Marine Geomorphology in the Design of Marine Reserve Networks

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  • Marine environments, key life-support systems for the earth, are under severe threat. Issues associated with managing these common property resources are complex and interrelated. Networks of marine reserves can be valuable for mitigating threats to marine systems, yet the successful design and implementation of such networks has been limited. Efficient ways to conserve marine environments are urgently needed. This focus section of The Professional Geographer explores the development of marine reserve networks based on geomorphology, fish biology, ecological connectivity, and appropriate governance. The articles in this focus section offer examples of the following: 1) distinctive reef geomorphology dictating the spawning locations of reef fishes, which in turn serve as critical source sites for the replenishment of distant reefs by means of larval transport, 2) an example of a simplified oceanographic model that predicts larval transport from fish breeding sites to important nursery areas, and 3) a case study of the development of a marine reserve network that illustrates key elements of a successful strategy. In sum, this focus section offers case studies that show the value of marine geomorphology, oceanographic connectivity and stakeholder involvement as key elements of multi-disciplinary geographic studies applied to the design of marine reserve networks. Geographers can further contribute to the conservation and management of coastal and marine ecosystems in many ways that involve sub-disciplines of remote sensing and GIS, political and economic geography, political ecology, and ethnography.
  • Keywords: spawning, spatial planning, geomorphology, marine reserves, governance of common property resources, connectivity
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  • William D. Heyman & Dawn J. Wright (2011): Marine Geomorphology in the Design of Marine Reserve Networks, The Professional Geographer, 63:4, 429-442
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  • 63
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  • 4
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Peer Reviewed



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