Opportunities to close the gap between science and practice for Marine Protected Areas in Brazil

Morena Mills, Rafael A. Magris, Mariana M.P.B. Fuentes, Roberta Bonaldo, Dannieli F. Herbst, Monique C.S. Lima, Isabela K.G. Kerber, Leopoldo C. Gerhardinger, Rodrigo L. de Moura, Camila Domit, João B. Teixeira, Hudson T. Pinheiro, Gabriel Vianna, Rodrigo Rodrigues de Freitas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Conservation science is a mission-driven discipline, yet there are few assessments on whether conservation practices follow scientific recommendations, and thus missed opportunities for improvement. Brazil has among the greatest gaps in species protection by Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) globally and is thus a priority for future marine conservation efforts. In this paper, we assess the federal marine protected area (MPA) planning process in Brazil and compare it to a systematic conservation planning approach, focused on achieving conservation benefits while minimizing associated costs. We review the available information for all (70) federal MPAs, and the 26 associated management plans available. We found five simple opportunities for improving national MPA planning: (1) identifying specific and quantitative objectives and linking them to timeframes and budgets; (2) developing strategic monitoring and evaluation programs focused on MPA performance; (3) enabling local stakeholders to participate in planning processes, (4) explicitly considering MPA costs and leveraging existing sources of funding, and (5) decentralizing resource management and empowering local stakeholders to manage resources sustainably. Many reviewed MPA planning efforts fall short in providing clear management guidance and our recommendations can foster a stronger platform for the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources in Brazil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-168
Number of pages8
JournalPerspectives in Ecology and Conservation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


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