Morena, born and raised in Brazil, completed a Bachelor of Marine Studies Honours degree at the University of Queensland. She is currently undertaking her PhD and is supervised by Prof. Bob Pressey, Dr. Natalie Ban, Dr Simon Foale and Dr. Andrew Knight. Her project investigates how to incorporate the social dimensions of seascapes into systematic conservation planning.
The Coral Triangle (CT), comprising Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and East Timor, is a global priority for marine conservation. CT fisheries are characterized by a large number of fishers landing multi-species catch over wide areas, making enforcement of catch and gear regulations difficult. The use of spatial tools such as comprehensive, ecologically representative and interacting marine protected areas (MPAs) in conjunction with non-spatial tools is considered the resource management strategy most likely to lead to effective protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, few systematically designed MPA networks have been implemented within the CT. We propose that one of the main causes of this implementation gap is a mismatch between the regional scale of systematic conservation plans and the local scale of conservation actions. We compare scales of planning with scales of implementation within the CT to highlight the need for a different approach to applying conservation planning tools and concepts in this region. We also review decisions relating to spatial scale made during conservation planning exercises, and identify additional considerations for conservation planners working in the social, political and economic context of the CT. These include limitations on data, spatial mobility of fishers, enforcement capacity and the constraints of customary tenure boundaries.