Authors' Names

Lindsey EllettFollow

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Category

Social Sciences/Humanities

Abstract/Artist Statement

Transboundary protected areas consist of clearly defined protected areas which are connected across one or more international boundaries and involve cooperation between multiple countries. The number of transboundary protected areas has experienced a dramatic increase in recent decades, and there are currently over 200 transboundary conservation initiatives worldwide. However, relatively few transboundary protected areas have been established for marine environments. Transboundary conservation approaches are integral to managing marine areas due to migratory species and issues like marine pollution and over-exploitation often crossing political boundaries. The development of transboundary marine protected areas (TBMPAs) may strengthen management and conservation by facilitating increased international sharing of information, resources, and strategies. Due to the small number of TBMPAs, there is limited literature research into how these protected areas can be effectively coordinated and managed, greatly inhibiting the opportunities for conservation and sustained use of these marine resources. My research project aims to contribute to these gaps in knowledge by exploring perceptions of how marine protected areas management are coordinated in the Sulu-Sulawesi seascape, between Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. By broadening the understanding of perceived management efficacy and concern, future management strategies may better maximize transboundary marine protected area conservation, while also better addressing and adapting to socio-economic and governance needs. My study includes two primary research phases. Phase 1 involves a policy analysis of national-level marine and conservation policies related to the Sulu-Sulawesi region. This analysis aims to explore the degree of similarities and differences between policies regarding marine and MPA management for Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The review will help better understand how consistent the policies between the countries are in their goals, restrictions, processes, and potential outcomes. Since inconsistent regulations of a common resource and varying legal frameworks can pose a challenge to transboundary governance, policy analysis findings may help increase understanding of barriers to successful coordination and management in the Sulu-Sulawesi seascape. This analysis may also reveal policy similarities that could provide windows of opportunity for increased collaboration and co-management. Phase 2 will utilize semi-structured interviews to explore perceptions of transboundary coordination in the Sulu-Sulawesi seascape. An initial sample list of leaders and stakeholders has been developed by myself and informed by contacts through a European Commission project that aims to facilitate the creation of TBMPA(s) in the area. Chain-referral sampling methods are also being utilized to find additional conservation stakeholders to interview at various scales (international, national, and regional). Through my thesis research I aim to increase understanding of transboundary marine protected area management concerns and perceptions of international coordination, as transboundary protected areas in a marine setting are relatively emergent and under studied. In assessing how coordination may be strengthened in Sulu-Sulawesi, I hope to contribute to a better understanding of this region’s management needs, strengths, and weaknesses. Increasing understanding and assessment of stakeholder perceptions of management may also serve to aid other networks of transboundary protected areas beyond the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape.

Mentor Name

Jennifer Thomsen

Personal Statement

In order to best conserve the environment and biodiversity, it is integral to have organized conservation management at the ecosystem level. Often ecosystems, ecosystem processes, and species’ ranges within them cross over multiple political boundaries. While many protected areas are situated along international boundaries, nature and biodiversity does not recognize these political delineations, and inconsistent conservation policies and legislation on each side may hinder conservation effectiveness. Thus, transboundary conservation may be an effective solution to promoting conservation of larger ecosystems spanning these borders. Conservation governance also aims to balance the needs of humans and economic development with conserving biodiversity, and transboundary governance must meet the needs of diverse stakeholders on different sides of a boundary to be effective. Thus, understanding what impacts coordination is key to fostering greater transboundary coordination and collaboration. While transboundary protected area numbers are increasing globally, relatively few of these are transboundary marine protected areas (TBMPAs). Thus, there is little literature concerning how TBMPAs can be effectively coordinated and managed. My research project aims to contribute to these gaps in knowledge by exploring how TBMPA and marine management and coordination can be strengthened in the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape, a biodiversity hotspot located between Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. These findings may also extend to larger conservation concerns regarding transboundary protected areas and marine conservation. In the future, I intend to utilize my personal experiences and abilities to aid in thoughtfully resolving complex environmental issues. Specifically, after completing a master’s degree, I aim to use research and interdisciplinary skills to contribute to endangered species recovery and engage in protected area management efforts, through an international conservation organization. In order to achieve my goals, it is imperative that I further develop a diverse knowledge base, progress my research skills, and gain greater experience with interdisciplinary and intercultural collaboration. Through this thesis research project, I can gain these essential skills and improve my abilities to contribute to environmental conservation efforts. This research is a great opportunity to explore complex environmental issues, while recognizing the role culture can play in conservation and management. By researching the coordination of transboundary marine protected area and marine management in the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape I can help better inform developing management in the region, as well as build my own skills in policy analysis and cross-cultural collaboration. The opportunity is vital to developing my communication skills, gaining experience working with diverse stakeholders, and coordinating with different individuals and organizations remotely. I am committed to contributing to significant conservation goals worldwide, both personally and professionally, and this thesis project has great value in providing me with important skills to better meet these goals.

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Coordination of Transboundary Marine Protected Areas in the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape

Transboundary protected areas consist of clearly defined protected areas which are connected across one or more international boundaries and involve cooperation between multiple countries. The number of transboundary protected areas has experienced a dramatic increase in recent decades, and there are currently over 200 transboundary conservation initiatives worldwide. However, relatively few transboundary protected areas have been established for marine environments. Transboundary conservation approaches are integral to managing marine areas due to migratory species and issues like marine pollution and over-exploitation often crossing political boundaries. The development of transboundary marine protected areas (TBMPAs) may strengthen management and conservation by facilitating increased international sharing of information, resources, and strategies. Due to the small number of TBMPAs, there is limited literature research into how these protected areas can be effectively coordinated and managed, greatly inhibiting the opportunities for conservation and sustained use of these marine resources. My research project aims to contribute to these gaps in knowledge by exploring perceptions of how marine protected areas management are coordinated in the Sulu-Sulawesi seascape, between Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. By broadening the understanding of perceived management efficacy and concern, future management strategies may better maximize transboundary marine protected area conservation, while also better addressing and adapting to socio-economic and governance needs. My study includes two primary research phases. Phase 1 involves a policy analysis of national-level marine and conservation policies related to the Sulu-Sulawesi region. This analysis aims to explore the degree of similarities and differences between policies regarding marine and MPA management for Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The review will help better understand how consistent the policies between the countries are in their goals, restrictions, processes, and potential outcomes. Since inconsistent regulations of a common resource and varying legal frameworks can pose a challenge to transboundary governance, policy analysis findings may help increase understanding of barriers to successful coordination and management in the Sulu-Sulawesi seascape. This analysis may also reveal policy similarities that could provide windows of opportunity for increased collaboration and co-management. Phase 2 will utilize semi-structured interviews to explore perceptions of transboundary coordination in the Sulu-Sulawesi seascape. An initial sample list of leaders and stakeholders has been developed by myself and informed by contacts through a European Commission project that aims to facilitate the creation of TBMPA(s) in the area. Chain-referral sampling methods are also being utilized to find additional conservation stakeholders to interview at various scales (international, national, and regional). Through my thesis research I aim to increase understanding of transboundary marine protected area management concerns and perceptions of international coordination, as transboundary protected areas in a marine setting are relatively emergent and under studied. In assessing how coordination may be strengthened in Sulu-Sulawesi, I hope to contribute to a better understanding of this region’s management needs, strengths, and weaknesses. Increasing understanding and assessment of stakeholder perceptions of management may also serve to aid other networks of transboundary protected areas beyond the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape.