations with low harvest pressure. Harvest had no significant effect on clonal or sexual reproduction, but fertility was size‐dependent.
The long‐term population growth rates of
B. caapipopulations under high harvest pressure were projected to decline at a rate of 1.3% whereas populations with low harvest pressure are expected to increase at 3.2%. However, before reaching equilibrium, over the short‐term, all B. caapipopulations were in decline by 26% (high harvested population) and (low harvested population) 20.4% per year.
Elasticity patterns were dominated by survival of larger lianas irrespective of harvest treatments. Life table response experiment analyses indicated that high harvest caused the 6% reduction in population growth rates by significantly reducing the survival of large lianas and increasing the survival‐growth of smaller lianas including vegetative reproductive individuals.
Synthesis and applications. This study emphasizes how important it is for management strategies for B. caapilianas experiencing anthropogenic harvest to prioritize the survival of larger size lianas and vegetative reproducing individuals, particularly in increased harvested systems often prone to multiple stressors. From an applied conservation perspective, our findings illustrate the importance of both prospective and retrospective perturbation analyses in population growth rates in understanding the population dynamics of lianas in general in response to human‐induced disturbance.
Large marine protected areas (MPAs) of unprecedented size have recently been established across the global oceans, yet their ability to meet conservation objectives is debated. Key areas of debate include uncertainty over nations’ abilities to enforce fishing bans across vast, remote regions and the intensity of human impacts before and after MPA implementation. We used a recently developed vessel tracking data set (produced using Automatic Identification System detections) to quantify the response of industrial fishing fleets to 5 of the largest MPAs established in the Pacific Ocean since 2013. After their implementation, all 5 MPAs successfully kept industrial fishing effort exceptionally low. Detected fishing effort was already low in 4 of the 5 large MPAs prior to MPA implementation, particularly relative to nearby regions that did not receive formal protection. Our results suggest that these large MPAs may present major conservation opportunities in relatively intact ecosystems with low immediate impact to industrial fisheries, but the large MPAs we considered often did not significantly reduce fishing effort because baseline fishing was typically low. It is yet to be determined how large MPAs may shape global ocean conservation in the future if the footprint of human influence continues to expand. Continued improvement in understanding of how large MPAs interact with industrial fisheries is a crucial step toward defining their role in global ocean management.
Marine protected area (
MPA) networks, with varying degrees of protection and use, can be useful tools to achieve both conservation and fisheries management benefits. Assessing whether MPAnetworks meet their objectives requires data from Before the establishment of the network to better discern natural spatiotemporal variation and preexisting differences from the response to protection. Here, we use a Progressive‐Change BACIPSapproach to assess the ecological effects of a network of five fully and three moderately protected MPAs on fish communities in two coral reef habitats (lagoon and fore reef) based on a time series of data collected five times (over three years) Before and 12 times (over nine years) After the network's establishment on the island of Moorea, French Polynesia. At the network scale, on the fore reef, density and biomass of harvested fishes increased by 19.3% and 24.8%, respectively, in protected areas relative to control fished areas. Fully protected areas provided greater ecological benefits than moderately protected areas. In the lagoon, density and biomass of harvested fishes increased, but only the 31% increase in biomass in fully protected MPAs was significant. Non‐harvested fishes did not respond to protection in any of the habitats. We propose that these responses to protection were small, relative to other MPAassessments, due to limited compliance and weak surveillance, although other factors such as the occurrence of a crown‐of‐thorns starfish outbreak and a cyclone after the network was established may also have impeded the ability of the network to provide benefits. Our results highlight the importance of using fully protected MPAs over moderately protected MPAs to achieve conservation objectives, even in complex social–ecological settings, but also stress the need to monitor effects and adapt management based on ongoing assessments.