A school of fish (Prionurus laticlavius) in the Galápagos Islands.
© CI/Photo by Haroldo Castro
Economic, Social and Cultural Significance of Marine Resources
Understanding the human dimensions of marine management areas (MMAs) is critical for designing and implementing effective MMAs. People's activities affect the health of the ocean ecosystem, and the ecosystem produces benefits for people. For example, coral reefs provide shoreline protection and resilience against global climate change. Many of the benefits are non-market values, notably cultural and existence values.
A MMA may generate a mix of positive and negative outcomes for people, depending on how their lives relate to the ocean and on the ways that MMAs are implemented. Managers and policy makers need to know the wider array of benefits and costs associated with MMAs in order to make well-informed decisions about where and how to create MMAs.
MMAS Research Program
- Economic values of goods and services associated with MMAs.
We are assessing the monetary value of natural resources associated with MMAs. Resource managers, educators, and conservationists will use the findings to build support for marine conservation and to prioritize among management options. Comparisons among the four Focus Areas will consider how MMAs produce larger, global effects. Principal investigators: Venetia Hargreaves-Allen (Belize), Marcos Amend (Brazil), and Ricardo Montenegro (Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape-Panama), Isoa Korovulavula (Fiji), John Reid (synthesis across Focus Areas). View the Work Plan »
- Cultural roles of goods and services associated with MMAs.
We are determining the history of involvement of the community, characteristics and structure of the communities, gender roles within the community as they relate to marine activities, and changes accompanying the establishment of MMAs. Comparisons among the four Focus Areas will consider how MMAs produce larger, global effects. Principal investigators: Joseph Palacio (Belize), Isabela Curado (Brazil), Dolores Cordero (Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape-Panama), Joeli Veitaiyaki (Fiji), Michael Orbach (synthesis across Focus Areas). View the Work Plan »
- Global socioeconomic conditions of MMAs.
We are conducting a global analysis of people's dependence on marine resources, perceptions of resource conditions and threats, and MMA governance status. This study will provide important insights into the importance of coastal and marine resources to human well-being. Principal investigator: Christy Loper. View the Work Plan »
- We released a global compilation of the economic values of reefs, mangroves, and seagrasses. Data presented in the booklet are highlighted in a global map available online.
- The first global assessment of socioeconomic conditions of tropical coasts was released and disseminated at the World Ocean Congress in May 2009.
- These two references have already been used by World Bank staff, Asian Development Bank staff, and a U.S. Congresswoman to demonstrate the importance of coral reefs in areas they want to protect.