Previous studies have shown that the “ad hoc” expansion of marine reserve networks is suboptimal to strategic expansion guided by systematic conservation planning. However, rather than being “ad hoc”, the spread of community-based management can be explained by diffusion of innovation theory, which predicts for example that communities are more likely to adopt a conservation “innovation” (such as a marine reserve) if the benefits of doing so are directly observable or communicated by trusted peers. Using the example of marine reserves in the Philippines, we show that reserve system expansion following such a diffusion model may outperform representation-based conservation planning, both in terms of gaining stakeholder support and when assessed against objectives for population persistence. Reserves proximate to one another are more likely to exchange larvae via dispersal, creating synergistic effects that increase reserve efficacy. This is especially important where reserves are too small to support persistent populations within their boundaries, as in the Philippines. Though the existing reserve system is not fully representative of biodiversity features, growth following a diffusion model has resulted in sub-networks of connected reserves, which might help to explain the fisheries benefits observed within very small no-take marine reserves. In contrast, conservation planning that focuses solely on representation, without considering underlying ecological and social processes, could result in perverse outcomes for population persistence and fisheries-dependent livelihoods.


Weeks, R., ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Australia, rebecca.weeks@jcu.edu.au

Abesamis, R. A., Silliman University-Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management, Philippines, rene.abesamis@gmail.com

Kininmonth, S., Australia, stuart@kininmonth.com.au

Mills, M., University of Queensland, Australia, morena.mills@uq.edu.au

Treml, E. A., University of Melbourne, Australia, etreml@unimelb.edu.au


Oral presentation

Session #:70
Date: 06/21/2016
Time: 14:45
Location: 302 A/B

Presentation is given by student: No