Beyond biogeography: A framework for involving the public in planning of U.S. marine protected areas

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Planning of marine protected areas (MPAs) is highlighted in the conservation literature but is not explored in much detail. Many researchers acknowledge the importance of involving the public in MPA planning, but there is limited guidance on how to do this in an effective manner. I present a framework for involving the public in planning of U.S. MPAs. Derived from empirically and theoretically based research on public participation in U.S. natural resource management, this framework is composed of factors that influence the success of participatory processes: active participant involvement, complete information exchange, fair decision making, efficient administration, and positive participant interactions. Processes incorporating these factors will produce decisions that are more likely to be supported by stakeholders, meet management objectives, and fulfill conservation goals. This framework contributes to the MPA social science literature and responds to calls in the conservation literature to increase the use of social science research to inform conservation decision making. ©2005 Society for Conservation Biology.

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Conservation Biology