Attaining Aichi Target 11: How well are marine ecosystem services secured by protected areas?

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have long been seen as one of the key tools in marine conservation. Policy and planning efforts, including international conservation agreements have, in turn, used measures of protected areas coverage as a means to set targets and assess progress.

This project will investigate an important new component of global protected areas targets – their role in safeguarding ecosystem services.

Previous efforts to assess progress towards protected areas targets have focused on biodiversity coverage (see the CCI funded project: Trends and gaps in protection of the world's biodiversity). Although biodiversity coverage remains a key metric for conservation progress, Aichi Target 11 also requires nations to ensure that protected areas support the conservation of ecosystem services.

This presents considerable new challenges. Fundamentally, there remains discussion as to how ecosystem services can be defined, quantified and mapped. Patterns of ecosystem service provision depend on the spatial distribution of both ecosystems and people, and are highly scale-dependent, so they are likely to differ from patterns of biodiversity distribution. Additionally, the role that protected areas might play in safeguarding such services may not always be fully apparent. For these reasons their assessment is likely to force a wider debate about progress and prioritisation in the development of protected area networks.

This project will utilize new and forthcoming global datasets on ecosystem services from mangrove forests and coral reefs, including measures of blue carbon, fisheries and coastal protection, to explore how current protected areas overlap, and may be supporting, multiple ecosystem services. The global MPA layer will be developed from the World Database on Protected Areas.

The findings are expected to highlight challenges and opportunities for future MPA planning and for the setting of marine conservation targets. Over time such work should serve to guide future investments for both conservation and social and economic benefits.

This project is funded by the CCI Collaborative Fund for Conservation. Involvement by the Cambridge Conservation Forum is via their member organisation The Nature Conservancy, represented by Mark Spalding.

CCI partners Involved

BirdLife International is a strategic global partnership of conservation organisations in over 100 countries, working to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, and to promote...
The UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is the specialist biodiversity assessment arm of the United Nations Environment Programme, the world’s foremost intergovernmental...
The Department of Geography's research clusters focus on society and environment, development and political ecology, culture and demography, environmental processes, landscape modelling and climate...
The Department of Zoology carries out wide-ranging work in ecology and conservation including conservation science, aquatic ecology, pathogen evolution and evolutionary ecology. Research of the...
Cambridge Conservation Forum (CCF) is a network that links the diverse Cambridge-based community of conservation practitioners and researchers working at local, national and international levels.

Other Organisations Involved

Related Resources

Resource Title Description Type
Attaining Aichi Target 11: How well are marine ecosystem services covered by protected areas? Discussion Paper prepared for the World Parks Congress, Sydney, November 2014. This policy brief was developed by the project team working on the CCI Collaborative Fund project: Attaining Aichi... Policy briefs
Building an expert-judgement based model of mangrove fisheries This conference paper presentes a preliminary model of the spatial distribution of benefits to fisheries from mangroves. The preliminary model covers the environmental factors that determine the... Workshop proceedings
The Current State of Knowledge on Mangrove Fishery Values This conference paper explores data on mangrove fisheries from the scientific literature and makes number of recommendations to guide the future reporting of mangrove fisheries to allow for better... Workshop proceedings
The Role of Mangroves in Fisheries Enhancement This review of the scientific literature provides a deep exploration of the importance of mangroves for wild capture fisheries. While mangroves are widely recognized for their role in enhancing both... Policy briefs