Multiscale Decision Support for Aquatic Protected Area Placement

R. Watson, (2003). 191-195.  paper published in proceedings of the Proceedings from the World Congress on Aquatic Protected Areas, Cairns, Australia, August, 2002

Successful placement of protected areas not only relies on a myriad of local social factors relating to current resource users and jurisdictional boundaries, but also on the relevant scale spatial distribution and movement of species, ecosystems and habitats for which protection is sought. Equitable protection can be viewed as a problem with many spatial scales, and conventionally for some there has been little data available. A data mapping process (SimMap) was developed to support a large study on the effect of fishing on marine ecosystems (The Sea Around Us? project, and provides critical data at a number of scales, linking fine-scale ecosystem models (EcoPath/EcoSim/EcoSpace) in a nested fashion to whole ocean basin, and even global distributions of taxa and oceanographic processes. This system supports the spatial ecosystem modelling used to evaluate the impacts of protected areas, and also allows work within these ecosystems to be extrapolated over larger areas and the investigation of temporal changes.