CORDIS - Resultados de investigaciones de la UE

Transboundary networks of marine protected areas for integrated conservation and sustainable development: biophysical, socio-economic and governance assessment in East Africa

Final Report Summary - TRANSMAP (Transboundary networks of marine protected areas for integrated conservation and sustainable development: biophysical, socio-economic and governance assessment ...)

The need for improved conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity emerges in multiple international directives and conventions. However, the proportion of the world's coastline that is protected within reserves remains much lower than that of the land surface.

In this context, the TRANSMAP project aimed to develop a scientific basis for the creation of transboundary networks of Marine protected areas (MPAs) along the coast of East Africa. In particular, it focussed on the generation of scientific knowledge that could modulate the design of conservation units which, irrespective of political borders, could maintain ecological functions, assist sustainable resource uses and motivate future socioeconomic development. TRANSMAP was an interdisciplinary project which undertook the following activities:
1. the baseline definition, which gathered and synthesised existing knowledge in order to identify information gaps and avoid duplication;
2. the biophysical assessment which obtained fundamental data for the identification of specific habitats in order to determine their current condition, restoration needs, conservation value and ecological connectedness;
3. the socioeconomic assessment that identified and evaluated the sources of income of human communities in the study areas through regional, national and local analyses;
4. the governance assessment which investigated and assessed the effectiveness of the international, regional, institutional and legal frameworks for decision making in creating and managing MPAs and also undertook the necessary research to harmonise these different frameworks for the formulation of trans-frontier development plans;
5. the investigation of alternative MPA scenarios, which provided solutions for the spatial design of marine conservation in case study areas of interest, within different geographical context and under varying conservation targets.

The integration of the available information resulted in the production of thematic Geographic information system (GIS) maps which were accessible by the general public via TRANSMAP webpage. This tool allowed the user to zoom in the identified transboundary areas and observe the habitat discrimination, distribution of charismatic species, political and administrative boundaries and geographical features.

The project primarily aimed to provide a baseline for future research initiatives and policy recommendations. Therefore, its outcome was not a directly exploitable product, but rather a set of scientifically sound information that could contribute towards the spatial design of reserve networks in coastal East Africa. Its effectiveness depended upon the involvement of people, the inclusion of consensual ecological concepts, the establishment of scientifically defensible conservation objectives and targets, as well as the development and inclusion of quality spatial datasets and other relevant information. Given this requirement, a carefully planned dissemination strategy was implemented to ensure the maximum potential impact among appropriate audiences.