This special issue of Coastal Management focuses on the human dimensions of large-scale marine protected areas (LSMPAs), those MPAs that are typically larger than 250,000 km2. We define ‘human dimensions’ as the cultural, social, economic, political, and institutional factors that affect and are affected by large-scale marine conservation efforts. While human dimensions of marine conservation and coastal management have long been a focus of research, they have not yet received sustained and systematic consideration in relation to LSMPAs specifically. Although there is an emerging body of scholarship focused on the human dimensions of LSMPAs, this is the first collection of papers devoted to their analysis. The purpose of this special issue is to showcase the diversity of human dimensions of LSMPAs, illustrating the range of contexts in which LSMPAs function, the variety of social science tools that can be used to analyze LSMPAs, the ways that human dimensions considerations can be integrated into LSMPA management, and the diverse human dimensions outcomes that are associated with LSMPAs.
Large-scale marine protected areas (LSMPAs) are rapidly increasing. Due to their sheer size, complex socio-political realities, and distinct local cultural perspectives and economic needs, implementing and managing LSMPAs successfully creates a number of human dimensions challenges. It is timely and important to explore the human dimensions of LSMPAs. This paper draws on the results of a global “Think Tank on the Human Dimensions of Large Scale Marine Protected Areas” involving 125 people from 17 countries, including representatives from government agencies, non-governmental organizations, academia, professionals, industry, cultural/indigenous leaders and LSMPA site managers.
Large marine protected areas are increasingly being established to meet global conservation targets and promote sustainable use of resources. Although the factors affecting the performance of small-scale marine protected areas are relatively well studied, there is no such body of knowledge for large marine protected areas. We conducted a global meta-analysis to systematically investigate social, ecological, and governance characteristics of successful large marine protected areas with respect to several social and ecological outcomes. We included all large (>10,000 km2), implemented (>5 years of active management) marine protected areas that had sufficient data for analysis, for a total of twelve cases.